The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: CPAC the Popcorn…The Base Is Revolting!

Posted on: August 29, 2012

The right shade of orange is very important

(Hey everyone…I thought it might be entertaining to read this old post from February of 2011 again, as we watch the Republican Party imploding right before our eyes. Enjoy!)

I often refer to the conservative takeover of the Republican Party as activism we lefty types would do well to emulate. However, there may be a limit to just how far the conservatives can go within that Party.  A genuine backlash is coming: a giant grunge match “to the pain” between the corporatists at the top of the Party and the anti-government/fundiegelical base at the bottom.

There are many indicators of the this growing rift between the elite GOP and the revolting base. One big one is that CPAC 2011 was not exactly a success with conservative activists, according to Fox News (and they would know!). This is remarkable because the convention is supposed to be given by, and for, conservatives.

WASHINGTON — If the mood at the Conservative Political Action Conference is any gauge, Republican presidential hopefuls have a lot of convincing to do in order to sway the base to their side.


Some complained that the candidates with a sound policy vision had no “charisma.” Those with plenty of personality offered less in the way of substance, they said. Some were too far right, others weren’t conservative enough. Many said they’d prefer to “wait and see” before warming up to anyone in particular.


Every prospective candidate who spoke over the past two days seemed to be trying very hard to tap into the Tea Party message, demonstrating the sustained influence of the movement which is relatively new to the CPAC scene. They all talked about fiscal conservatism rooted in constitutional principles and of limited government, about the founding fathers and much about Reagan.

“I think the Tea Party is going to have a very large impact,” said Watnick, who is a county Republican chair in Fresno, Calif., and a member of the Tea Party.

Allen suggested the Tea Party voters are also realists who are likely to be very discerning, and will want a candidate who “has that energy and creativity (of the Tea Party), but still has the best chance of being nominated, and elected.”

I’m just pausing here to let the description of Tea Party voters as “realists” who are “very discerning” sink in. These are the people who thought Christine O’Donnell, she who didn’t know about the separation of church and state being in the First Amendment, was a “realistic” nomination; same with Sharron Angle, who favored the reinstatment of Prohibition…IN LAS VEGAS.

Venerated conservative Rush Limbaugh also feels that CPAC was a disappointment. If you can stand to listen to the clip linked in the story above (I lasted about four and a half minutes, but I got the gist – El Rushbo is nothing if not repetitive), his chief complaint is that the “ruling classes” in the GOP were making obvious moves to ditch the social conservatives, by including LGBT groups like GOProud in the Convention, and having the “old hands” in the Party take every opportunity to disrespect talk radio (obviously ol’ Rush ain’t having any of that) and insist that they ditch the wingnuts, er, Tea Party base. The fact that Ron Paul won the straw poll at CPAC is also sticking in his craw. As he said bluntly (and for a change, truthfully), “Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for President. It’s just not going to happen.”

Limbaugh also laments the fact that Dick Cheney was booed and called a war criminal at CPAC (I cheer it – maybe there’s hope for some of those Tea Party people yet!), and demands, “Does the Left ever dump factions of their Party? Do they ever say ‘We don’t need the Huffington Post or the Daily Kos?,” clearly expecting that the answer would be “No.” Obviously Rush missed the significance of the 2008 election, and does not understand the causes of the so-called “conservative ascendancy” he claims is happening right now. Yes, Rush, the Democrats and the “professional left” DID throw a huge portion of their base under the bus – working-class, moderate, blue dog, yellow dog and liberal Clinton supporters, including a large, LARGE group of women who felt alienated by the Obamacrats’ virulent and constant sexism. They have been doing so ever since, and they have paid the price for it, since many of those formerly reliable Democratic voters either stayed home, voted third party, or went to the other side in 2010. Many even became Tea Partiers. In fact, the Democrats of 2008 are an object lesson in how NOT to treat their base. The politically savvy Republicans would never take such a big risk, especially when their base is the only group in the Republican Party that is actually excited about 2012…would they?

They just might. The ruling classes – the GOP elite – are, indeed, extremely unhappy with the Libertarian/fundiegelical base, and haven’t been shy about saying so. Tea Party favorites Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann have all felt the ire of the corporatist (i.e., non-insane) wing of the Party. Michael Medved recently wrote that Palin and Limbaugh are weakening the movement with their allegations that Obama is deliberately trying to destroy America. (Actually, I agree with them on that one – but it’s because he’s too much like them, not because he’s too liberal. As if!) Senator Lindsey Graham sided with Obama over Sarah Palin on Egypt. “No Spin” Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly (hardly a rocket scientist himself) dismissed Glenn Beck’s recent rantings about an Islamic caliphate tied to the American Left.  Dubya’s speechwriter David Frum stated in January of 2010 that Beck and Palin have betrayed “daddy” conservatism. On Monday, Frum wondered when the “serious” Tim Pawlenty, an oft-mentioned 2012 Presidential possibility, would stand up. You know, it’s pretty impossible for any serious person to run as a Republican these days, so I have no idea what magical creature David Frum is seeking…but I digress.

More evidence on the schism between the base and the Republican Old Guard has been seen in the first few weeks of Burnt Orange Boehner’s “leadership” in the House. Say what you will about Nancy Pelosi, but the woman can, at least, count. When she took over in 2006, she passed all of her Hundred Hours legislation with barely a hitch. Perhaps tallying votes is difficult when tears are blurring one’s eyes.

