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UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 6: Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli speaks during the Virginia Republicans' election night party in Richmond, Va., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
That didn't work out so well.
On the surface, last Tuesday's election results could not have been considered a good result for the radical faction of the Republican Party. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who earned the ire of conservatives everywhere by embracing President Obama and praising his handling of the tragedies surrounding Hurricane Sandy, coasted to an easy re-election in a blue state against an underfunded Democrat, State Senator Barbara Buono. Meanwhile, further down the Atlantic coast in the purple Commonwealth of Virginia, the severely conservative Ken Cuccinelli, who was known primarily for his extreme views on social issues and his campaign's fervent opposition to the Affordable Care Act, lost his gubernatorial bid to Democratic fundraiser and operate Terry McAuliffe. Even worse for the tea party faction, the Republican primary in Alabama's 1st Congressional District was won not by ultra-conservative tea party darling Dean Young, but rather by the more orthodox candidate Bradley Byrne, who received the bulk of establishment and business support.

In short: an overwhelming victory in a Northern blue state by someone who had literally embraced the president; a defeat in a Southern purple state by a hardcore conservative to an uninspiring Democrat in an off-year election; and a primary victory in a solid-red district by an establishment Republican against an insurgent conservative birther. Seems like the tea party crowd would be chastened, right? Wrong, as you'll see below the fold.

As Chris Cilizza and Aaron Blake noted, Governor Christie won among women voters in his state. Dave Weigel indicates that he also became the first Republican since 1998 to win among Latinos. Now, given the fact that the chief demographic issues that hamper Republican chances at winning elections are glaring weaknesses among women and Latino voters, it might seem that conservatives everywhere, even those who don't like Christie, might bite the bullet and see his electoral and political strategy as a model to use for the future. Instead, however, the conservative base is choosing to engage in its own deluded form of confirmation bias—seeing a narrower-than-expected loss as a genuine win, and modeling an entire political strategy out of it:

“You can win a referendum on Obamacare,” said Baker. “That’s a lesson of this race.”

When conservatives start to plot for 2014, that’s the lesson they’ll internalize. They will not be told, by “the establishment,” that they fought on a losing issue, with a candidate who ran 12 points behind his own 2009 statewide vote, in a party that threw away elections because they didn’t nominate moderates. Not at all. Party Chairman Pat Mullins told revelers that Terry McAuliffe’s 48 percent of the vote gave him “no mandate,” and that the “referendum on Obamacare” should shock the other side.

Ken Cuccinelli, in his last foreseeable speech as a candidate, insisted that this was true.  “Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million,” he said, “this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare.”

“Run for Senate!” yelled a voice in the crowd.

The strong likelihood, of course, is that this narrative simply isn't true. Geoff Garin, who served as pollster for the victorious Terry McAuliffe campaign, said that Cuccinelli's campaign line about being the first attorney general in the nation to sue to stop the Affordable Care Act was actually an electoral loser. Meanwhile, exit polls indicate that only about a quarter of voters in Virginia saw the law as their top issue, and of those, a bare plurality supported Cuccinelli. But none of that will end up mattering: the tea party activists who have decided that opposition to health insurance reform is the hill that they will die on will hang onto anything that could help support what they so desperately want to believe. And in the case of the Virginia race, the radical narrative will be that the party establishment stabbed Cuccinelli in the back by refusing to fund his campaign to adequate levels. As Markos Moulitsas notes, however, the establishment did invest heavily in Cuccinelli through the Republican Governor's Association, but the candidate himself simply couldn't raise the cash:
Recriminations are flying fast and furious in the right over last night's loss, with conservatives declaring themselves the victims of a brutal abandonment by their establishment. Democrat Barbara Buono can make that argument in New Jersey. Conservatives in Virginia cannot. The RGA spent over $8 million in the race, including $3 million in direct contributions, while the RNC threw in another $3 million. Now Cooch was a shitty fundraiser—raising just $12 million to McAuliffe's $28 million. So yes, Cuccinelli was outspent, but not because the establishment abandoned him, but because he couldn't do something Republicans never have a problem doing: raising money in a state with no contribution limits.
But as Frum says, that counterargument is not conclusive, and there is a pre-existing narrative in the minds of tea party activists that the party establishment is weak-kneed and does not want to support true conservatives; the stories about Cuccinelli being underfunded will only feed that narrative even further, and the fact that the Republican Party has lost five Senate races that they likely would have won with less extreme candidates does not provide any counterweight. Perhaps a blowout loss by Cuccinelli would have changed this narrative to some degree and reduced the ideological fervor behind the rehabilitation of his electoral strategy; but even then, the Dolchstoßlegende narrative regarding establishment support could have continued on unabated.

