Thursday, July 29, 2010

Messy Politics

Tea Party members in Missouri are hopping mad at Minnesota Republican Michelle Bachmann for endorsing incumbent Congressman Roy Blunt in his reelection bid. So much so, that they are questioning her credibility as a Tea Partier, despite the fact that she created the Tea Party Caucus in the House. The piece's money quote is from a Tea Party statement about the endorsement:
The Tea Party is not the Republicans to claim. This is the citizen's movement and we will not stand for any politicians to try to use us for their own political gain.
Blunt, who is running against 18 other candidates on the ballot, voted both for the TARP stimulus package and Cash for Clunkers, so one can imagine that he's not their favorite. Blunt skipped the state's first Tea Party rally in April 2009, and has since not been invited to any other. Blunt is expected to win his party's primary without much trouble.

If Blunt wins the primary, what then for the Missouri Tea Partiers? Do they pack up their stuff and sit out the election, risking that a Democrat might actually win? Do they endorse a write-in candidate who more closely reflects their warped, twisted, largely racist view of America, which could split the GOP vote and help Blunt's Democratic opponent? Do they publicly walk away from their heroine, Bachmann, undermining their credibility by losing a key connection in the Congress? If the Tea Party truly upheld the values implicit in the quoted statement above, then it would follow that they would probably distance themselves from the Republican Party, since the Republicans, in general, have never been known to adhere to any sort of creed other than the total defeat of the Democratic Party.

No, my guess is that they'll drink the Blunt Kool-Aid and eventually endorse him. Blunt, in a gesture of goodwill, will show up at a rally, endure a few catcalls, and say a number of red-meat-style things that will fire up this bloc of voters, solidifying their quasi-relationship. I don't think the Tea Party could afford to piss off Bachmann in any way, because, as a Republican populist, she's just going to get behind whatever movement supports her continued reelection.

When Palin endorses Blunt, by the way, the die will be cast.

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