The Rise of the Third Party
I have long criticized the calls of many disaffected conservatives for a third party and I maintain that position. The closest I have come to calling for a third party is to encourage tea party activists to take over the GOP from within.External third parties are not, in my mind, a solution to anything, but a great enabler of Democrats.Notwithstanding my opinion, I believe the GOP, should it adopt Mitch McConnell’s Pontius Pilate Act, will be sowing the seeds of its own destruction.In short, a vote for McConnell’s Pontius Pilate Act will cause a serious third party problem for the GOP. And we’re already seeing signs of it.The best recent example is in New York. The Democrats fielded a “tea party” candidate and many disaffected voters voted for that guy as a protest vote. Consequently, even with all the other problems in the race, Democrats were able to capitalize on discord within the GOP — discord and distrust the GOP could not shake.The McConnell Pontius Pilate Act is a clever way to kick the can down the road with McConnell gambling that he can become Senate Majority Leader and possibly, just possibly, have a Republican President in the White House.The problem is the GOP, with McConnell in charge, showed no propensity to solve the problem the last time the GOP had all the power. More so, voters who sent Republicans to Washington in 2010 sent them there to do two things: (1) get rid of Obamacare and (2) hold the line on federal spending — the first of which they have failed at spectacularly.In Washington, McConnell is being greeted as a hero. In the heartland, he is viewed as one of those Washington politicians who have gotten too comfortable to make tough decisions. Tea Party activists see the McConnell Pontius Pilate Act as an example of everything wrong with Washington. The debt will go up. Another commission to be ignored will be created. Cuts will come from growth rate of programs and accounting gimmicks, not actual cuts.The politicos within the Republican Party who have taken up residence in Washington have lost touch with their constituents. The tea party activists are angry. No amount of sleeping on their office couches can rehabilitate a Republican Party that keeps insisting on driving up debt without significant cuts in spending.If the House and Senate GOP pushes McConnell’s plan, many of the activists who helped the GOP in 2010 will be helping a third party in 2012. It’ll hurt the GOP’s Presidential candidate. It’ll hurt the Senate candidates. It’ll hurt the House candidates. It will hurt the Republican Party and embolden the Democrats.In short, Mitch McConnell’s play may be good for him personally, but it will be suicide for the Grand Old Party and most of them don’t even see it coming.