Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fringe Is Routed

This comes from many months of careful observation, hence it's long. But it's worth reading. While talk radio hosts continue to talk up their heroic Ted Cruz and his secret army of reel ‘merikans who are only minutes away from sweeping away the hateful GOP, the truth is that the fringe has lost and is in full collapse. Here is what you won’t hear from talk radio.

Embracing The Enemy. In 2010, the Tea Party caught people off guard by unseating a handful of Republican moderates who had been in their seats for a very long time. At first, this was a good thing. But then the Tea Party morphed into crazytown and their primary goal (only goal actually) became making war against the GOP. (Michelle Malkin has actually admitted that "[t]his to me is much more fascinating than the usual left-right battles.")

The GOP, most of whom sit in safe seats, suddenly realized that the new danger didn’t come from the Democrats to their left, it came from a challenge to their right. Thus, the GOP embraced the Tea Party to protect themselves from challengers. And for the next three years, the GOP kowtowed to these people.

Unfortunately, trying to appease the insane never works and the GOP discovered that nothing they did was ever enough. No matter what the GOP did, the fringe continued to hate them and to try to destroy them. Moreover, the more entangled they become with the fringe, the further away they drove the public. As a result, the GOP has been flirting with permanent minority status.

The First Victory. After November 2012, things changed. The GOP decided that they needed to move away from the fringe and they began the process. They developed a strategy for dealing with fringe candidates, tested it, and are now applying it. At the same time, they started introducing an agenda to turn them back into a responsible party again. The results have been dramatic, even if they are largely behind the scenes.

The strategy they employed started with this. When Liz Cheney decided to attack Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi, the fringe jumped onboard as usual. This was one of about a dozen attempts to "primary" sitting Republicans. At the time, groups like Tea Party Express and Freedom Works declared that Cheney would sweep to victory, as would a dozen others, and they would finally unseat the RINO leadership.

But this time, the GOP fought back. First, they gave a massive number of endorsements to Enzi and they made it clear that they would not simply stand on the sidelines. They also ridiculed the Senate Conservatives Fund (Cruz’s group) as being in the business of replacing Republicans with Democrats, which is essentially all Cruz has accomplished. The results were strong and immediate. Cheney’s candidacy collapsed and she withdrew for “family health” reasons.

Within days of her withdrawal, the fringe did what they always do: they disowned her. Indeed, a number of people who had been praising her as a reel ‘merikan only days before suddenly dismissed her as an establishment carpetbagger. Cult-like groups always work this way because they cannot afford failure. More was coming...

The Turning Point. As Wyoming played out, Ted Cruz decided to make a power play in Washington. He saw an opportunity to embarrass the GOP leadership by demanding a shutdown. He figured that the GOP leadership would never act so irresponsibly, so he was safe making the demand because he knew they would never give him what he wanted. Essentially, he had a free pass to thump his chest and claim to be the only courageous Republican. He also used the opportunity to spread the idea that the public was secretly with him and that they would rally to a shutdown, which would expose the GOP leadership as out of touch. Again, he could make this claim because he knew it would never be tested. He even got the House GOP backbench to support him in an effort to make Boehner look like a fool.

It was a fantastic bluff. Not only did it allow him to define himself as better than everyone else in the GOP, i.e. as the only genuine conservative in a nest of RINOs, but it let him offer the Kool-Aid of the “secret majority” to his fringe audience all without any fear that his claim would ever be exposed. The fringe, naturally, jumped on this like retards humping a doorknob and they all parroted how cowardly the leadership was and how Cruz must be made the new leader.

Then it went wrong. Boehner shrewdly gave Cruz what he wanted and the government shut down. This became the real turning point. See, it turns out the public did not support Cruz and the fringe. To the contrary, around 90% blamed the GOP for shutting down the government and felt they had acted irresponsibly. Moreover, the deal that was needed to end the shutdown wiped out sequestration. Cruz had, as usual, set the cause of conservatism back.

More importantly, however, while this was going on, Cruz’s behavior exposed him. When the shutdown first happened, Cruz actually refused to say whether or not he supported what had been his own idea. He was waiting to see how it played. And when it went sour fast, he denied that this had been his idea at all. Even four months later, he continued to deny this. Said Cruz on Face the Nation:
“I didn't threaten to shut down the government the last time. I don't think we should ever shut down the government. I repeatedly voted to fund the federal government.”
Of course, evidence to the contrary abounds all over the net.

What this did was expose Cruz. Intelligent conservatives would now see that he was a liar who used them for personal gain, and they talked about how shocked they were when he admitted that he had no exit strategy for the shutdown, i.e. no purpose in doing it. Conservatives like Kelly Ayotte apparently met him with quite a fury. And when Cruz tired again recently to cause a shutdown and then forced the GOP to vote for the budget to overcome his filibuster, he found no supporters. The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page even called Cruz, “the Minority Maker” and chastised him for making the GOP “walk the plank on a meaningless debt ceiling vote.” Outside of the deep fringe, the love and blind faith is gone.

Open Season. Immediately after the collapse of the shutdown, Boehner verbally attacked the fringe by calling groups like The Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks “ridiculous” and claiming they had “lost all credibility.” Blogs like Hot Air quickly mocked this as a tantrum and called him whiny, but they missed the point. Boehner’s message wasn’t intended to win the fringe, it was intended to tell the rest of the GOP that it was open season on the fringe. And open season it became.