In short, the tea party faction will come away from the 2013 elections seeing no reason to not continue its challenge and nominate a "true conservative" in 2014 and 2016. Despite what these election results might have indicated to normal people, the civil war in the Republican Party will continue on unchanged.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How can the "Tea Party" break? (11+ / 0-)

    It doesn't exist.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:22:45 AM PST

  •  Civil war will continue (10+ / 0-)

    Well that's a good sign.

    Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

    by randallt on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:23:27 AM PST

  •  There is a missing point here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urban Owl, Puddytat, a2nite, Sam I Am

    The Republican Conservatives have figured out that electing Republicans who do not agree with their positions is a waste of their time.  It is like Democrats, if the gentleman were still alive and had not changed parties, running Strom Thurman for US Senate; there is not infinite profit to it.

    Also, the Republican conservatives can point out people they did elect, people like Senator Cruz and Senator Paul, by following their strategy.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:24:18 AM PST

    •  re: Paul & Cruz following their... AND LOSING. (6+ / 0-)

      Not sure the pt of your comment, other than it seems to be yet another in the long meta-crapfest that is the 'true progressives' vs. Kos (as in mission statement = Democrats).

      If Strom were the 60th D vote for cloture in the Senate, I don't care how he votes on the merits.  See, Manchin.  If you do not have power, you have nothing but hot air which won't do diddly to enact your agenda. See, US House of Representatives

      Since we don't get to select the candidates for other folks, Ds get what they get.  I'll take reliable D votes, even if some are blue dogs, if that's the only way to get the Speakership and thus D bills to the frakking floor. (Or break McTurtles F---America caucus' obstruction).  Remember, the Congress was D from 2009-2010 and the stim, Ledbetter, ACA etc passed b/c of blue dog votes.

      Yes, they then turned a 2010 loss (due primarily to economic conditions, and yes that was partly their fault bc of undermining the stim size) into a route bc they convinced Ds not fight as D, but the primary electoral victims of that were the blue dogs themselves (who are pretty much extinct in the present caucus).  But for gerrymandering (due mostly to loses at the local not Congressional level and not the blue dogs fault) and SCOTUS gutting the VRA going forward, we'd be poised to retake the House with a more liberal and united D caucus.  

      As frustrating as it is at times, these are truths that must be understood unless liberal Ds just want to become a noisy but ultimately irrelevant rump.

      •  However (0+ / 0-)

        Your point is well taken on a 60th vote.  However, Strom would not have been your 60th cloture vote.  He would only have occupied a space that could have been filled with a real Democrat.  

        The Tea Party folks view centrist Republicans as being much worse than many people here view blue dog Democrats.

        Restore the Fourth! Save America!

        by phillies on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 08:38:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, which is why 'if' (tho I think he actaully (0+ / 0-)

          did help Ds break some Thug filibusters back in prehistoric times (pre-48)).

          And yes on the T/P being more stupid and delusional than most liberal 'purists'.  Bless their pointy little T/P heads. (Its why we have 55 Ds in the Senate rather than only 52 or 50).

    •  Electing Cruz and Paul is a disaster (7+ / 0-)

      for the Republicans if not the Tea Party.  The only thing worse than have a bunch of crazy backbenchers in the house is having high-profile crazies in the Senate.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

      by MadScientist on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:16:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Do So Love Those Senate High-Profile Crazies (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, mumtaznepal, Buckeye54

        clearly demonstrating to the nation how rabid pricks in polished shoes can be so utterly stupid and tone deaf, regardless of their academic achievements and self-certification.

        I enjoy the idea of Rand in detention for the rest of his political career. He is one Libertarian who deserves hundreds of Big Brothers hanging on his every word.

      •  I agree with Eman's earlier comment. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye54, a2nite

        There is NO Tea Party, they are simply a faction of the Republican Party and unless GOP leaders want to expel them, they are responsible for them.

        •  Expell? (0+ / 0-)

          Political Party leaders for the most part cannot expel party members.  Look at the challenges that historical parties have had with David Duke and Lyndon LaRouche.  Look at the issue Lyndon Johnson had with antiwar Democrats. The only way you can de-elect a Congressman of your party is to beat them in an election, one way or another.

          Restore the Fourth! Save America!

          by phillies on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 08:41:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And your point is? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, samddobermann

      It seems to me that you have a phony choice here -- ie, choosing between those who agree with our positions, versus those who don't.  The reality (outside of the world of tea inspired delusion) is that most of us will find ourselves in agreement with politicians in our own party on some issues, and in disagreement on other issues.  

