Tea Party Hijackers

By on February 18th, 2010

Tea Party Hijackers

February 19, 2010
America, they say, is a red and blue country divided between Democrats and Republicans. Now there is unfolding a civil war within the Grand Ole Party that threatens to marginalize the GOP.
Even though the re-election bid of U.S. Senator John McCain out in Arizona appears to have little to do with politics around these parts, think again. The impact could be huge.
The Tea Party crowd out west has teamed up with conservative radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, and between the two of them they are attacking McCain for not being conservative enough.
In fact, McCain is “an incumbent who calls himself a maverick but in fact is a moderate” who is “teaming with Democrats on key issues,” intones Mr. Hayworth, who is running against McCain in the GOP primary — and could win.
What is this country coming to…a lawmaker has the audacity to be moderate and team with the other party to get things done in Washington?
Here’s the dirty little secret the Tea Party gang has apparently missed: the vast majority of residents in red and blue states actually want the pols from both parties to cooperate. Imagine that!
Poor Sarah Palin. When not writing notes to herself, she is taking Tea Party lumps for working to elect her old running mate.
Are you listening Michigan Republicans?
There is a Tea Party movement in this state, too, and who knows what incumbent they may take on for being too “moderate” and “teaming” with the other side?
State GOP Chair Ron Weiser late last month was rather sanguine about the Tea Party stuff, suggesting it was not an “organized movement that e-mails each other back and forth.”
Asked if it was OK for them to go after McCain, he advised: “They can go after whoever they want.” But, he added, “I don’t think John McCain has any different view than they do.” Obviously, Weiser, back then, was clueless, because he also noted that he didn’t think the T.P. gang was focused on booting McCain out of office.
Mr. Weiser concluded that the movement here “is not going to affect our elections in Michigan.” So much for that.
But what if the Michigan party bigwigs show up at a convention with a slate of candidates for statewide offices and the Tea Party folks find them to be too “moderate” and too willing to “team” with the other side?

Or what if they go after incumbent legislative Republicans who have demonstrated the same malady?
Will Weiser and company sit back and let the minority take over or will he stand up and confront them, thus producing an ugly headline: Mainstream GOP Hijacked by Tea Party Fringe?
Please recall such an incendiary battle years ago when the Pat Robertson for President gaggle refused to make nice with the Michigan GOP leadership who wanted George H. Bush for president. The Rev’s followers argued Bush was not conservative enough for them. Sound familiar?
If it happened once, surely it could happen again. And a divided GOP going into the fall elections is an answer to a prayer from Michigan Democrats, who desperately need a little political manna from somewhere this election cycle.
Tim Skubick is Michigan’s Senior Capitol correspondent and has anchored the weekly public TV series “Off the Record” since 1972. He also covers the Capitol and politics for WLNS-TV6 in Lansing.

Tim Skubick Extra Extra… (A weekly bonus only for Dome readers)

Generation Gap on Nerds
What is a nerd and how do we feel about them? The answers are decidedly different depending on your age.
The 9th grader was sitting at the kitchen table the other night working on geography, and the question was, during a study break, how are nerds viewed in your school?
Without missing a beat, she noted, “They are smart and liked by other kids.”
Wow. If you are over 40-something, that is not the description you would have used.
They were socially out of it. Certainly not a member of the in-clique, which frowned on glasses held together by duct tape, a slide rule hanging down and countless pens protruding from the shirt pocket.
Of course, this generational revelation is important in the context of the Nerd ads that Rick Snyder is imposing on every TV viewer in the state…at least he hopes everyone.
He is in desperate need to up his name ID, so the Ann Arbor business guy has taken a calculated risk by calling himself a nerd for governor — and with the younger set it will probably work.
That’s because they aspire to be rich like other nerds such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Being rich and being nerdy go hand in glove with the younger set, and so the ad works.
However, research indicates that young people don’t vote. Oh sure, they showed up in astounding numbers for Barack Obama, but then they retreated to their ipods and text messaging thing-a-ma-bobs.
In strong contrast, the older folks, who don’t cotton to nerds, vote in larger numbers and may not want a nerdy governor.
It’s a roll of the dice, with Snyder thinking perhaps he can rekindle the Obama generation and get them to the polls in August when most of them will be on the beach soaking up some rays.
Snyder wins with Obama voters…in a GOP primary? Wow, somebody pass the duct tape.
Let’s Raise More Money
Are we truly our brothers and sisters keepers?
The governor showed up to present her new budget, which includes another $500 million in budget cuts, a doctor’s tax, and a sales tax on services.
She explained that her budget was revenue neutral, which is just another way of saying there are no general tax increases in there.
While that is the politically proper stance to take during an election year, believe it or not there were some Democrats who did not like the revenue neutral suggestion.
“If I had my way, I’d raise $1.2 billion,” opined Rep. George Cushingberry from Detroit, who chairs the mighty important House Appropriations Committee. Having said that, he confesses he is not going to get his way because legislative Republicans want no part of anything that even smells like a tax hike.
You’ve heard the GOP mantra, “This is not the time to increase taxes on folks who are struggling.” Of course, for the GOP it is never a good time to raise taxes on anyone (but we digress).
Well, it turns out there was another Detroit Democrat who wants to tax her very own constituents because, she claims, it is the right thing to do.
With the governor 30 feet away and listening intently, Rep. Shanelle Jackson lectured her governor that the “revenue neutral” idea was a bad idea. In fact, she reported that her neighbors are telling her, “We are willing to give a little more if the folks next door can continue to eat or save their home from foreclosure or get into a better job training program.”
“I want more revenue,” she advised the governor, who never responded to the plea.
Betya when the governor meets privately with the Legislative Black Caucus, she’ll get another earful on this more-money demand.
At least somebody is talking the talk and walking the walk about taking care of brothers and sisters who are in dire need.
What’s the old saying, “If not for the grace of God, go I?”

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The Seroktin & Mastin recalls still loom large in Michigan Politics!!! 27 years and counting

Michele Strasz
Michele Strasz

Ask my 14 year old who is running for governor and the only one he knows is the Nerd- Rick Snyder. I hate to think we adults will fall for a clever ad gimmick.


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