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Tag Archives: Tea Party
Regular readers of this blog know that a recurring topic of discussion has been how long the Republican Party can stay intact as it now is. For forty years, the Republican Party has been a combination of nativist Dixiecrats, Christian Fundamentalists, economic libertarians, neo-conservatives, and the traditional moderate business establishment. For most of the forty years, this coalition has been a con job with candidates using enough coded phrases and wedge issues on the campaign trail to keep the nativists and the fundamentalists happy at election time, but focusing primarily on keeping the neo-conservatives happy on foreign policy and the establishment happy on economic issues once in office.
For the first twenty years to thirty years this strategy worked well in most places. The gradual increase of Hispanic citizens, however, is altering the demographics (at least in Presidential election years), making it difficult to keep the nativists happy and still have a chance at winning the presidential election. (For Congress and state legislatures, the geographic dispersion of seats plus a little bit of gerrymandering will help the Republicans keep their heads above water for a little bit more). At the same time, the grassroots are beginning to catch on to the con, and they are becoming restless.
In most Western democracies, the post of speaker is not considered to be a partisan post. Instead, the role of speaker is to be a fair and neutral chair. When a speaker retires, there are typically several candidates from all parties — experienced legislators who typically have served as deputy speakers or chairs of committees from outside the leadership of the parties. Choosing the new speaker is one of the few votes that does not follow party lines. In the U.S., however, the Speaker is expected to be a very unfair and partisan chair — the effective leader of his party in the House of Representatives. As a result, the internal divisions in the Republican Party have risen to the surface, making it difficult to choose a new speaker.
As has been discussed over the years in this blog. The Republican Party has some significant and fundamental divisions. On the one side, you have a dwindling number of moderate, so-called “Country Club” Republicans. While wanting a smaller government and lower taxes than Democrats, these Republicans have always seen the importance of good roads, a solid public education system, and an adequate safety nest. They are less concerned about social issues, except for desiring minimal disruption from social disorder.
Then you have “Wall Street” Republicans. This group wants low taxes with tax incentives for businesses. Again, social issues are less important.