      So the choice is not as simple as you (and the tea partiers) portray it as being, because it isn't black and white, but rather shades of gray.  

      Since seeking complete agreement is impossible, the question then is what is a reasonable criteria for deciding which Democrats to support in primaries.  And I think that the answer (at least for me) is that I would want to support those Democrats whose election will further the advance of progressive causes that I care about.  That means that my support is based on looking at what the area that a candidate seeks to represent is like (red, blue, purple) and what the opposition is (who else is running in the primary, and what is the Republican opponent in the general election likely to be).

      It's not simple, and it isn't always satisfying -- but if the goal is to actually get things done, it beats the heck out of looking for purity.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 05:23:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Christie's electoral strategy (29+ / 0-)

    Christie's electoral strategy is not particularly replicable. It is based entirely on his successful embedding of himself in the corrupt NJ boss system:

    Long before Buono entered a race that no other Democratic contender wanted to come near, Christie had already won the campaign. While the cameras and the social-media feeds and the political pundits focused on Christie’s forceful personality, his often over-the-top comments and his welcoming embrace of President Obama after Sandy, Christie was planting the seeds for his own reelection, Demo­cratic mayor by Democratic mayor, Democratic boss by Democratic boss, Demo­cratic union leader by Democratic union leader. As the ancient Chinese military tome “The Art of War” noted, “Every battle is won before it is fought.”

    Christie won the unofficial support — and admiration — of George Norcross, the South Jersey insurance executive and the state’s most powerful Democrat, by carrying out an overhaul of the state’s higher education system that poured more money into that region. He wooed Democratic-allied construction unions by financing massive transportation projects and backing tax incentives for long-dormant mega-projects in Atlantic City and the Meadowlands. He used his clout to secure approvals for large Port Authority of New York and New Jersey projects in Democratic towns.

    By the end of this campaign, Demo­crats not only endorsed Christie, they lavished him with praise, eager to demonstrate their fealty and well aware that the chances of intraparty punishment were nil. Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who is also a state senator, gave Christie a hero’s welcome — and a parade. Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura took the unusual step of vigorously defending Christie’s debate performance.

    But Christie’s early, old-school “outreach” worked to divide, conquer and dilute the power of the state’s ruling Democrats. Despite the party’s power on paper — 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans and majority control of both houses of the Legislature — Christie’s strategy exploited its divisions and realized its vaunted machinery put power and self-preservation ahead of partisan loyalty.

    You can read the rest of that article here:

    Christie had also formed a deal with Norcross in which he'd not campaign against South Jersey Democrats. The Norcross-owned Democrats are vital to Christie's image of bipartisanship:

    Corrupt boss system that cares more about power than principle + opponent with little name recognition abandoned by that boss system and the national party  + obsequious media

    I'm frankly not seeing how his model is particularly "replicable" or reflective of any shift in tone or policy.

    •  Thanks for an excellent read! (3+ / 0-)

      “The meaning of life is to find it.”

      by ArcticStones on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:35:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Really? It could read this way, too. (0+ / 0-)
      Christie's electoral strategy is particularly replicable, nationwide. It is based entirely on his successful embedding of himself in the corrupt national boss system:
      You don't see that?

      Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

      by SpamNunn on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:41:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Christie is repulsive as a national pol. (11+ / 0-)

      He's a fucking bully. He's not remotely "moderate." He doesn't pass the "want to have a beer with him" test. He'll never pass the "cares for people like me" test. He' the last person on earth that's look like a CnC.

      He's a non-sale to people outside of the northeast. He's a fantasy pick only because all the other GOPer freaks are actually worse.

      •  Even better: evolving narrative is Christie v. T/P (5+ / 0-)

        Pls convince T-liban that he is their enemy.  He is the only Thug with a real chance at winning POTUS in 2016.  

        (Of course, the reality based community knows he is just T-liban-lite, even further RW than Dumbya but with even less self-discipline.  And is firmly in the neocon camp.  What could possibly go wrong?)

        •  just that the republicans, and possibly (0+ / 0-)

          independents are so damn relieved to have a somewhat credible human being in contention as opposed to the crazed lunatic fringe, they could flock to him in droves, and give him more credit than is due.

      •  However, Remember... (4+ / 0-)

        ...that's how Romney got the nod last year, surrounded as he was by a walking freak show.

        If John Ellis Bush gets in, he replaces Christie as the "electable" one. He will be able to swamp the primaries with cash like Romney did.

        Without Bush though, Christie only has to deal with Rubio or Ryan, both of whom he can paint as "creatures of Washington" and sell himself has a reformer.

