Monday, November 9, 2009

Far-Right Splitting from GOP

Summary: Are Republicans becoming more vulnerable as far-right leaners move away from the GOP?

A number of stories in Politico today suggest that the far-right of the Republican base is now either leaving the GOP, or at least leaving it more vulnerable for 2010. This comes despite the recent election of Democrat Bill Owens in New York’s 23rd Congressional District where a Conservative Party candidate forced a Republican out of the race.

First, the Scorecard reports that Club for Growth - who endorsed Conservative Doug Hoffman over Republican Diedre Scozzafava in NY-23 - is now endorsing Marco Rubio in the Florida GOP Senate primary over moderate Gov. Charlie Crist.

"Marco Rubio is the real deal, one of the brightest young stars in American politics today, and a proven champion of economic liberty," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola.

“Charlie Crist has repeatedly joined with big government liberals on major economic issues facing America today, from taxes to spending to cap-and-trade. He represents the wrong direction for our economy and our nation."

While Rubio is a Republican, it is well known that he is considerably more conservative than Crist, who actually endorsed the stimulus package earlier this year. If Rubio was to win the primary it would be much more difficult for him to win over independents in a general election than it would be for Crist - perhaps leaving the seat as an easy grab for Democrats.

Also in Florida, a conservative activist has actually established a “Tea Party” - as in, an actual political party to take on both Democrats and Republicans.

"The current system has become mired in the sludge of special interest money that seeks to control the leadership of both parties. It’s time for real change,” says Orlando lawyer Frederic O’Neal, the new party's chairman, who couldn't be reached immediately by phone, in a press release.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Secretary of State, Jennifer Davis, said the party had registered in August, and that its qualified candidates will appear on the ballot in the state.

O'Neal compared his party's role to that of the Conservative Party in New York's 23rd District. Florida, however, lacks the "fusion" rules that has [sic] allowed third parties in New York to amass influence by offering their ballot line to acceptable major-party candidates.

Of course, Florida does still have a large number of minor third parties - 32 to be exact - including Socialists, Prohibitionists, and even something called the Real Food Party.

Now, WAYLA devotees will remember that there already exists a “Boston Tea Party” which is an off-shoot of the Libertarian Party. Yet despite the recent libertarian trends among the so-called Tea Party protesters, I have to imagine that this new Tea Party is not as liberal on the social issues.

Finally, conservative insider Gary Bauer gives some tips for his fellow right-wingers in an ideas piece today. This was the gist of his argument:

"Hoffman’s strong showing — coupled with the successful uprising against Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava’s candidacy — will embolden some conservatives to consider abandoning the GOP and initiating a broader third-party movement.

As a staunch conservative Republican whose political action committee invested much in Hoffman’s campaign, I believe nothing would hurt the conservative movement, or the GOP, more. National Democrats would love nothing more than for conservatives to start looking for third-party candidates all across the country, because third-party candidates almost always lose."

Well, not entirely. The Boston Tea Party does have two elected officials from within their ranks - albeit, they’re local and non-partisan - but Bauer’s right, there’s nothing we’d love more.

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