Wes Vernon
The "golf with Tip O'Neill" strategy: a winner for the GOP (not!)
By Wes Vernon
January 6, 2014

Question: Why have today's Republicans tied themselves in knots?

Answer: Some of it is their own fault, passing up opportunities to go on offense when justified. But another factor is the influential media demonizes those Republicans who A – stand up for religious freedom ("War on Women"); B – attempt to do something about the $17 trillion debt that our children and grandchildren will inherit (party on! blame "the 1%"); C – enforce the voting laws and immigration statutes ("bigots!"); or D – delay or defeat Obamacare ("you don't care about the sick, pay no attention to our death panels").

Question: But don't conservatives have their own media – Limbaugh, Fox News, et al?

Answer: The "mainstream" media reach about 80% of the electorate. Often it is not so much about what they report as what they ignore – the most insidious form of "media bias."

Question: So have the Republicans always been in this defensive crouch?

Answer: Quite so in modern times, though President Reagan during his eight years in office provided the party some backbone, even though the GOP establishment never liked the Gipper. He wasn't reliably in that "crouch" as you call it. As for Congress, Democrat control became so "normal" that during previous years, House Republican minority leader Bob Michael made a big show of his regular golf outings with Democrat House Speaker Tip O'Neill, much like the humbled puppy dog tagging along to get the crumbs of his master's largesse.

Question: So what's all this flap about the GOP split between the Tea Party and the "establishment."

Answer: To begin with, the Tea Party emerged after President Obama started the process of ramming his Obamacare act through Congress. It was truly a grassroots uprising. Many of their adherents had been simply living their lives, minding their business, with little time for political activism. But when this president came forth with his plan to take over one-sixth of the economy (and a very personal one-sixth at that), they said, "The hell, you say!"

Question: But the Tea Parties have aroused so much hatred for themselves.

Answer: Yes, and what has really driven the left to visceral distraction is that the Tea Party people were so grassroots that they did not elect their leadership or designate any one person as their spokesman, and they even adopted different titles for separate groups. That drove liberals crazy. Why? Because they couldn't put a face on the movement. There was no one individual they could demonize or, as Saul Alinsky advised in his book Rules for Radicals, isolate as the opposition – isolate it, demonize it, destroy it.

Question: But now the Republican Party establishment has turned its fire on the Tea Party, which has "primaryed" some veteran senators, and forced them to face more conservative opponents.

Answer: Right, and straight-up, you can blame (or credit if you're so inclined) the media, academia, and business's natural inclination to play middle-of-the-road politics in their dealings and associations. They are very cautious about offending anyone, at least in public perception. By way of illustration, one couldn't help noticing, that – as more than one GOP Hill staffer privately noted – the one and only solidly conservative U.S. Senator back in the early nineties was Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

Question: So now that the Tea Party has succeeded in getting some of its people in the House and Senate, establishment business groups are fighting back to "primary" Tea Partiers?

Answer: Right, they're spending at least fifty million dollars to defeat Tea Partiers in the primaries. Now, the GOP establishment points out that some Tea Party candidates bombed in 2012. That is true. The Tea Party has indeed made some mistakes, notably Todd Aiken in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.

But during that same election cycle, according to Club for Growth's Chris Chocola and Cleta Mitchell (a politically respected Washington attorney with conservative clients), not all the mistakes were made by Tea Party candidates. They point out some establishment-oriented Republicans lost their races that same election cycle. Their examples include Rick Berg of North Dakota, George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, and Denny Rheberg in Montana.

"That's who they wanted and they all lost," Mitchell told NewsMax.

I don't know what all that proves other than "we all make mistakes."

Question: So where does that leave us?

Answer: There's no crystal ball here. But we must have effective conservative push-back this time around in 2014 and again in 2016. Otherwise, our uphill fight in defending against "the takeover" will be all the more difficult.

Question: You speak of threats against America. Such as?

Answer: Start with a well-funded effort to trash our Constitution by 2020 (See our last column). From there, add the increasing lawlessness on the part of an administration seemingly hell-bent on ruling by executive fiat, ignoring all restraints on its power – not only illegally bypassing Congress and the judiciary, but also cracking down on citizens who openly disagree with its agenda; ignoring threats to our security from expansionist powers and well-armed nations, and enemy infiltration here at home; more curbs on free speech; and an open borders effort aimed at importing a "permanent majority" at the voting booth. All this in addition to a federal condemnation of state requirements to implement voter ID laws aimed at curbing voter fraud. Hmmm, anyone care to guess why Democrats have a problem with honest elections?

We can go on and on. And in the face of all this, the only political entity (whatever its flaws) that stands between us and our nation's final demise is a party too wrapped up in internal warfare to be effective.

Question: Is anything being done to pressure the Democrats to be more "moderate" or "move to the center"?

Answer: This is a joke, right? The Democrats used to have a strong anti-Soviet faction. Within a few years after the sixties counter-culture, that faction was gone. While the Republicans raise money to fight each other, the Democrats are tightly disciplined and sing from one songbook for their hard-left agenda. Obama is simply the natural result of that years-long trend. Starting with FDR, Democrats have been moving us leftward, step-by-step. When Obama came along, he just slammed his foot to the metal and accelerated the trend. Now, it sometimes appears he may not get to the end his term before he reaches his ultimate goal. At that point there will be no turning back. Our enemies – internal, external or both working hand-in-hand – are licking their chops, eagerly awaiting our final downfall.

Question: So what do we do now?

Answer: One would hope the GOP establishment realizes that without the Tea Party people, Nancy Pelosi would still be Speaker of the House. Their energy in the 2010 mid-term (after Obamacare) clearly awakened millions of voters to the reality of an unprecedented grab for power. The Republican Party apparatus that year did very little to take advantage of the crisis to elect a conservative Congress.

At the same time, a careful selection by the Tea Party of its primary targets in upcoming elections would be wise. Example: Ousting Senator Bob Bennett of Utah was easily justifiable. He was getting too comfortable playing the "go along to get along" game. And Tea Partier Mike Lee is proving himself to be a welcome replacement. Going after Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, however, is – as yet – harder to understand.

At the same time, we need establishment people who are conservative (not RINOs) yet may need to be coaxed into using their fundraising prowess to go after the avowed anti-American culture that has taken over the Democrat Party. "Divided we fall" is a warning that is more than applicable in this era.

If the day comes when the Marxist takeover of America is realized, the leftover scraps of the Republican Party will be no consolation prize. By the way, at that point, memories of "golf with Tip O'Neill" will inspire nostalgia for "the good old days."

© Wes Vernon


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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