Since Boehner’s comments, there have been a steady stream of attacks on the fringe from people like Tom Coburn, Charles Krauthammer and Jennifer Rubin. The GOP changed its election rules to make it harder for small candidates to win primaries and to force everything to wrap up quicker, i.e. to make another Santorum unlikely. The GOP also fired companies who had worked with Cruz’s anti-Republican PAC. Iowa’s governor is doing his best to make the Iowa GOP mainstream by driving out the fringe. Mike Huckabee essentially likened the fringe to the Nazis, which brought howls of anger from various blogs. John McCain, who had planned to retire, now will likely run for a new term because fringers in Arizona censured him for “associating with liberal Democrats” and he plans to spite them. Everywhere, the establishment is fighting back and more and more conservatives are switching sides to join the establishment against the fringe.

Routed: The Battle of Kentucky. With things going poorly for the fringe as recognized conservatives started deserting the cult and speaking against them, the fringe needed a big victory. They chose to attack a man they saw as a soft target: Mitch McConnell. McConnell is a fairly reliable conservative, though a practical one, and he and Boehner have become the fringe’s boogeymen, an odd package of spineless dupes and evil RINO geniuses who are simultaneously incompetent yet manage to dominate and frustrate 60 million conservatives. They saw McConnell as the perfect target because unseating him would be a huge show of their power and they believed he was vulnerable to a primary challenge. So they decided to support his Tea Party sponsored opponent: Matt Bevins.

In fact, “support” is an understatement. Like Hitler at Stalingrad, they are pouring everything they have into this fight. Everyone from groups like the Club for Growth to Sarah Palin have sent money and endorsements to Bevins. Every single fringe group you can think of is involved in this effort. Talk radio has repeatedly and unanimously pimped for Bevins and torn down McConnell. The idea was this: if the fringe can win this one huge victory, then it can wash away all the defeats it has suffered in primaries, special elections and with all their candidates going down in flames to the Democrats in 2012. More importantly, they can regain their ability to rule the GOP by fear. That was the plan.

But the new GOP tactics have proved extremely effective. Bevins was close until the GOP started attacking the fringe as crazy, as having no end game to their strategies, and as aiding the Democrats. And after the Cruz shutdown debacle, things started to go wrong. The latest poll has McConnell beating Bevins by 42 points.

This is an epic disaster for them. Indeed, the fringe has completely lost its influence, and they know it. What is most telling has been the change in rhetoric. After promising, a month or so ago, to unseat two dozen Republicans in the primaries, the same groups now are saying that they didn’t expect to win any of those contests, but it was enough to raise awareness of the issues. That’s loser speak. At the same time, the fringe starting whining about how unfair the GOP has been treating them. Even Cruz whined about this, stating that the GOP was “carpet-bombing” Tea Party candidates and that they should focus on the big bad Democrats. This is how people talk when they know it’s all over... and note the hypocrisy.

At this point, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks is still promising to unseat 28 GOP incumbents blah blah blah, including Eric Cantor and John Boehner, but no one is taking that seriously. In fact, the GOP is so confident that they’ve gone from the defensive to the offensive. First, the Chamber of Commerce came out and supported any GOP candidates who would oppose Tea Party candidates. Now former Rep. Steven LaTourette has founded a new PAC whose goal is to “beat the snot out of Tea Party Congressional candidates.”

All of this smells of a route.

Where Things Stand. So where do things stand? The fringe is still speaking of their glorious victories to come, but from the sound of things, there will be no more Tea Party victories in primaries. A good number of Tea Party congressmen may also lose their seats. The GOP is slowly working on an agenda that will align it with the public and the actual GOP base again – not the fringe. For example, with polls consistently showing that even 60% of the GOP base wants immigration reform, its interesting to note that every single GOP candidate for President has endorsed the idea even as the fringe views this as heresy.

Meanwhile, a number of prominent conservatives started talking about an agenda – an agenda that goes against everything the fringe stands for. The article about Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin the other day is just the latest example. Even people like Rand Paul, who the fringe assumes are with them, have distanced themselves. In fact, in a very telling comment the other day, Rand Paul said this:
“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party. . . and it has to be a transformation, not a little tweaking at the edges.
So we need to become hard core “conservative,” right? Well, no. Here’s what he said next:
“Republicans haven’t gone to African-Americans or to Hispanics and said, ‘You know what? The war on drugs, Big Government, has had a racial outcome. It’s disproportionately affected the poor and the black and brown among us. There is a struggle going on within the Republican Party. It’s not new, and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud of the fact that there is a struggle. And I will struggle to make the Republican Party a different party, a bigger party, a more diverse party, and a party that can win national elections again.
That is the complete opposite of what talk radio preaches about needing to become a smaller, nastier, more pure party.

The fringe is bleeding support too. Indeed, there was an interesting poll the other day, whose import was missed. The poll asked Republicans who they would support for 2016. Despite the fact that Ted Cruz was the only reel ‘merikan on the list, he scored a pathetic 12%. The other 88% were spread around various people who have all been accused of RINOcy. This means that the fringe is down from a high of around 20% of the Republican party to 12% tops. That’s a loss of 40% in six months and makes them about the size of Ron Paul’s support in the past.

