If you secretly might enjoy a bit of Tea Party schadenfreude, you will surely enjoy how the Tea Party tail is wagging the GOP dog in the primaries.
The Tea Party tail of the beast is resulting in Newt Gingrich’s surge in Florida after he already took South Carolina. Florida going for Gingrich would be an epic disaster for the Republican Party. They cannot afford to have Newt Gingrich as their nominee.
The latest trouble started when the presumed winner of the Republican nomination, Willard Mitt Romney, was no longer the presumed winner. Not only did a recount take away his Iowa win (Santorum, the other “conservative,” won but the establishment called it a tie), but he lost in South Carolina to Newt Gingrich of all people. Since South Carolina has been the apparent bellwether for the Republican nomination for a while now, this is supposed to be significant.
Personally, I didn’t find it all that significant because it was entirely predictable, but then, I’ve spent time in South Carolina recently and I’m well aware that the state is controlled by Fox News under the seeming guise of Christianity. Insert your maniacal laughter here.
And that was before the Attorney General declared that there had been dead people voting in the Republican primary. We’re not sure yet if this was claimed in order to prove that Republicans are the folks committing voter fraud or he was just trying to bring Gingrich’s win into question to appease Governor Nikki Haley who took another hit she could ill afford in the political capital department after betraying her Tea Party base by endorsing Mitt Romney. Stay tuned for the resolution of this claim, if in fact it can be proven. This is, after all, South Carolina.
Perhaps the AG made this claim at the suggestion of a desperate Republican establishment, who just so happen to be the same crowd in the state who recently had their voter ID law blocked by the federal government. I ask you, would you want Newt Gingrich as your front-runner?
But the Tea Party cart is driving the establishment in Florida now, with polls showing that Newt Gingrich is leading Romney by 8-9 points. This wasn’t supposed to happen in Florida, where rich Republicans from the Villages on the west coast have been financially supporting the Bain Capital Man and where Romney had a better ground organization than Newt. Romney was organized enough to take advantage of absentee voting and early voting. He was presumed at a huge advantage in Florida.
Romney is also neck in neck with Gingrich in the national Gallop daily tracking poll. Down goes the establishment.
Our first look at Newt in Florida will be in tonight’s debate. Can he sustain his lead? Apparently all he needs to do to continue his run is to keep taking staged jabs at the media whom he actually adores and cultivates when the cameras are off and in general be as mean as possible. The more African Americans he can insult, the better. If he can get some digs in at poor children, bonus.
As Rmuse discussed here earlier today, in the modern day “Republican Party”, it’s mean-to-win. Mean is the new skin or something. Last time, they had Sarah Palin to dress mean up or down, as it were. She hid the mean with tantalizingly sexual outfits and winks. This time, they have Newt Gingrich pulling a Palin but without the (alleged) charm or the looks.
I don’t expect this to mean much right now, but when all is said and done, if mean is the new skin to win, the Republican Party is in deeper trouble than they know they are, but naturally not as deep trouble as they deserve to be.
One thing they cannot afford to have happen is for Southern Christians to have a crisis of conscience that awakens them to the ugliness of the modern day Republican Party. If this happens, the only people left to vote for the GOP will be the 1% and their party planners.
But the Republicans don’t even have the 1% wrapped up. There are plenty of 1%-ers who realize that a good economy for all is better for their business. Of course, those are the folks who don’t mind earning money the honest way or paying taxes on their income and profit, and they also don’t tend to vote Republican anymore. I suspect it has something to do with deep-seated patriotism that old school Republicans remember as paying taxes because you loved your country and wanted to do your part to sustain her and make her better, way back when Republicans were the party of personal responsibility.
I don’t think much could awaken the Southern evangelical Fox viewer from the propaganda sold to them by Fox and their corporate funded mega churches, but supporting Newt Gingrich just might do it. Sure, they like him now, but they also like Sarah Palin, who shares Newt’s meanness, his ethical problems, his general incompetence, and his negative overall polling with the general electorate. The Republican Party has used the Southern Fox watching “Christian” for years, blaming the liberal media for everything and ginning up the simmering resentment about outsiders and minorities.
But at some point, the good people in the South (and underneath these “beliefs” are generally speaking good people many of whom actually believe in the principles of Jesus Christ) may have that moment of cognitive dissonance that they just can’t make go away. I suspect there are many of them right now who don’t want to vote for Obama but can’t bring themselves to make Newt Gingrich okay.
You’d have to be fairly disturbed to make Newt Gingrich okay. His serial cheating on sick wives and dumping of them while they are sick is bad enough, but his ethical problems as Speaker are even worse in the way that they speak directly about how he conducts himself on the job in government.
This man is not a Christian in deed.
See, the South values taking care of their neighbors, the ill, children, and families in general. These are tenets of southern hospitality and they are genuine. In the South, when someone gets sick, people chip in to help. They know their doctors and the doctors don’t cheer their lack of health insurance. They tend to believe in stewardship of the land rather than raping of the land, at least in areas other than South Carolina. These beliefs are rooted in faith, and they have many positive outcomes (e.g., the coastal shores of neighboring Georgia have been protected from massive development because of this shared value).
How will those beliefs cope with a Gingrich nomination, if that happens?
Is the Republican Party really going to let Newt Gingrich expose exactly how depraved they have become, and how far they have strayed from their alleged values? We will find out this week in Florida.
If they get stuck running Newt Gingrich against Barack Obama, it will be a miracle if they escape without losing even more of their base.
Because, you see, there is a Christian family man in this race, but he is already in the White House. He is not a Socialist, and he is a good man of character by all accounts. Character matters a lot in the South. I suspect that the areas of policy disagreement are so slight as to be negligible were the hatred Fox gins up for the man as a person taken out of the picture.
If the Southern evangelicals ever took a look at Obama’s policies without the spin that dresses them up as big government interference, they would see a person whose values match their own in many regards. Certainly more than Newt Gingrich’s values.
If the Republican Party’s base ever figures this out, the Republican Party is doomed.
Image: Bellwhether Leadership