The Bandwagon Fans of the Tea Party
The state I live in eats, sleeps, and breathes college football. People wear their teams’ jerseys proudly and display their flags saluting their favorite team from their cars. Several of the teams in the state enjoy quite a bit of national notoriety for the the quality of their football programs. One in particular is notorious for something else as well though. They are infamous across the state for their bandwagon and impossible to please fans. These are the fans that are with the team when they are winning and the loudest and most irrational critics when they lose. Even more annoying, they criticize and finger-point when they don’t feel like their team won by enough points or did not execute a particular play well. They will completely ignore a massive win, and rehash all the negatives in an unproductive way.
You may ask what all this has to do with politics. Enter the Tea Party 2010. Up until they arrived on the scene, the GOP was on life-support. They had largely abandoned their conservative roots (with the exception of a few) and those who were still staunch conservatives (Jim DeMint and others) were marginalized and pushed to the side. They were on a continuous losing streak. Remember the cover of Time magazine anyone? No one thought they had a chance to make any gains in 2010 at that time. Some were writing them off for the next decade or more.
Then the Tea Party came along and breathed new life into the GOP. Suddenly people were listening to them again. They had the people’s hear and the people were liking what they were hearing. The establishment GOP did not know what to think of this phenomenon. It was so new to them, so grassroots, so of the people. They had forgotten that they worked for the people and that the people did not work for them.
The conservative wing of the GOP embraced the Tea Party and begin to support them. The others either tried to villify them or make plans to “co-opt” them. The day of the big game arrived yesterday and the GOP made huge gains and ended up winning. They won 65+ seats in the House and Senate combined. They ousted Democrat House members who had been career politicians. The North Carolina state legislature went GOP for the first time since the 1800′s. The GOP won governors’ races in states that were carried by Obama in 2008. They even picked up his old Senate seat in Illinois. No one would have predicted this in 2008.
Given this historic win, imagine my surprise when I clicked on Red State for my morning briefing and saw that some people who were commenting on some of the blogs were harping on the seats that were not won and throwing the Tea Party under the bus. Now I understand that some of these people who were commenting were trolling. Given the pounding they received, what else can they do but try and cause discord among conservatives. But this post is not for the trolls, it is for those who are either part of the old school establishment (go along to get along crowd) or who are the bandwagon fans of the Tea Party. I would imagine that most are a combination of the two.
I am encouraging this group of people to not in the same breath take credit for the seats that were won and blame the Tea Party for the ones that were not. You cannot love us when we win and hate us when we lose. You are criticizing the Tea Party in an unproductive manner for not executing every play perfectly when we won the game, so to speak.
Note that I am referring to criticism in an unproductive manner. The definition of which would be hitting the panic button and pointing fingers every which way. Objective analysis is what will move us forward. Looking to what we can improve, instead of taking a negative tone. For instance, what could we do better in a race like Angle’s in Nevada the next time around? I suggest providing experienced and successful campaign managers to our candidates and never underestimating the power of a union-backed political machine.
We even learned a valuable lesson in DE. We learned that ousting a RINO is admirable and the right thing to do under the circumstances that existed there. BUT it is much better to have some one who can both beat the RINO and the Marxist in the first place. We learned that we must fully vet our candidates and ensure that they will represent us and our ideas well. That is the responsibility of you and I. You can have a great message, but a subpar messenger. We had the message part right in DE, but the people could have chosen a better messenger. We needed someone who could win the 2nd half of the game, not just the first. We learned our lesson, we will correct our mistakes, and we need to move on. Too much is at stake.
Now is the time to unify both the conservative wing of the GOP and the Tea Party. No more bandwagon fan behavior, it is time to become a full fledge, all-out loyal fan. I myself was a member of the conservative wing of the GOP and I have decided to join these brave men and women in the Tea Party and stand with them in unity. We will have disagreements, and that is fine. But let’s make them productive and not an exercise in the blame-game. I hope that the old establishment GOP will join us too. I hope that they will remember why they came to Washington in the first place. Maybe the Tea Party candidates that won yesterday can help them remember.
Remember that we won an important game on Tuesday, but we have many more games to win in this political season. It will take all of us to continue the winning streak.