Interestingly, I’m seeing evidence too that many of the fringe are giving up on the GOP and going back to whence they came in third parties.

Does this mean Cruz is finished? Hardly. The fringe only listens to talk radio and talk radio won’t tell them any of the things above because that would harm their ratings. To the contrary, if you listen to Rush or Levin or the rest, or you read HotAir or Breitbart, you will hear a steady stream of how Cruz and his army of reel ‘merikans are about to win victory after victory over Boehner and McConnell, who will soon be replaced. And then they will explain away the divergence from reality with tales or RINO traitors and magic. Because of this, Cruz, the phony-outsider, will get to continue to milk the fringe for money and he can continue his war against the GOP... but his influence is over. Things are changing a lot.



Kit said...


AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Kit. I take it you found the article interesting?

Libertarian Advocate said...

I think you're wrong on this one. Time will tell.

Critch said...

I'm more libertarian (small L) than anything. I've been very frustrated with the mainstream GOPs inability to articulate what they stand for. I'm frustrated with the ultra-right's badmouthing anyone who doesn't agree with them on everything. I want a smaller government, I want the government out of people's pocketbooks, gunsafes, bedrooms and businesses. The problem with being in the middle is that the left wing of the GOP has been a do nothing party, I feel that have caved way too many times. Even the notion of them thinking that Crhistie is a viable candidate makes me sick. The ultra-Right needs to back off on some things and the GOP mainstream needs to reaffirm a few things, say cutting the deficit. I jsut can't warm up to Cruz, and I honestly don't know why. OTOH, there's no one else out there right now...

AndrewPrice said...

Libertarian Advocate, Time will tell, but I didn't make any of this up.

The overall conclusion is my opinion about the things I have seen over the past several months. But all the specifics in the article are factual or from opinions/motivations stated by the players themselves. Everything in the article comes from multiple news articles in which the participants or their staff were quoted. Nothing comes from op-ed pieces or from smears by leftist sites like Huffpo.

A lot of this we have talked about as it happened, like when conservatives like Coburn and Krauthammer and Rubin abandoned the fringe and started badmouthing them. The Cruz hypocrisies are a matter of record. The polls are a matter of record and are backed up by other similar polls. The flipflop on Cheney, the failure of Bevins, the anger directed at Cruz by people like Ayotte are all out there to be found easily.

And the articles I relied on are not selling this narrative. For example, the articles I saw about the GOP firing the firms that have worked for Cruz was not written to brag about the GOP fighting back, they were articles whining about the GOP being petty to Cruz. The articles about the GOP "carpet bombing" the Tea Party (direct quote from Cruz) were part of a series of articles from the right whining about the GOP being disloyal to them and mocking them because the fringe will prevail etc. etc. The bit about Iowa's governor came from a lengthy interview with him. The GOP's change in the primary rules was all over the news with lots of fringe articles attacking the change for doing exactly what I say here. The actions of the Chamber of Commerce and the groups challenging Tea Party candidates were announced in various political journals and then got mocked by the fringe sites. Etc.

Everything I've seen in the past six months has shown this shift for the GOP from appeasement to the defensive to the offensive, with the fringe leaders going from bragging to whining about being treated unfairly. Only the blogs and talk radio think nothing has changed.

AndrewPrice said...

Guys, I need to run. Be back soon.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - My only issue with what you wrote is that remember that these are the annoyingly vocal Fringe of the Tea Party movement, not the Tea Party movement as a whole. Let's call them to the rock bottom remainders (a hat tip to Dave Barry's rock group) of the movement or what is left of it and the hardcore. Most of the moderates and fiscal conservatives left in frustration and disgust (including myself). I stayed thinking that I could remain a rational, reasonable voice but it has become hopeless. There is no rationale to their unreasonableness these days.

Being a participant in the movement from the very first public rally on Feb. of 2009, we stressed over and over and over that this was not about parties and social issues. The movement was started and grew because of fiscal insanity in Washington brought on by the bank and auto bailouts and the complete lack of respect for "the will of the people". It was a movement about putting the "We" back in "We the People" and reminding our elected officials that they work at the pleasure of the people and not the other way around. Well at least that's what we said and I believed.

I knew we were in trouble when politicians like Michelle Bachmann started co-opting us in early 2010 and naming themselves as the self-appointed leaders of the "movement". Andrew Breitbart actually held it together and kept it focused until his untimely death. And the take-over was complete when Dick Armey, founder of FreedomWorks, was ousted quite literally by gunpoint by Matt Kibbe. The crazy fringe had taken over.

No offense to Libertarian Advocate, but intransigent irrationality has no future. The movement has become drunk with power and obsessed with revenge and defeating anyone who dares to defy their obsessive and irrational doctrine of...what is it now anyway? Unfocused rage is all I see and the hell bent destruction of anyone who does not agree with them regardless of who they may be. Politics does not work with absolutes ever. It is about compromise and the middle ground that everyone can agree to.

Libertarian Advocate, we Tea Partiers are all about our Founders, Bill of Rights, and tricorn hats, but all you have to do is read about the painful compromises made to get 13 colonies to sign on the Declaration of Independence to understand that simple fact.

