Will Tea Party Politics Change Party Politics?
Rand Paul’s supporters weren’t alone in celebrating his big win. The AP headline read: “Democrats relish Paul’s GOP win in Ky. Senate race.” Sen. Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, chortled over the “stark contrast between Rand and his opponent, state Attorney General Jack Conway.” He thinks Paul’s easier to beat come November than the establishment opponent Paul clobbered.
That used to be the rule. The more radical a candidate, the more likely to be trounced by the status-quo alternative.
But something’s different this time, right?
Not long ago Rand’s father Ron Paul was regularly ridiculed for being too extreme and “nutty.”
Now it’s the centrists who look nutty. Or, as Rand put it, “The tea party message is not . . . an extreme message. What is extreme is a $2 trillion deficit.”
Across the country in Washington State, a state representative is being challenged by Tim Sutinen, who is running explicitly under the “Tea Party” banner. A local paper quoted Sutinen as advising the legislature to declare a fiscal emergency and renegotiate state employee contracts.
The Democratic incumbent showed less glee than his Kentucky colleagues: “Those folks that represent the tea party are obviously good folks who have a view of government and they are frustrated. A lot of people are frustrated about the economy.”
My reading? It’s not just the economy. Continued dishonesty and self-dealing by politicians even in the midst of the crisis — that’s what’s frustrating.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.