        And as detestable as the blueblood, Harvard-educated Romney was to the conservs, and although he lost the reddest states (GA, AL, MS, KS, OK, SC)  to either Senator Google or Newt Blingrich he still pulled it off.

        So as much as southerners detest New Yawkers and their Joisey cousins, if they're desperate enought they'll overcome their prejudices.

        One thing you say is worth noting though: Romney was more than willing to say whatever a particular crowd wanted to hear from him. The Massachussetts Moderate turned into Orrin Hatch overnight. Is Christie willing to make similar adjustments? Doubtful.

        Message to Dems: We HAVE to start showing up for Midterms.

        by Jank2112 on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 01:17:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He's a fantasy pick also because... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, chrississippi, slothlax

        ...the ideal POTUS in the view of The Village is a Northeastern state GOP white male who claims to hold some "moderate" positions. Romney? His religious culture was "wrong" is probably what they chuckle to each other over pre-dinner cocktails.

        Because the Village loves to project itself as "the best of all possible worlds."

        Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 03:32:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's not how he is perceived. He is (0+ / 0-)

        seen as someone who can go and talk to many different kinds of people. He has advocated, implying that he has been doing, going out to minority groups and listening, just listening to their concerns.

        He is rapidly becoming the leader of the Republican party. The Repub Governor's Association has $40 million on hand — for him to disperse during the 2014 elections. He IS the establishment choice and support for him will be bought.

        So, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, eat your hearts out. The Candidate has been anointed. And the Tea Party WILL support him.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 02:30:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •   No, the Corporate Center is coalescing. nt (4+ / 0-)

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:30:03 AM PST

    •  As opposed to the corporate TeaParty? Srsly, do (0+ / 0-)

      you pretend the Tea Party was ever anything but a useful corporate tool to make up for how toxic they'd made the Thug brand with BushCo?

      •  They were a useful tool, and they dupe-edly (5+ / 0-)

        supported corporate, but they are not a corporate institution.

        The Tea Party has never been serious and they have not been the impediment to Progress that we are led to believe and that so many are swallowing here. The Tea Party was the Corporate Sponsored Republican attack dog, but they were not the problem. The real impediment was the lockstep Free Markets = Democracy and It's the Economy Stupid! from all serious political players, Right and Left.

        McAulliffe and Christie are not just corporate tools, they are good and useful corporate tools - I mean they're reasonable and piss off their base. They have to be good, right?

        If it were anyone but Terry representing the 'Progressive' side of things I might feel differently, but they screw their base and protect and serve the Center. They are both part of the problem, IMO and I believe they are an ascendent force in politics.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:28:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  k9disc--wish I could rec your comment twice. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

          by Mayfly on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 01:24:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Spoken as someone who obviously forgot 11/2010 (0+ / 0-)

          For whatever reason, you choose to ignore political reality and I suspect have never done the nitty-gritty of electoral politics (at least in a red or purple state).  

          If you did, you'd know the T-liban was a powerfully political organ in those states for mobilizing and turning ouot R votes.  Without the 'insurgency against the Establishment' lies, many R who voted in 2010 would not have showed up then, disgusted as they were by BushCo and TARP and the whole delusion they built to deny why Ds and BO soundly beat them in '08.  Since then, they have taken over many local R orgs thru the simple expedient of showing up, which many country club Thugs don't do bc it would get their hands dirty.  They have merged completely (to the extent they were ever really separate) with the religious-nuts and deluded 'libertarians' to not only control most local Thugs orgs in most states but also the US House of Representatives - which you apparently missed.  

          It is well-documented many Thug Congresscritters will vote against anything BO supports just bc he supports it even if it was their own idea (and I personally know of a few).

          TMac is what he is bc Va is what it is.  It is not a liberal state and a liberal would not have won. See, Webb, Warner, Kane. (And btw, I actually lived there a while too and remember when Robb was the only D who could statewide the state was so solidly Red).

          And spare me the delusion that Ted Cruz is a 'corporate' suit.  I live in Texas.  He beat the corporate suite (Dewhurst) with the T/P, being hugely outspent.  and if you think all but a handful of Ds are the same as Cruz (let alone Gohmert, Bachman, et. al.) I want some of what your smoking.

      •  Maybe This Is Between Corporate Factions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch, k9disc

        I could envision the Koch types not necessarily being in lockstep with Wall Street. Not my specialty though.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:45:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Virginia Tells a Lot about the Tea Party's Current (12+ / 0-)


    Look at the 3 Republican nominees for statewide office. We have three candidates on the statewide ballot in front of identical voters.  And their performance is directly related to their affiliation with and fervor for the Tea Party.

