Me: *voices dissenting or unpopular view of a Tea Party view*
TP member: That’s stupid.
Me: Okay….why is that?
TP member: What are you a liberal plant or something?
That is a summary of a conversation I had last night, just in case anyone wonders why I’m starting to get tetchy about the Tea Party these days. If these next two elections cycles end in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to “ideologicaly purity” zealots (libertarian or Tea Party, tbh) I may actually give up politics, switch back to writing fantasy novels and awkwardly wooing pretty girls. We need a few wins under our belt before we have leeway for irrational debates on who is more ideologically pure. Grow the fuck up and realize that the long game, the game where we actually win and make a difference (because I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me that an executive and legislative branch of liberals is more appealing to you than one full of moderate Republicans), takes some form of adult compromise. If you can’t produce a real argument when you disagree with someone, then shut the fuck up. I don’t have time for your crap, neither does the current election cycle.
Maybe you are sick of “settling” for candidates and representatives and senators who are less than 100% in line with your views, but I have to tell you that I would rather have 100 Senators who agree with me 70% of the time than have 100 Senators who agree with me 0% of the time.
I’m also a sick and tired of losing.
What has that gotten us?
Nothing but grief, that’s what.
Remember that debt ceiling debacle this year? The one where we could have secured the Keystone Pipeline along with the debt ceiling going up? The one where certain Republicans refused to even consider raising the debt ceiling. This, as a friend of mine put it, left us with three options.
(A)Bring the debt ceiling/Keystone budget to the floor have it fail (because no Democrat was going to cross the line) and have his party look even worse for failing to get a bill out when they actually control the House and then have to move to B or C anyway.
(B) Offer nothing, have the government shut down again and have the Republican take the blame, again.
(C) offer a clean debt ceiling raise that will pass the House and only hurt the GOP with the ideological fringe but doesn’t hurt them in the all important moderate/independent vote.
Because the ideologically pure wouldn’t compromise to get something they wanted, they forced Boehner to make a call that gave the party nothing they wanted but hurt the party the least.
Had the ideologically pure compromised they could have sent it to the Senate and there the Democrats will either take the blame or pass it and force Obama to take the blame or pass it.
Because they refused to compromise they left us with no good options.
As usual, in the above situation, the “establishment” Republicans like Boehner took the fall for the mulishly stubborn and downright childish behavior and refusal to compromise that “ideologically pure” House members gave us.
What the Tea Party seems to be failing to understand it that, outside of red states and years when we hold majority standing, the only place ideological purity and failure to compromise has in this world is in the world of Academia and bloggers and pundits pontificating from their high horses.
In the end the attitude we end up getting from much of the Tea Party comes off as “If I can’t have everything exactly my way, we might as well just let Liberals fuck everything up for everyone” which really just exhausts me.
Rationality, compromise, and pragmatism are important parts of politics…maybe more important than ideology and firebrands. If you can’t win an election then it doesn’t matter what your ideology or grand plan is, it means Jack Shit to anyone not reading your blog.
You heard it hear first. Put on your big girl panties, man the fuck up, and learn how to win.
After we do that we can beat the shit out of each other over who is the most conservative.
Until then there is only ONE enemy and (with the exception of asshats like McCain and Graham) it isn’t those with an R next to their name.