With the Republican Party discredited after the presidency of George W. Bush, and Obama continuing the policies he was asked to change, it seems the ground of political debate is shifting from the liberal-conservative dynamic, to the more to the more general consideration of the role of government in people's lives. p>
The mainstream media’s portrayal of the Tea Party Tax Protests on April 15th as a highly organized attack on the Obama administration by rich Republicans was an unusually detectable smear of the individuals who attended. Of course, this is nothing new, but what was surprising was how blatantly obvious the mischaracterization was. Part of the reason the protests were deemed necessary was the very fact that people that believed in moderate government spending and low taxes no longer felt represented by the Republican party.
Though factions on the right unsuccessfully tried to co-opt and take credit for the grassroots movement (such as Michael Steele), the movement is in fact Libertarian in spirit and perhaps even in origin, as Ron Paul was credited with the Tea Bag Protest idea that same day on Fox News’ Freedom Watch.
Evidence of the growing fissure between right wing conservative collectivism and libertarian rejection of big government, seems to be unleashing a demand for a 3rd party candidate after huge deficits accumulated by Reagan and both Bushes have exhausted whatever credibility was left of the notion of a small government, low tax Republican Party. Evidence of this widening chasm had Rush Limbaugh urging listeners to reject the notion of a 3rd party candidate, as something that would work against what the protesters were trying to accomplish.
My greatest concern about this is that there are -- I don't want to impugn anybody here -- but there's a possibility that this is going to lead to a third-party movement, and that's death. Third-party candidates succeed in one thing, and that is electing their alternatives. John Anderson, 1980, you had Perot in 1992. The temptation here is to go third party 'cause the Republican Party is not responsive. The real question, in my humble opinion, is that this effort and energy needs to be used, as Ronald Reagan did, to take over the Republican Party, to repopulate it and that's exactly what Reagan did, he took it away from the Rockefeller blue-blood country club types starting in 1976, took him 'til 1980 to do it. Goldwater did the same thing. Both Reagan and Goldwater could have gone third party, and there's a temptation here to go third-party, and a lot of people advocating third-party are the personalities that are trying to make this all about them, and that troubles me 'cause this is not about personalities, it's not about any politician, and it isn't about any media person that organized all of this.
Interestingly, Rush then attacks Ron Paul and eschews any notion that a 3rd party candidate would have any practical means of implementing an agenda:
Ron Paul is out there trying to take credit for it, by the way. He issued a big press release, but this is grassroots, this is why this kind of energy from the grassroots needs to be harnessed into the existing political apparatus that can actually win if it is built and structured right. That's the Republican Party. Third party can't win. Third party is not going to have any congressional candidates. I just think that the effort here to make this third party -- which is bubbling under the surface, it's not something you hear outright, but it's something I sense that is taking place.