    Attorney General (Obenshein) 49.9%, Too Close to Call
    Governor (Cuccinelli)  45.2%, Lost by 2.5%
    Lt. Governor (Jackson)  44.5%, Lost by 11%

    The dyed in the wool Tea Party guy got crushed.  The slightly crazy guy got beat and the (relative) moderate who at least TRIED to distance himself from the excesses of the Te Party, got what amounts to a tie.

    So in a Purple state, affiliation with the Tea Party hurt in a measurable way.

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:32:01 AM PST

  •  Pre-Broken bunch of John Birch Crackpots. nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, a2nite, Stude Dude, Redfire

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:32:28 AM PST

  •  On Fox today, Christie did a huge tap dance (6+ / 0-)

    around immigration and a path to citizenship as well as gun control.

    He knows the teabaggers are the ones voting in the primary, but he's trying to set himself up as a moderate for the general and it's going to backfire on him.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:33:48 AM PST

    •  Going Back In Time (0+ / 0-)

      Back in 2010, just a few months after Chris Christie became Governor of NJ and long before he realized he would be a Presidential contender, he said a few things about the immigration issue that ultra-conservative (racist) Repulicans may not appreciate:

      "What I support is making sure that the federal government [plays] each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly proces, whatever that process is, for people to gain citizenship."
      It sounds like when he says "for people to gain citizenship" the people in question would be undocumented/illegal immigrants.
      "It's a very easy issue to demagogue and I'm just not going to participate in that."
      So does that mean that Christie believes that the teabag crowd is demagoging the immigration issue?


      Also, way back in 2008, when he was still a federal prosecutor, Christie said the being in the country without immigration paperwork is not a crime but:

      "an administrative matter that federal immigration officials are supposed to address through deportation.”

      "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die." --Senator Ted Kennedy

      by Blue Silent Majority on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 05:11:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll give Christie credit. When he was criticized (8+ / 0-)

    for "the hug" and for praising the Prez he said, paraphrasing, he helped us when we needed help, he kept his promise to help us and he did a good job.  

    He's no dummy.   He knows that sounding reasonable is important.  That's why Cruz and Paul hate him so.  

    Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

    by SpamNunn on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:38:48 AM PST

    •  How's this for (4+ / 0-)

      an alternative hypothesis:

      Christie wrapped his arms around Obama because he knew it'd screw Romney's chances (which were, admittedly, small anyway, but still..) who had the audacity to not pick Christie for VP.  
      Also, it meant that Christie could run 4 years earlier than if Romney had won.

      Christie is a silver-tongued devil, but he has limited bona fides.  He focused on Sandy the way that Juliani used 9/11.  It's all he's got, really. Christies run is going to consist of a noun a verb and Sandy.  Wait.

  •  Before pollsters tell us what (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Virginia race says about the ACA as an issue, they owe us an explanation of how they completely screwed up the pre-election polling.

  •  I would not base a win on... (8+ / 0-)

    dislike for ObamaCare because that will change. Right now, the website has caused a great deal of problems for the Obama administration, which has kept people from finding out if it is something they either want or don't want. Once the website gets past these issues and Americans begin to sign up, popularity will go up and then, Republicans are in real trouble.

    We Democrats need to just be patient enough to realize that we cannot lose, America is growing more liberal and more enlightened over time, a sure loss for a bunch of ignorant Tea Party followers and the political party that has allowed those snakes to take over their camp.

    Rule the Day, Let not the Day Rule You.

    by fidlerten on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:43:28 AM PST

  •  Astroturf only breaks when set on fire (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrismorgan, a2nite, cosette, Stude Dude
    This polyethylene yarn has a melting point in the range of 175°-200

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:46:31 AM PST

  •  Never underestimate them (14+ / 0-)

    No, The Teaparty is not breaking, nor will it. It will increasingly radicalize and attempt to exert power in House elections at both state and federal levels. While they are a minority in numbers, their extremist motivation greatly compensates. The nihilistic chaos they represent should never be underestimated.

  •  It depends. (7+ / 0-)

    Will Democrats cut Social Security next year, by getting a Grand Bargain with Boehner, McConnell, etc?

    If so, then the Tea Party will experience an amazing resurgence.