All that being said, it is also in response to a administration that is ALSO drunk with power and obsessed with revenge and defeating anyone who dares to defy their obsessive and irrational doctrine of whatever. Sadly, where pre-internet, the fringe used to be the voice in the wilderness, now they have become the loud relentless voice and the ones in the middle trying to forge a compromise to mutually benefit the American people are drowned out and worse, demonized by the Fringes on both sides (one of which happens to be the Obama Administration).

Okay, my rant has ended. You can go about your lives again...

Critch said...

It's funny how many of my friends are mad at me because I won't back some local candidates who are far right wing. These are good people, however, I really don't see how constant attacks against gays, immigrants (legal and illegal), various moderate churches or even businesses is going to help us. I want that border closed, I want emigration reform; as well as enforcement of the existing laws. Obviously the old ones weren't working. But close that damn border. We need to get a handle on spending, there needs to be a critical eye given to these pet projects that as an aggregate amount to billions of dollars. Foreign aid? No one gets help unless they help us, period. The Chinese have had this right for years...Pakistan needs cut off, they are not our friend. There's a few other countries that come to mind also. I spent 30 years in the military, I can tell you all about waste. We have way too many generals and admirals, way too many, cut that number in half and you still have too many, Everyone one of them as an entourage of officers an senior enlisted who cost money; Patton had two aides, one a captain, one a major and got along just fine. If the Army says we don't need more tanks, we don't need more tanks. The Air Force said the same thing about some aircraft. We have too many of one type, not enough of the other,,let these warfighters do their jobs. I guarantee you they know better than congress. We really need to stay the hell out of other people's wars unless it directly infringes on our operations, businesses or citizens..if we have to resort to force, hammer their ass into the ground...force is used when talking doesn't work,,,after hammering them see if they want to continue talking..results can be surprising.

Stop letting unions dictate what the government pays for construction or other services. All jobs go up for bid, union or non-union. I'm not anti-union for the most part, but the cost on these jobs is astounding.

The feds need to pay attention to the 10th Amendment, if it ain't spelled out that it belongs to the Feds, stay away from it. The states have sovereignty over many issues, the Feds need to defend us, build roads, encourage and protect commerce and watch that the Constituioni is being adhered to. Marriage laws, gun control, etc are really none of their business...

Tennessee Jed said...

Back from a vacation!! I tend to think of politics as the art of the possible. It is always an interesting proposition to try and balance the notion of one's principles vs. compromise. I like to think individual liberty to pursue life, liberty, and happiness is best accomplished when government plays as small a role as possible. Despite it's flaws, free market capitalism still has a greater potential to create national wealth than socialism. And I really don't believe most liberals are evil, they just seem naive to me regarding the unforeseen consequences of their policies. High taxes on business and tons of regulations does not attract new business. Perpetually extending unemployment is not an incentive for people to find work. Helping out the poor with health care is a noble effort, but ignoring the costs bankrupts us. Government is the biggest of all corporations. It is filled with patronage bureaucrats interested in maintaining their fiefdom. I can't predict if our economic system is this country will eventually collapse from ever expanding debt, but it seems logical. So, I want Republicans to preach a message of pro-business start-up, anti-trust, and getting our expenses in order to preserve our country. As you have said in your agenda 2016 book, there are lots of ways to help the middle class and less well off without throwing more dollars at everything.

darski said...

I have noticed since election night last November that this board has cowered more and more and hides behind the belief that the GOP is a party worth having. You gave Obama that election and all your leadership cannot bend over fast enough or far enough to kiss his butt. name one person in the GOP establishment that is even worth knowing. Karl Rove is largely responsible for conceding the entire field to the dems when he refused to defend Bush or the GOP against the lies. Now you are so afraid of your own shadows that you belittle anyone who is willing to confront the lies of the left. Boehner is a joke. I would love to have my hands on that giant gavel that Nancy Pelosi used to take it to him good and proper. I have more respect for Pelosi - which is less tha zero, than I have for him.

Name one GOP-er who would not sell his/her own mother to get the dems to invite them to the cool gang party

Cowardice does not become y'all... grow some and stand against the losers who are selling you out on every turn.

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry about that. I was called away and only just got back.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I'm with you 100%. The problem is that the party factions seem to be either left or far right, even though the actual base is neither. The actual base is small government Reaganesque.

I'll tell you what makes me hopeful though. When you push aside the fringe, what you get is a leadership that that will defer to the party celebrities. And those celebrities are all good people at the moment -- Rand Paul, Rubio, Ryan, Jindal, Ayotte, Scott Walker, etc. Those are not the Republicans of old. They are not RINOs. They are not whackos. They are as close to Reagan's heirs as I've seen. Indeed, those are people who understand what conservatism is about and have tried to get us there only to be savaged by the fringe as RINOs.

So I am hopeful that this will all ultimately end well. The one fly in the ointment is Christie.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Excellent rant and I agree both completely.

I had major respect and sympathy for the Tea Party when it started. They struck me as a true slice of middle America who had had enough with being ignored by a government that could not stop spending money it didn't have.

But then things started to change. Soon, the movement was flooded with nuts and they raced to the fringes. That's when all the normal people I know left the movement. Suddenly, the Tea Party agenda became about stopping Common Core, spreading vaccine lies, hating Obama personally, hating the GOP, deporting Mexicans and making sure no piece of legislation ever passed. They became the party of fiscal IRresponsibility, pushing for shutdowns for no reason except spite.

