The Tea Party is revolutionizing the current Republican Party – the third revolution since 1964 – a true battle for the sole of the Republican Party.
The GOP had lost its sole with the Great Depression and New Deal. The elections of 1930, and especially 1932, decimated the GOP. Democrats controlled the White House, Congress, Governorships, and state legislatures by landslide margins.
Elected Republicans tended to be “Me too, but less so.” The Party was controlled by moderates, mostly from the East and Midwest. The only successful Republican Presidential candidate between 1928 and 1972 was General Eisenhower, a war hero. Ike had no intention of rolling back the New Deal. Even if he wanted, the democratic majorities in Congress would have prevented it.
Yet, sooner or later a backlash will develop.
The first revolution in the Republican Party against the eastern establishment was in 1964. An obscure, conservative Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, wrestled the Republican nomination for President away from the establishment’s anointed nominee, first Governor Nelson Rockefeller then Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania. The West, Southwest, and Rockies temporarily seized control of the GOP from the eastern moderates.
Senator Goldwater was pilloried during the primaries as a radical. His statements were used against him.
His famous remark in his acceptance speech was “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” He proposed privatizing social security and selling off the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Then came the general election with President Johnson running as an incumbent with the full weight of the Democratic Party and the media.
President Johnson unleashed a negative campaign portraying the Senator as a radical. One time only, the famous, or infamous, Daisy ad was shown with a little girl picking daisies while a mushroom shaped cloud rose in the background. Goldwater was accused of planning to escalate the war in View Nam. We soon learnt after the election that President Johnson was planning all along during the election to escalate View Nam after the election. LBJ ads proclaimed about Senator Goldwater “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”
President Johnson not only crushed Senator Goldwater, but also Republicans across the board in national, state, and local elections were defeated. Once again the Democrats emerged with overwhelming majorities in Congress. President Johnson was able to enact his Great Society program.
Out of the detritus of the Republican Party a voice arose. An actor broadcast a speech, "A Time for Choosing,” for Senator Goldwater during the campaign. The actor’s name was Ronald Reagan. He was elected governor of California, but had to wait his time on the national stage.
Former Vice President Richard Nixon was elected President in 1968, but mainly as a backlash against Viet Nam. President Nixon may have been a conservative at heart, but he had to govern as a moderate because of the large Democratic majorities in Congress.
Watergate again provided landslide Democrats majorities in Congress. The Democrats elected Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976 as their successful candidate for President. He proved singularly incompetent.
The true conservative, Governor Reagan, was elected President, bringing into office with him a majority of Republicans in the Senate. He was branded with the same extremism charges as Senator Goldwater. President Reagan governed as a conservative. The Goldwater Revolution was fulfilled with President Reagan.
His mistake, if it was one, was selecting George H.W. Bush, a pillar of the eastern establishment, as his Vice President. The establishment arose like a Phoenix from the ashes when Bush was elected President.
Governor George H. Bush was elected in 2000. The second President Bush was much more conservative than his father, but with Republican control of Congress, unleashed a flood of spending.
The Obama Administration, in a little over 1 ½ years in office, has quasi-socialized the country, allowed Congress to, in paraphrasing one of President Reagan’s comments, spend “like a drunken sailor,” raised taxes, and let loose an epidemic of regulations.
Candidates are determined in party primaries, by liberals in Democratic primaries and conservatives in Republican primaries. The Democrats have Blue Dog Democrats and the Republicans Rinos, but this year is different.
An aroused electorate is reacting to not only the Obama Administration but also the political establishment in general.
Compromise and moderation is no longer on the agenda in republican primaries. Barry Goldwater’s admonition that moderation is not a virtue has become a key marker for the Tea Party.The Tea party movement has defeated the establishment’s favorites in Senate primaries in Alaska, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, and Utah. The Democrats and the mainstream media are portraying many of these candidates as unelectable because of their extreme views. November will tell.
Even after the election results, more heads may fall in the Republican establishment. After the Republican defeats in 2008, following major Congressional losses in 2006, the young, conservative Republicans in Congress ousted their Congressional leaders with the exception of House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, who was allowed to remain in office. Republicans are exceedingly unhappy with his recent comments about supporting the extension of President Bush’s tax cuts to the middle class, but not the wealthy, which includes small business, the generator of jobs in America.
Goldwater, Reagan, Tea Party - It's the same revolution,seeking a smaller government footprint on Americans.