Well, it is nearly tax day; tea-partiers are gathering in every corner of our nation to rally against big government, high taxes and run-away national debt. The days of tea-party dominance in conservative TV news coverage are long gone. It appears the Republican party establishment may have successfully squashed the tea-party faithful in a quest to coronate a waffling Massachusetts-moderate as the GOP challenger to Barack Obama in November. But, wait ...is this the case? ...or is the media simply ignoring a brewing storm?
Mitt Romney is leading in the polls in his bid to become the next GOP nominee in the 2012 presidential race. It is no mystery how Romney has been able to garner so many endorsements and votes over the past five months: the amount of spending on behalf of Romney by his super-PACs and Romney's campaign is unprecedented, his favor with the GOP party leadership and conservative media outlets is long established, and he's been actively campaigning for the job since 2007. But how does all of this bear on his chances in November? There are troubling indicators; yet, close analysis of Romney's potential against Obama seems to be lacking. Is the conservative news media simply being lazy?...or are they content that Romney's political machine and big-money donors are sufficient to overcome his deficits? The fact that nearly every other contender in the GOP nomination battle has been operating on shoe-string budgets resulted in fewer negative attack-ads against Mitt Romney, but the distrust of Romney by a large number of voters in the conservative GOP party base is not a secret. The base is not happy with this choice. Tea party members are scratching their heads: How did we end up with the least fiscally conservative candidate? ..or did we? ..can we stop him? ...what are our options?
Mitt Romney has had a number of missteps on his path to the GOP nomination. He's made statements indicating he doesn't "care about poor people," that "corporations are people," and that he "likes firing people." Most of his misstatements are taken out of context, of course, but that isn't particularly relevant. The Democrats will use any statement to skewer their opponent. For Democrats it is not about informing voters, it is all about winning the fight, by any means necessary. This ad (above) produced by the Democratic National Committee has been played over 400,000 times since November of 2011. Democrats are painting a picture of Romney in the minds of voters that he is out-of-touch, untruthful and will say anything to be elected. The images here are chilling. Romney is not a particularly likable candidate. Why does the RNC believe they can win with this man?
Meanwhile, grassroots tea-party organizations are in disarray. The tea party has always been a disorganized collection of multiple groups of individuals pushing for restrained government spending and responsible fiscal policies in government. Early on, it was suggested that the power of the movement lied in the fact that they were not a typical political party, that they were just concerned citizens speaking out. Many in Republican party leadership were quick to embrace the tea-party movement. But, has the whole thing fallen apart? Is this lack of organization precisely why the choice of GOP nominee by tea-party members has been so divided? ...is it why they are being ignored by conservative media and those in leadership in Washington, D.C.? Did the GOP establishment work to keep tea-party activists out of the political process?
A storm is on the horizon. An increasing number of conservative voters who call themselves tea-party-members, are disgusted at the process on display in the GOP nomination battle. Voices of average citizens seem to be drowned out by pundits and journalists who appear to be directing the outcome in this race as they ignore contenders and promote Mitt Romney as the inevitable GOP nominee. This did not begin only recently, but has been going on since the earliest contests. Romney has been declared the winner by pundits and GOP party operatives in many primary battles and caucuses long before any votes were cast. Tea-partiers watch this play out daily on cable news, as they sit helplessly, wondering: how did this happen? ..do they not want my vote?
What is even more disturbing to tea-party faithful are the negative characterizations of political figures who appeal to tea-party members and glowing endorsements of Mitt Romney to the exclusion of all other GOP contenders that are becoming routine among those in the GOP establishment:
- Carl Rove has routinely criticized Palin, Perry, Cain and other tea-party favorites
- Britt Hume has lashed out at Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the GOP nomination battle
- Charles Krauthammer has criticized Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, and Jim DeMint
- Programs like Fox News' The Five and Fox and Friends appear to show favoritism to Romney
- Ann Coulter has been openly campaigning for Romney since the process started
- Dick Morris has endorsed Mitt Romney
Distrust is the process is very real. The line drawn between the ordinary folks and those pulling the strings in Washington, D.C. and conservative media has never been more stark. The GOP establishment has not only dismissed the concerns about Mitt Romney by the tea-party, but they are now completely ignoring them. They feel this nomination battle has ended, even though Romney has not reached the 1144 delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination. The tea-party is scrambling .. how will they proceed?
There is no mathematical path to the GOP nomination for any candidate other than Romney prior to the convention in Tampa in August, but Romney does not have the 1144 delegates sealed up at this point, so there is a way to stop his nomination before the convention and bring the vote to the convention floor. The only way that will happen is if the tea-party along with other conservatives unite to stop Romney.
Tea-party members are feeling disaffected; they do not feel they've played a role in this process. They see our deficits soaring above $15 trillion and anxiety is growing. How can we send a big-government establishment type to D.C. in this environment? We can't survive economically without swift and dramatic action to cut government spending.. so why are we choosing a candidate who authored the blue-print for the most expensive and intrusive entitlement program to date: Obama-care?
The time is short, but the consequences of our choice are enormous. Will the tea-party rally and change the course in the GOP nomination battle? .. we'll soon find out.