And all of this morphed into a war with the GOP. Indeed, other than hating Obama as a person and hating the American public for not supporting them, their only target has been the GOP: "We need to destroy the village to save it." At this point, as a political movement, they are essentially insane.

The things I outline in the article are what I've seen about how their history is playing out now. They overplayed their hand and drove out people who had supported them. The GOP meanwhile realized that placating these people only made them angrier. And now the GOP is fighting back and the fringe is falling apart.

At this point, you are correct that they will continue to attack the GOP. They won't go away. They will threaten to form a third party and they will continue to smear every GOP candidate as a RINO. They might even win a seat now and then. But in terms of ever controlling the agenda or the GOP, they are finished.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Well said! I agree 100% with everything you said.

What's frustrating to me is that the Tea Party had the GOP's attention. They demanded an end to business as usual and they got it. All the things you mention were things the GOP could have done and achieved... only, the fringe slaughtered anyone who tried.

Immigration is the perfect example. Rubio put together a bill that wasn't perfect, but which addressed every conservative concern about immigration except "send 'em all home," and he got slaughtered for it. Rather than working with him to fix the parts they thought needed to be stronger, they made it clear that they didn't want any solution. So for the sake of being angry, the fringe passed up the chance to seal the borders, stop new people from coming, bringing these 11 million people out of the shadows so they can't hurt people, and repairing a gaping wound in our political image. And what did they get in return? Nothing. Because that's what they wanted.

Every issue became like this. And they blamed everyone else for each of their failures.

What the fringe did was squander the opportunity the original Tea Party got them because at the very moment the GOP was ready to change, they went insane and started an orgy of anger and paranoia directed solely the GOP. It was stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I want that too. It's time to win back the public and to make America into a stronger, more conservative, freer and more fair place.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Welcome back. :)

AndrewPrice said...

darski, That's exactly the problem with the fringe, they mistake their ignorance and lack of judgment for insight, and their willingness to fail completely and pointlessly as nobility and courage.

The people here are a lot more courageous than the people who hide their heads in the sand and just assume that if they hate enough people, one day the public will come to their side. Cowardice is not having the strength to admit that your ideas aren't right.

BevfromNYC said...

TennJ - I second that "Welcome back :)" with the smiley and everything. And I agree with you...and I will add, I would just LOVE for one day...just one, that our leadership in the WH would just tell the unvarnished truth about something, anything. Give me something to believe in and that I can believe from them.

Kit said...

"What the fringe did was squander the opportunity the original Tea Party got them because at the very moment the GOP was ready to change, they went insane and started an orgy of anger and paranoia directed solely the GOP. It was stupid."


AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's the biggest sin. They had what they wanted and they weren't willing to take it because by that point their leaders were all opportunists who saw profit in the forever-struggle, and their core supporters were crazies who basically wanted the world to be different.

In essences, they stopped being a political movement and they morphed into a cult that plays in politics.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Sadly, no one does truth anymore.

BevfromNYC said...

Kit - "Yup" is right. When they started attacking Mitch McConnell for being "traitor to the cause" and actively targeting his re-election bid in Kentucky, I knew they'd gone over the edge with no hope of coming back. The TP groups (leadership) have completely lost sight of the goal...WIN BACK THE SENATE. We tasted blood when we won back the House and dramatically narrowed the margin in the Senate in 2010 ( a great shock to the Dems). The Big Picture is lost. What's worse is that they don't WANT to see the Big Picture...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The latest thing Cruz did with making the Republicans overcome his filibuster to get the debt ceiling fixed was the final nail in his coffin with the GOP. He did that to attack McConnell. In fact, the only thing he said afterwards when asked why he did something so pointless and which would only hurt the GOP was, "That's up to the voters of Kentucky."

That's who Cruz is. And he's bleeding support as people see that now.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - I just don't understand his rational. If anything McConnell and Boehner have held the line. Does Cruz think he'll take over the leadership position? I actually liked him and thought he was a pretty good guy. Now I know why my parents were really skeptical of him in the beginning when he ran in Texas.

AndrewPrice said...

Also Bev, in the bigger picture, to understand why the fringe attacks the GOP instead of the Democrats, keep a couple things in mind:

1. The fringe's leaders are driven by ratings or fundraising, and they make more money and get more listeners when they talk about being betrayed rather than laying out an agenda that their listeners might not like. Sex sells... if it bleeds, it leads...

2. The GOP is an easier target than the Democrats because the Democrats laugh them off whereas the GOP had been trying to appease them. So they could claim great victories every time the GOP kowtowed. In fact, some of these a**holes on the radio actually pound their chest and claim that they were the cause of various actions the GOP has taken.

3. I am subjected to talk radio much more than I like. And I can tell you that there isn't a segment during which they don't spin and distort everything into being the fault of "the RINOs running the GOP." Then they mock them in childish ways much the same way propagandists always have... disagreement is evidence of a flawed character. It's utter nonsense without a single basis in fact, but their low-information listeners believe it because they hear it told the same way by host after host and they have been taught to dismiss those who tell them otherwise as betrayers. In many ways, this is exactly what groups like the Nazis did and it's eery how effective it can be.

That is why the GOP is the target, not the Democrats.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, On that point, you've got me. I've been trying to figure out his goal. At one point, I thought he wanted to be president and he saw the fringe as the one group he could lead who could take him there. But he's not stupid and he must know they simply lack the numbers.

