After withdrawing from the special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who had been the Republican candidate, threw her support to the Democratic candidate, Bill Owens, rather than Doug Hoffman, a Republican running on the Conservative Party ticket.
That was one more example of the “closed tent” mentality of big-government, establishment Republicans who have worked long and hard to keep conservatives out of power at the national, state, and local levels.
The GOP leadership’s backing of Ms. Scozzafava was a slap in the face to tea party activists, town-hall protesters, and conservatives across the country. The Washington GOP establishment’s abandonment of fiscal responsibility led directly to the election of Barack Obama as president, Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House, and Harry Reid as Senate majority leader.
The American people see the GOP leadership and establishment every bit as much a part of the problem as the Democrats.
Doug Hoffman and N.Y.-23 are an earthquake in American politics, the first of many challenges to establishment Republicans that we will see for the 2010 elections and beyond. The Republican leaders' stupid decision to pour $900,000 into the race against a conservative has unleashed a fury that will lead to new GOP leadership.
Conservatives’ anger at Washington-establishment Republicans will cost the national committees tens of millions of dollars, as conservative money will start flowing directly to the tea parties and their candidates.
It’s clear that the main opposition to President Obama and Pelosi’s agenda is not from Republican politicians, but rather conservative talk-show hosts, bloggers, cable TV hosts, tea party activists, town-hall attendees, and other grass-roots conservatives.
Tea party activists and conservatives feel betrayed by Republican leaders: John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Pete Sessions, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Michael Steele, and Newt Gingrich.
These GOP leaders would rather follow the advice of professional political consultants, who are not small-government conservatives. These people would rather satisfy their friends in the media than win — and win with principle. They are the same people who try to denigrate the tea party and town-hall protesters by calling them “teabaggers.”
That type of thinking, which actively opposes the rise of conservatives and others who challenge the old Washington political establishment, will keep the GOP as a small tent. The tea party movement, like Reaganism, is the real big tent.
Over the last dozen years, Republican Party leaders have broken the bond of trust between them and the base of the party. It will not be restored until the GOP selects new leaders who represent the views and values of grass-roots Americans, not Washington views and values.