    Too many plates still spinning to know which ones are going to break yet.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:51:26 AM PST

    •  Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory... (3+ / 0-)

      I also worry about the Democrats making like Neville Chamberlain in 1937 and dealing with the devil, thus allowing GOPers to tell voters that it really was the Democrats who took away your Social Security and not them. Of course, even though they'd have done it to appease Tea Partiers, voters would be right to blame the Dems.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by richardak on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:03:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. I think Harry Reid (oddly enough) (0+ / 0-)

        is both smart enough to see this and trying to prevent it, but since Pelosi has either drunk the proverbial Kool-aid or somebody has goat pictures, I don't know whether Reid will be able to prevent it or not.

        Ah, well. Interesting times.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 07:17:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  NJ would NEVER (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    elect a far right candidate (see Lonegan, Steve). Christie's win in NJ means exactly bupkus for the Tea Party.

    What it DOES mean is that Dems need to worry about moderate Republicans in statewide races.

  •  About the Alabama primary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, slothlax

    It's not much of a win when establishment and businessgroups throw all their weight behind a candidate, and he ends up beating his opponent, who isn't even supported by TP groups, by a 52-48 margin. What happens when they can't focus on one primary because there are several dozen going on at the same time?

    •  The Koch brothers cam put $1 million (0+ / 0-)

      into EVERY Congressional primary, house and Senate and still have change from a Billion dollar bill.

      And they wouldn't even miss it.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 02:40:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NOT True Conservatives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, slothlax
    But as Frum says, that counterargument is not conclusive, and there is a pre-existing narrative in the minds of tea party activists that the party establishment is weak-kneed and does not want to support true conservatives...
    What I want the trad media to do is to point out, accurately, that the tea party folks are really not "true" conservatives, but reactionaries. But I do not believe that the traditional media has the cojones, or even enough commitment to the truth, to do that.

    Same here, Kossacks: The Tea Party positions are those of reactionaries, not conservatives.

    "True" conservatives are pols like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Gov. Rick Scott. Not a likable lot, but the closest thing to actual practicing conservatives around.

    Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, Louie Gohmert, Rick Perry, et al [add your own] are, by any definition that does not alter the the common understanding of the term, reactionaries.

    Yonder stands your orphan with his gun... Crying like a fire in the sun ~Bob Dylan

    by paz3 on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:57:30 AM PST

  •  The "tea party" never existed in the first place (5+ / 0-)

    Just because right wing groups paid a relatively small number of people to dress in 18th century garb and make believe they all woke up having had the same dream doesn't make it real. This has been a ruse, red herring, ploy, what ever else word along those lines, all along for carefully considered strategic objectives. One was to create the appearance of a faction that the republican establishment could blame but also claim powerlessness against which just happened to be more aggressive than traditional American political decorum would let them. If you're old enough to remember Flip Wilson's "the devil made me do it", you have the republican establishment's refrain in a nutshell. They are all in on it. No two people on earth have the same dream much less at the same time and this has been obviously crafted. What disturbs me more than anything is why the MSNBCs of the world, few as they are, fell in line so easily and unanimously in validating this right-wing ruse as a real political movement that earns its name rather than being called the rabble ruse of the right to manipulate.

    I never bought it and still don't. And secondly, the reason this will never result in a winning strategy is because there is innovative criminality inside and smart people who in the past may have chosen political careers siding with the republicans now pass and become lobbyists or lawyers or just rich executives because the gauntlet they would have to pass through involves processes they know could destroy them if they faced a more aggressive democratic administration. After eight years of Bush-Cheney during which there was nothing to worry about, the election of President Obama and his default to the style of compromise by starting negotiation giving all the way in and then acquiescing to more pressure from the right (or "caving" as it soon became known) tipped the right that this is a babe in the woods who is not even going to recognize clever wrong-doing much less expect it and go after it proactively with a killer instinct.  But nothing last forever and if you've gotten your job by acquiescing to extortion and then turning around and cooperating in it, you're in trouble the moment either the babe in the woods grows up or someone more savvy takes the reigns.

    That gauntlet has filled the republican side of Congress with unqualified people who lack knowledge and thus all they do is block because they haven't the smarts to innovate. The danger though is that all of them are not just unqualified--some are reckless ideologues who could have pushed us off the cliff and that is why the republican establishment is coming to its limited senses about this tea party ruse. It's useless if you destroy the dollar and our creditors call in their loan which we would have to pay off with de-valued currency. They are realizing they let a genie out of a bottle they may not be able to put back in. But the tea party won't and can't just go away. It has to be battled and I see vulnerabilities that are glaring. I hope others wake up to them and take them down. It's too dangerous to let the government be run by the likes of the Ted Cruzes of the world.  

