Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tea Partiers: A third party where losing is good

THE WORD from the Tea Party front in Florida is not reassuring to fogies who feel that two parties are more than enough. The rebels down among the sheltering palms have filed papers, not to indict President Obama for treason, but rather to create a third party to oppose Gov. Charlie Crist, who is the GOP's choice to run for the Senate. I'm not sure where they got the idea but the Tea Partiers are outraged that Crist is rumored to have hired a retired liberal to fix a leak in his sink without clearing the guy with Glenn Beck.

Such maneuvering to offer the TP's a seat at the table on Capitol Hill should bring joy to Democrats, who may find a way to contribute to the TP's . As we have all been told, 2010 will not be a vintage year for the D's without outside help. With a civil war under way in the GOP, even President Obama might agree to sit down at Fox News to argue that the TP's are merely proud evidence of democracy in action and should not in any way be discouraged. And in what better place to encourage these rebels than in Florida, where there is precedence for rogue alligators lumbering across the residents' backyards?

Besides, who can blame the TP's for being encouraged by their defeat by a Democrat in New York's 23rd Congressional District after forcing the moderate Republican candidate out of the race. The predatory campaign even brought on what is the formative array of conservative immortals to the scene - Sarah Palin comes to mind - to encourage the execution. For them it's not the loss that matters but rather what you insist you've won by losing. It may sound bizarre, but these folks always think of something.

Down in the Sunshine State, they're going after Crist with a guy named Marco Rubio, Florida's House speaker. Rubio has already attained the Holy Grail with the endorsement of the Club for Growth, a mega-rich collection of self-serving political philosophers who would argue that sea waters are rising because the burden of taxes on the affluent is making the globe flatter with each passing day. The club's president is a former congressman from Indiana, Chris Chocola, who once boasted that his old manufacturing business sold most of its stuff overseas. I'm not sure how that will figure into the blitz against Charlie Crist. But we should look for it in clues posted at Tea Party rallies.

Rubio has also won the endorsement of the usual commandos, transient people we've come to recognize from other right-wing stages. That would include ex-Gov Mike Huckabee, and Sens. Jim DeMint and Jim Inhofe, as well as the folks from the forever purifying Family Research Council. They are framing their crusade on the necessity to avoid sending any old Republican to Washington but rather someone we can all trust not to be the neighborhood grocer with a left thumb on the scale.

So far Charlie Crist has survived the third party's assaults, leading Rubio 50-28 in the polls. But by TP logic that losing is winning, , they will doubtless be more inspired by an earlier poll in which the score was 50-35. With those kind of numbers in their tank, it wouldn't be surprising if they extended their reach into other campaigns. If it worked in a heavily Republican district in New York, even South Chicago could be next.

It's quite confusing, I know. But hang on. It will take a little time to figure out the rules of this revolution.

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