If the Tea Party continues to flex its muscles, John Boehner may not be the only establishment Republican crying. As for me, I’ll be crunching the popcorn, and devoutly hoping that the Republican Party stupidly destroys itself just as the Democratic Party did in 2008. If that happens, maybe there will finally be room for the REAL center to make its priorities known. You know, the 60-70% of Americans who think tax cuts for the wealthy are wrong and financially disastrous, that Social Security and Medicare should NOT be cut, that single-payer health care would be vastly better than the Health Whatever Bill the Heritage Foundation came up with decades ago, and that jobs, not abortion, should be the true focus in Washington.

This is an open thread.


21 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: CPAC the Popcorn…The Base Is Revolting!"

However, the Tea Partiers were those in majority attendance at that GOP convention last night.

In their minds, you just can’t “hate government enough”.

The GOP convention reminds me of a Shakespeare quote: “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

Oh, that revolting base!

The fun thing is the corporations win either way. If Obama wins, they have their man in the White House and they can issue instructions to the media to trash the Tea Party for the “loss.” If Romney wins, they have their man in the White House and they can save their breath. The media already knows what to do.

How far down the rabbit hole do we fall before enough people say, “Grass! They’re feeding us grass!”

Yeah, I agree with you Quixote. I don’t think it makes a huge difference who is in the White House because they are both bought and paid for, as well as hostile to women’s rights and LGBT rights..

However, I think that the Tea Party is poison in Congress. While Ryan may get the base to turn out to vote for him and Romney, those who were elected to the House in a furor of anti-incumbent hatred have a chance of being deposed. I think the Dems even think Michele Bachmann is vulnerable, from the emails I’ve been getting.

IMHO, the most important thing we can do is get the House back from them. Then at least if Romney wins, the whackos won’t have all three branches of government. And same if Obama wins. 😉

I think recent history has shown that it does make a huge difference who is in the White House when it comes to Supreme Court Justices. Obama appointed Kagan and Sotomayor, liberal women. Bush appointed Alito and Roberts, conservative men. Clinton appointed Breyer and Ginsburg, both liberals, one man one woman. G.W. Bush appointed Souter and Thomas, conservative men. While Reagan appointed a woman, O’Conner, who turned out (much to the conservatives’ disappointment) to be less conservative than originally thought, he also appointed Scalia and Kennedy. Call it lesser of two evils or whatever you want, we cannot afford to add to the number of conservatives on the court. The Citizens United decision should be enough to convince anyone.

So you are suggesting the Hillary the Movie case that later became Citizens United might be overturned even with Obama in for another term? He might figure out a way to overturn the decision that was made during his first watch?

MB — from your fingers to being writ large.

Ben Quayle lost last night — holy potatoe! Trouble is — the way the districts were drawn, his opponent was also a Tea Pol Pot and they were in a steep-off. The winner is not as wack-a-doodle as Quayle. Of all places though — Arizona is looking more competitive.

I agree with you — Congress won’t be drained of the tea party, but there won’t be the numbers in the new Congress and that will simmer down those who do return.

@7, No not at all. I can’t imagine where anyone would get the impression that I think the decision would be overturned in the next couple of years. However, if we had just one more liberal on the court, the Citizens United decision would have gone the other way. We desperately need more liberals on the Court and the best chance we have of liberals getting appointed is by reelecting Obama. Romney will not be appointing any liberals, I think even he would admit that if asked.

@8 – No, there shall be some remaining leaves at the bottom of the cup. Who they are and where they sit may well tell our fortunes.

Checking in. Isaac is a dawdler and pain in the ass! Haven’t heard of any loss of life but I’m staying glued to the streaming feed of local teevee. Trees are down just everywhere due to the saturated ground and power is out to over 600k statewide. No flooding in St. Bernard parish but they are getting urban street flooding from the constant rainfall and winds still blowing too!

Later y’all!

@11: You have no idea. We had remnants of Isaac for 30 or so hours

While I totally agree that Obama appears to have done well in his SC nominations,I have to admit I don’t get the Supreme Court argument with regard to this election. None of the conservabots are going to be retiring in the next four years. The Supreme Court is f*cked for the foreseeable future.

In 2016 you might have an argument that Kennedy could go, I think.

P.S. Fredster, Chat, please take care!

I’m in good shape now, We just need to get the branches and stuff off my roof. It’s akways kind of a surprise when the BF climbs up there to see what we acquired this time.

IMHO, the most important thing we can do is get the House back from them. Then at least if Romney wins, the whackos won’t have all three branches of government. And same if Obama wins.

From your mouth to God’s ears.

madamab and others: couldn’t agree more about the Congressional races. I’m not judging anyone else by the fact that Obama is a lying sac. Progressives who vote pro-woman get my vote regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, initials after their name, or fashion sense!

@15 – As long as there isn’t a kitteh up there….

@16 & 17 – Amen sisters!

@13, When you consider Ginsburg’s health and age, there’s a very good chance that a replacement for her will be appointed in the next presidential term. Replace Ginsburg with a conservative and we are completely screwed for many many years to come.

@19 – I guess it doesn’t convince me because we will have five conservatives for the foreseeable future. That’s all we need. Ginsburg, as awesome as she is, has zero impact on the outcome of any decision. Five to four or six to three, we are still screwed.

@20, I’m not trying to convince you, but I can’t just sit back and pretend that history means nothing and that whomever is in the White House will not have an impact on the make up of the Supreme Court.

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