    "Education Is Not the Filling of a Pail, But the Lighting of a Fire" W.B. Yeats

    by RareBird0 on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 11:57:33 AM PST

  •  Learning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    isn't big for these folks. Note the flag they carry.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:06:18 PM PST

  •  Yes, Please!!! to True Conservatives. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, a2nite

    Oh, stay and play, Tea Party folk.  Let your freak flag fly.  Get rid of those RINO fuddy-duddies.  

    The great thing about the Tea Party is that they don't hide what they are.  All of their beliefs are CENTRAL to what the Republican Party is and always has been--at least for the last 40-60 years.  They just can't even pretend to be decent, reasonable people.  Which is great!!  Let everyone see what it means to be a Republican.

    The sad thing in Virginia, is that it does seem rather obvious that the Independent candidate was a spoiler, and the main reason why the Republican candidate didn't win.

    Please, Virginia, start caring about the poor, the downtrodden, the middle class yearning to not be crapped upon.  I suspect Texas will turn bright blue before Virginia does.

    •  I think that most analysts say that those votes (0+ / 0-)

      for the Independent took equally from each party. Sorry, I can't remember where I read this, but I have a few times.

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 02:37:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the Tea Party is acting logically (yes really) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, wasatch, slothlax
    the tea party activists who have decided that opposition to health insurance reform is the hill that they will die on will hang onto anything that could help support what they so desperately want to believe.
    Yes, they are going all out. But what choice do they have? They fear that if they lose this one they're toast ... and they are right.

    So why are we surprised that they lash out with every dirty trick they can? They don't care about the long term. If they lose now, it won't matter to them anyway, because they know this is their last chance.

    That's why I feel they're actually acting completely logically. All their craziness is unlikely to work, sure. But anything else they could do would completely doom them. All this Tea Party nonsense is their Hail Mary pass. If all you have is a slim and unlikely option, it's totally logical to try it.

  •  Real Proof of Tea Party Breaking Is Yet To Come (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Stude Dude, wasatch

    All of this discussion is premature.  The right wing got their people out in Virginia and made an election that, given the GOP ticket, should not have been close, much closer than expected.

    McAuliffe was a flawed candidate and almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Not of this measures Tea Party success or failure.

    In New Jersey Tea Party types do not see Christie as one of theirs, but would support him as opposed to the liberal Buono.   Christie bought his reelection by making deals with labor and powerful Democrats who sold out their own candidates.  I doubt any of this will enhance his reputation among Tea Party extremists in other states.

    Fundamentally, the Tea Party movement is a Confederate movement.  You don't have to be from the Confederate south to win or get their support.  But you sure have to act like one.  That leaves Christie out in the cold.

    The real issue is how much influence will corporate and other traditional GOP money buy in Republican primaries and nominating conventions, to keep Tea Party wackos off their line.  

    That remains an open question.

  •  Nope, they're not going anywhere; they are (0+ / 0-)

    tool, no a weapon for evil rich people.

    The TBAGS are just a more honest version of the increasingly evil, extremist RW bigoted Rs.
    They all want the same thing, an America for evil rich people & their white supremacist minions.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:18:35 PM PST

  •  I hope the Tea Party dies, but with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mwm341, LuvSet

    their dying breath I want them to take the GOP with them.

    Guns are never the principal in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:20:20 PM PST

  •  Psst: They've been having this "debate" (6+ / 0-)

    since 1800 and they're not about to stop. They've called themselves different things over the years but it's still the same anti-government vs. corrupted government debate between crazies and crooks we've had since Jefferson and Burr duked it out for the presidency.

    Fact is, though, that neither faction has ever offered what this country really needs, a workable set of policies that promotes economic growth and social fairness. Neither wing of today's GOP and only one wing of today's Democratic party offers this. So while I appreciate a good political pie fight and hope that it brings the GOP to its knees, what we really need to do is focus on promoting the progressive agenda. That is the ONLY proper way forward.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:31:18 PM PST

  •  Republicans in denial (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Redfire

    I've said it before, I've said it again:

    The last time a Democrat not connected to the segregationist Byrd machine won a Virginia gubernatorial election was 1937.

    And this was a completely uninspiring Democrat at that, who couldn't even dispatch weak primary opposition four years ago. The only thing he had going for him was plenty of money.

    This race should not have been close -- the Republicans should have won in a walk. That a weak Democrat not only made it close but actually won should be considered a major earthquake.

    •  How does Warner fit? (0+ / 0-)

      I can see how Kaine, with a longer local political career, would have ties to the old power structure. But what about an outsider like Warner?

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 07:08:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does that picture remind... (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone else of the first Police Academy movie, or is it just me?

