The Winger/Teabagger/Birther/Tenther fringe has become the new base of the party, and they have decided to purge anyone and everyone remotely sane from their sight.
Whether it’s the loose confederation of Washington-oriented groups that have played an organizational role or the state-level activists who are channeling grass-roots anger into action back home, tea party forces are confronting the Republican establishment by backing insurgent conservatives and generating their own candidates — even if it means taking on GOP incumbents.
“We will be a headache for anyone who believes the Constitution of the United States … isn’t to be protected,” said Dick Armey, chairman of the anti-tax and limited government advocacy group FreedomWorks, which helped plan and promote the tea parties, town hall protests and the September ‘Taxpayer March’ in Washington. “If you can’t take it seriously, we will look for places of other employment for you.”
“We’re not a partisan organization, and I think many Republicans are disappointed we are not,” added Armey, a former GOP congressman.
The Club For Growth folks long ago decided to destroy the federal government's ability to function and do to America what they have already done to California. The Fringers have decided that any Democratic government is not legitimate. Together, they've decided that the first people up against the wall are the people who failed them in 2006 and 2008.
After all, the GOP had one lousy job, and that was to make sure they kept America so perpetually ignorant of reality and so constantly afraid of the Democrats that the anti-government folks would be able to permanently dismantle the country and sell it for parts under everyone's noses.
Sadly, they were too good at it, and managed to dismantle the government a little too quickly for everyone's tastes, the resulting financial disaster from lack of oversight followed up by a multi-trillion dollar bailout was too much for people to take.
They can't do much right now about Barack Obama and those massive Democratic margins in Congress. They can however rid the Republican Party of anyone who isn't a race-baiting fundie know-nothing Dominionist.
And this is why I'm not particularly worried about Democratic losses in 2010. The Republican candidates who will make it past the primaries are simply going to remind the rest of us just how insane these people are. The country club wing of the GOP has been playing these guys for fools since Reagan. Payback is going to be a bitch.
“I think it was a bad, bad political decision,” Armey said of the 34 Senate Republicans and 91 House Republicans who voted for the TARP bailout, “and if you talk to grass-roots activists, it has become a political test for them.”
Moylan agreed that TARP is “really kind of the flash point that started all of this.”
“People are paying attention and are willing to hold these people accountable,” he said.
For some, supporting insurgent campaigns or waging primary bids just isn’t a strong enough signal to send to a Republican Party that has abandoned core conservative policies.
Erick Erickson, founder and editor of the influential conservative blog RedState, has urged tea party activists to “put down the protest signs” and stage takeovers of local Republican parties.
“Grass-roots activists need to start infiltrating the party,” said Erickson. “The only way to start getting [the establishment] back is to start pounding them with every fist we have.”
But, as Digby wisely warns:
They have a perfect right to try to move the Republican Party further to the right even though the party was just rejected in favor of a man and a party they portray as being far left. I guess they are convinced that the country really wanted a right wing fascist so they accidentally voted for a left wing socialist instead. Hey, it could happen to anyone.Better have something to show the voters back home, boys. A health care plan would be nice for starters.
The old saw is that a party has to be out of power for at least a couple of cycles before they settle down and realize that their schtick isn't playing.
Meanwhile, the Democrats need to get something tangible done for the citizens or these teabaggers might actually start making sense to people.