Tom Knapp writes a mea culpa of sorts regarding his predictions of the Tea Parties. Although Knapp, being a knowledgeable libertarian, is quite aware there was a grassroot history with the “tea party” meme, he apparently, nonetheless, bought into the conventional thinking that the “Tea Parties” were an Establishment GOP astroturf phenomenon. Not quite.
A couple of years ago at Freedom Democrats, we predicted there would be a so-called “libertarian revival” in the GOP. This was because the “establishment GOP” was ideologically bankrupt; the ideology had become warped around maintaining “insider power.” Once, the “insider status” was lost, there would be an intellectual void to be filled: a raison detre to regain power. At the time, I saw an intellectual battle between Grover Norquist’s “Club for growth” vs “Sam Club Republicanism” taking place in the “think tanks” while on the ground, you would have the Paulista’s begin to challenge the Chrisitian Evangelicals in terms of local party organization. However, this was before the massive Obama Stimulus; no one saw that coming. When that happened, the “Sam’s Club, Crunchy Con” thing was wiped out by the “libertarian” thing to a large extent. Then there was sort of competition that developed in terms of grafting a sort of libertarian class theory onto neoconservatism, paleo-conservatism, or christian social conservatism. But then along came Glenn Beck. I must admit, I never saw this guy coming. Using Fox as his bullhorn, he has managed to unify these elements under a so-called “country class.”
The establishment republicans are fine with this “country class,” as long as it is anti-Obama. When these “tea party outliers” win their primaries, they send “handlers” out to control the candidates. If the republicans regain control of the house and senate, it will be the usual suspects in leadership positions. There isn’t going to be any “civil war” because the GOP is held together now by a fuming anti-Obama sentiment. There possibly could be some major friction that develops over any attempts at immigration reform. And there will be some friction that will develop around 2011-2012 presidential candidates Palin, Romney, and Huckabee. But it won’t be anything like the Obama/Clinton nasty primary.
Frankly, I think the coming civil war is going to be much more with the Dems. From Day one, Team Obama eviscerated the Howard Dean 50 state strategy for one primarily concerned with the re-election of Barack Obama. Obama has saddled the Dems with an unpopular Stimulus program, an unpopular Health Care reform, likely huge congressional losses in the midterm, and will make entitlement reform the top priority the next term. You think there is conflict now between the Dem Political Class and the “professional Left”? I think you are going to see that crack widen considerably. Obama is going to end up having a significant primary challenger from his own party in 2012.
That’s my amateur political punditry. Take it for what it’s worth…