I suppose it's possible this is a principled stance, as with Jim DeMint, but honestly that's bunk. Indeed, before I could believe that, he would need to actually take a stand on something -- he hasn't. He would also need some sort of endgame other than "destroy GOP."

That leaves the possibility that he's just looking to get rich milking the fringe -- do some talk radio, write some books, maybe head a think tank. That's the most likely goal that I see at the moment. I would not be at all surprised if he retires after one term in the Senate to do that.

Other than that, I'm stumped.

In terms of spotting him, I noticed some issues with Cruz very early on that bothered me. I have laid a lot of those out here. First, despite his effort to present himself as an outsider, he's a lifelong Washington insider... very insider. So at best, he's a faker. Secondly, I started noticing early on that he never took a stand on anything. Even when he railed against something like immigration reform, he kept speaking with glaring caveats that left him with the ability to change sides at a moment's notice. Third, he never proposed anything, he never offered any alternatives, and he never had any endgame. Basically, he threw bombs without any idea how he wanted things to turn out.

Those were all huge warning signs to me, and what we are seeing now is just the extension of those.

Kit said...


Or he is like the Joker: "An Agent of Chaos".


AndrewPrice said...

Kit, LOL! There have been those, but I don't think he's one of them. He's a big firm lawyer who has spent his life working in Washington, D.C. agencies and on political campaigns. He married a partner at Goldman Sachs. People like that aren't generally agents of chaos. More likely, he's got some goal we just don't know about yet.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It's also possible he just made a mistake. It's possible he thought he could flirt with the fringe and the move left to win a presidential election and he just got too far right to pull out again or he didn't have the right temperament and now he's feuding with people who angered him.

AndrewPrice said...

Also I should point out that Rand Paul has endorsed Mitch McConnell.

BevfromNYC said...

So, not to change the subject, because I'm really not, but has anyone watched the new season of "House of Cards"?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I saw the original British versions and love them, but haven't seen the American versions yet. I hear they're good though.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - The Netflix version is stellar and amazingly conservative. Well worth the binge-watching.

tryanmax said...

Name one GOP-er who would not sell his/her own mother to get the dems to invite them to the cool gang party

I just gotta make sure Limbaugh gets proper attribution for his talking point. It's his idea that politics somehow isn't a popularity contest. It's not enough to win over with ideas. The party needs charisma, as well. Two things which the Tea Party rejects. Besides, the constant gripe about hyperpartisanship doesn't arise from nowhere. If Democrats were getting their way, they wouldn't be caterwauling so.

I have more respect for Pelosi - which is less tha zero, than I have for [Boehner].

Not sure who to credit with this, but saying Pelosi was a better speaker seems to be the insult du jour against Boehner lately. Pelosi is the genius whose favorite word is "The Word" and refers to abortion as "sacred," remember?

Let me remind you also that Boehner pushed through an extension of the Bush tax cuts for most, got Obama to change his campaign pledge of tax hikes for those making over $250,000 up to $400,000, got sequestration passed, held off gun-control grabs by Dems in the wake of Sandy Hook, and has generally managed to negotiate somewhat successfully with the most ideologically impassive president in memory--if not ever.

Let's also note that he's made sure no Repbulican fingerprints get put on Obamacare. His party's "intransigence" has opened the doors to actually discuss legislation that has for too long been passed as a matter of routine, like the farm bill. His Boehner House has made a point of increasing the percentage of bills brought to the floor via rule rather than suspension to allow more transparency. Not to mention that, by Tea Party standards, making the 113th Congress the least productive in history IS an accomplishment. Or so I thought.

That Boehner hasn't been able to achieve more against a Democrat Senate and stubborn man-child president is not a reflection of acquiescence, it's a function of the current political landscape. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but Democrats are still full of horseshit. (I may have messed that up a bit.)

tryanmax said...

Bev, I have watched House of Cards. Very good show.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I've been binging on Justified, which I'm reviewing tomorrow. Great, great show!

Kit said...


Good and solid points about John Boehner!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The problem with what you say is that it gets denied on talk radio and, hence, the fringe won't believe it: "I don't want it to be true, ergo it is not, and you are unreliable for claiming that it is."

For many months now, it's been clear to me that the fringe has invented a narrative which they all share as if it were true. Not only are there no facts to support this narrative, but it's easily disproven both with logic and fact. But they simply don't care. They want to believe these things are true no matter how ridiculous they are because it satisfies their tantrum.

Case in point, the idea that the GOP has helped Obama get his agenda in place -- particularly Obamacare. The GOP stood united and opposed every single thing the Democrats have tried to pass since 2008. They have repeatedly tried to undermine everything that got passed. They have centered their platform around repealing it.

Yet, no one on the fringe wants to believe that because it would cut the heart out of their beliefs and it would expose their behavior for what it is. So they refuse to believe it, even if it can all be proven easily. And then they turn to Limbaugh et al. who assure them that their unsupported and illogical prejudices the real are reality.

In terms of "more respect for Pelosi," besides the fact this is the phrase du jour in the fringosphere, this actually represents the problem with the fringe. They ARE losers. They LIKE losing. Why? Because it makes them feel special to think that they know something the rest of the world isn't smart enough to know. It's the same psychological flaw that gets people believing in conspiracy theories.