    You know what, Stuart, I LIKE YOU. You're not like the other people, here, in the trailer park.

    by Mithras Angel on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 12:57:29 PM PST

  •  I have been predicting a split for a while now.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As long as the Rs could eek out a win somehow, all of the factions could fell like they were getting something out of it.  But when they can't win, then this marriage of convenience starts to unravel and tensions rise.  The question however is who owns that "Republican" brand.  

    In many states, the crazies have control over the state party apparatus - if the more moderate conservatives want to take the party back, they are going to have to fight for it.  The problem is that the crazies might "win" in some states and lose in others, but the crazies might end up sullying the name of the Republican party so badly that the more moderate Republicans might end up abandoning it.

    I suppose the Republicans could create a TV show about a fictional Republican President.  They could call it "The Right Wing".

  •  here's hoping! (0+ / 0-)

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 01:44:21 PM PST

  •  There is one sense in which the TP view is right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think Cooch picked up votes in the end by whining about Obamacare.  The real problem is that it only got him from X (the percentage of people who supported him as a social conservative) to Y (X+ people who hate Obamacare and aren't already social conservatives), and Y isn't enough to make a difference.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 03:08:50 PM PST

  •  They aren't Listening (0+ / 0-)

    I think that more and more people are getting sick and tired
    of members in Congress that WON'T do a Damned thing.

    No Gun Control Bill. No Immigration Bill. No EDNA Bill.

    No Jobs Bill. A Farm bill with Huge cuts to Food Stamps.

    The ONLY things that are getting done are more restrictions
    on Women's health care and Voter ID laws that disenfranchise
    a large portion of the Electorate.

    They are going BACKWARDS and the Majority is finally
    figuring that out.

    Ignorance and Stupidity are NOT going away any time
    in the Near Future.

    What WE can do is make those Ideas Politically IRRELEVANT
    by putting them in the Minority that they actually are.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 03:45:56 PM PST

  •  we should pray for the delusional, incapacitated (0+ / 0-)

    unfortunates...they'll probably end up en masse in mental wards, recently covered by the ACA mandate, and won't ever realize they're beneficiaries of the program.

    •  Nah, rich people don't end up there (0+ / 0-)

      They go to spas, rehab, or extended vacations -- or to work on Wall St. or K St. Mental hospital wards are only for poor people whose connection to reality is weak.

      •  lol, you're right...silly me (0+ / 0-)
      •  Hi there. (0+ / 0-)
        Mental hospital wards are only for poor people whose connection to reality is weak.
        Umm, no.

        Mental Health Inpatient Care is for folks who are in so much pain that they need full hospitalization. Kinda like being hospitalized for any other disease.

        Says nothing about their "connection to reality", whatever that means.

        My wife may well end up inpatient in the next few weeks. Not because she's "weakly connected to reality", but because she needs a medication tune-up that's most safely and effectively done under 24 observation.

        Please don't actively encourage derogative stereotypes about the mentally ill. We have enough problems.

  •  Sadly, the tea party faction IS the Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    party. According to a recent poll something like 3/4 of rethugs said the teahadists have either just enough or too little control of the party, that is not a civil war, it's the tea party in control. That will narrow the rethug base to the haters and the fux nuz addicted chicken heads, eventually, but not until sometime in the future. For now the tes party is in control, despite what the few remaining semi sane rethugs are mumbling.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 07:27:01 PM PST

    •  Well, there's control by vote, and control by $. (0+ / 0-)

      It takes a lot of votes to control a major political party.
      It also takes a lot of money.

      The TB wing of the party is not a great funding source...

      I suspect that once again, some pigs will be more equal than others.

  •  It's not the Tea Party that's the problem. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, a2nite

    When the "Tea Party" brand is finally worthless, the lunatic fringe will still be there and the money to put that lunatic fringe to work will still be there, it'll just use a different name, or no single name at all.

    The brands may come or go, but the forces that march under the banner are a long term feature of our political system. This is a long term fight.

    We an make this fight as costly as possible for the other side, but we've got a long, LONG way to go before buying power isn't an economic bargain.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Sun Nov 10, 2013 at 07:38:48 PM PST

  •  Screw Christie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So he beat an unknown under-funded under-supported Democrat.  Christie has the gall to say that his only concern right now is to govern NJ and then as his first action he goes on a week long tour of other states.  This is the sort of lying that this man has gotten away with for 4 years now.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 04:50:50 AM PST

    •  I'll pass, if ya don't mind. Not my thing. (0+ / 0-)
      Christie has the gall to say that his only concern right now is to govern NJ and then as his first action he goes on a week long tour of other states.
      So his itinerary doesn't match up with his rhetoric. I don't think this makes him unelectable.

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