I've actually had long conversations with fringers and I've been amazed at how little they actually have to support their beliefs and how quickly their beliefs collapse the moment you ask them to support them... and how quickly they build them back up the moment they realize that.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, in the end, it doesn't really matter. If I'm right about the trends I'm seeing, then the fringe is irrelevant. They will no longer matter electorally and the GOP will shift toward positions that win over the public. The end result will be a larger, more competitive GOP with the fringe probably retreating to some third party... from whence they came originally.

If I'm wrong, then none of this matters because we're looking at generations of Democratic rule as the fringe takes the party down the path to virtual destruction.

We'll know more soon about which path we're on.

BevfromNYC said...

Tryanmax - Bravo! And I am going to use what you have written verbatim the next time I am confronted with Boehner naysayers. With as little as Boehner has had to work with, he has done an amazing job holding the line. And it is underappreciated.

Rustbelt said...

I had the same experience as Bev. I was a happy member of the Tea Party (especially election night 2010), until it went off the rails. I can't remember exactly when it happened, though it definitely happened sometime during the 2012 election. Whether it was the death of Andrew Breitbart, Santorum's unwillingness to embrace Romney and push for victory (as Hildabeast did with Obumbler in 2008), or when I pounded my fist on my car dashboard listening to talk radio trash Romney as not the right candidate ("What are you idiots thinking? Would you rather have four more years of Obama?!"), I suddenly realized the fringe wasn't interested in victory, but in their version of 'purity,' or whatever.

And I'd like to third, fourth, whatever...tryanmax's points about Boehner. Granted, he's not my favorite politician, (not sure if I have one, for that matter), but I get unnerved when ever I hear conservatives say he doesn't do his job. Given that he's dealing with the Shady Man of Nevada and the Stubborn Pit of Lazy Volcanic and Unjustified Hatred in the White House, the fact he's gotten anything done is by itself amazing.

Anyhoo...all great information, Andrew. Now, if we can only get Chris Christie out of the picture and out of the hazy heads of some loony leaders. Maybe a trail of doughnuts leading to the good old box-held-up-by-a-pull-away-stick trick.

BevfromNYC said...

Rustbelt - So isn't only me. I was closer to it since I went to Washington alot for national rallies and I experienced firsthand the rise of the "politicians" taking over.

As for Chris Christie - be glad he is in the firing line. The forces are trying hard to take him down and it is fine with me. He is being pounded every day now over "Bridge-gate" and as long as he stays in the firing line, the rest of the rising Republican stars can keep doing what they are doing.

Frighteningly, Trump is making his play for New York governor. Dear God, help us. It's NYC mayoral race all over again except Trump? Really? Btw, I predict that Cuomo will win a second term in NY and frankly, deserves it. The Democrats are making fools of themselves in NY btw. Talk about "Tale of Two Cities", there is a real war brewing for the Democrats with NYC versus the rest of the State of New York. Did you know there WAS a rest of the state? I didn't. Cuomo is having a classic "No New Taxes" moment. It is great watching the Democrats melt down over raising taxes.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, You're welcome. I think it's interesting. And it's building too. There's also a lot more that I couldn't fit into the already overly-long article.

I noticed the same thing a lot earlier from reading blogs. It became clear that the people commenting there who claimed to love the Tea Party where nuts. They only wanted to see the GOP destroyed. Many were racist. Most were too stupid to even state what they believed. Others just liked to cause problems. Those aren't great signs. Then when the meme started that the GOP was betraying "us" even as the GOP was doing exactly what the Tea Party demanded, it became clear to me that they were not about victory, they were about a strange form of undefined purity. Essentially, they were about fighting with no goal in mind.

Agreed on Boehner. He's not my favorite and I have many issues with him, but he has done a tremendous job over the past five years of holding the line against Obama... especially with his right flank trying to undermine him everywhere.

Agreed on Christie. He is absolutely the wrong answer. He is a true RINO... the other side of the fringe coin. His ideology is about sacrificing the GOP for his own benefit all the while claiming to be moderate.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You could see it developing if you read blogs like HotAir or Breitbart. When the Tea Party came out, Tea Party people would post comments (or articles) explaining in clear language their goals. They wanted the government to stop spending beyond its means, to stop handing money to big donors like Wall Street banks, and to stop imposing regulations like Obamacare. Their articles read like this:

"These are our goals and we believe this is necessary to protect the country and we want the President to listen to us. Thank you for your time. J. Smith."

Then the tone and focus changed. Suddenly, the people calling themselves Tea Party were writing the most bizarre, nasty crap aimed at Republicans:

"You dirty Quislings have betrayed us for too long just to gain favor with our fascist Kenyan dictator. John 'Boner' (ha ha) is a traitor you whiny crying baby!!! You ain't got no balls!"

And the issues they cared about became (1) getting rid of the 30 million dirty Mexican child rapists in our midsts and burning that RINO Rubio at the stake, (2) birtherism, (3) the Common Core conspiracy theory, (4) the abortion pill and burning that RINO Jindal at the stake, (5) impeaching Obama because somethingsomething and he's black!, (6) impeaching Eric Holder somethingsomething and he's black!, (7) why the government won't prosecute any blacks for the knock-out game, (8) expanding stand your ground and proving that Trayvon Martin had it coming, (9) having the Black Panthers prosecuted, (10) kill the unemployment program because those people are lazy, and (11) shutting down the government and defaulting on our debts to prove our fiscal responsibility.

That was kind of a tip-off that something had changed.

That was also around the time that people like you were first mentioning that you had left the Tea Party.

Rustbelt said...

Bev, that's good to hear about Christie. Let him go down in flames, if possible.

Wait...there's a whole STATE outside of the five boroughs? Wow! Very interesting... sounds like the conflict in PA between the Penn Republic and Sylvania. (Those Sylvanians are still trying to blame Three Mile Island on us.)
At least you're going to have Trump for a little entertainment. I'm predicting Governor Corbett will be in for the fight of his life this fall. Consider the following:
-lessened school funding in effort to decrease unions' power; naturally, this led to "think of the children!" cries*
-PA's new voter ID was overturned (by a Democrat judge, no less)
-failed to revise PA's archaic state store liquor laws (with Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature, no less)
-the whole damn Sandusky thing that STILL won't go away

Geez...well, prior his governorship he DID file the original lawsuit against Obamacare that went to the Supreme Court. So, with the law's disastrous rollout, he has something to work on there. Maybe.

*- Governor Tom Ridge (better known nationally as the first Secretary of Homeland Security), tried the direct approach of taking on the unions mano-a-mano back in the 90's. And guess what happened? "Won't somebody think of the children?!" There are times I hate the people in my home state.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, PA is one of those strange states where the Republicans win all the time, but never seem to achieve anything. I don't understand it.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - Remember that PA, like NJ and any NE state, "Republican" is something different that the rest of the "flyover" states. More than any other region, it can be more traditional "RINO" than other regions.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, True. What I don't get though is why they can't elect RINO Republicans to Congress and the Senate?

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Sorry about Trump. That's going to stink.

Anonymous said...

After a lot of what was reported here, this is definitely encouraging news! Admittedly I can't add much to the discussion, but if the fringe really has been dealt a crippling blow then things just might look up in the next few years. Now if we could only get them to quickly adopt Agenda 2016, eh?

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, I think this is encouraging. And it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I suspect that a lot of them will be VERY irate come the 2016 primary.

In terms of getting them to adopt Agenda 2016, yeah, that would be fantastic... but we're not quite there yet. Still, there's hope. A lot of the GOP are starting to at least arrange their thoughts in the right direction.

Koshcat said...

Sometimes its darkest before the dawn. It's about time some of them have woke up and stopped being dumb. You gave me just a tingle of hope for President ______ (Rubio? Ryan? Jindle?) instead of Hildabeast (I stole it and I admit it cause it was funny).

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, True. And it has been very dark. But there is light coming. In terms of them not being so dumb, almost every day some conservative breaks away from them and returns to the land of conservatism. That 88% who chose a non-fringe candidate is a very telling number.

I'm actually feeling good about our chances in 2016 because the Democrats have decided to go with Hillary, but obviously don't love her. It's going to be interesting.

El Gordo said...

Well, good. Like Bev, I don´t want to call them Tea Party because those are my brothers and sisters. But the people we are calling the fringe ... look, I have a big heart. I can understand how a regular guy would feel betrayed and desperate when he looks at what´s happening around him. But when he becomes a de facto helper of the Democrat party, it´s no longer funny.

When you manage to lose people who are manifestly more conservative than 95% of the population you are not helping. What are the chances that people who piss off guys like Krauthammer, Sowell, Goldberg or Podhoretz can win regular Americans? Zero, that´s what.

We all know actual RINOs, creeps like Chaffee, Specter, Hagel, Lugar, Crist ... but if you don´t see the difference between them and Mitch McConnell you are not conservative, you are on a glorious death ride ... in your own mind.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I concur. By the way, here's an update:

Ann Coulter is now claiming that "Shysters" claiming to be Tea Party types are trying to hurt the GOP and she specifically mentions Cruz's Senate Conservative Fund. LINK.

This is from Newsmax:

Ann Coulter says she supports the tea party but isn't convinced all the people who claim the title are legitimate.

"There are shysters," the conservative author said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "Don't trust anyone saying they are trying to defeat 'establishment Republicans.'"

"Of course, I love the tea party," Coulter said, but she limits them mostly to people in the "heart of America" who want to see change. She said tea party groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund are just trying to bilk donors.

Rather than focusing on defeating Republicans, the tea party should focus on getting a majority in the Senate, Coulter said.

"If it weren't for shysters running against 'establishment Republicans,' we would have 51 Republican Senators right now," she told host Sean Hannity. "One big election this year, and we would have a veto-proof majority. So thank you, shysters and con men."

Repealing Obamacare should be the tea party's main goal, Coulter said.

"Keep your eye on the ball. It is going to wreck the country," she said, adding that the healthcare law will not, as some Republicans believe, fall of its own weight.

"Public education sucks, and that hasn't fallen on its own," she said, and neither have the subway system, airport security, or the Internal Revenue Service.

For the record, I'm glad that Ann sees this and I hope she understands it. I will, however, point out that she's been very guilty of this herself for about a year now. In any event, add this to the list of evidence of a sea change on the right.

Predictably, Coulter gets smeared in the comments something fierce as the general consensus there is that the only enemy is RINOs.

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