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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Towering Dwarfs

When Mike Dukakis ran for president in 1988, he and his fellow Democrats were derided as Gary Hart and the Seven Dwarfs. That field is begging to look like giants compared to the 2012 GOP wannabes.

On Huckabee and Romney, Palin and Gingrich. On Barber, and Thune, and Daniels and T-Paw.

The first group carries name recognition -- and high negatives. The latter, adding DeMint, Santorum, Kane and Karger, produce head-scratching in most activist homes, let alone a public increasingly fed up with politics and the endless election cycle.

(For translation, see the Washington Post's Chris Cilliza's tout sheet and the Boston Phoenix's David Bernstein's critique).

There's another major reason the traditional 2011 presidential start-up is a little slower than quadrennial's past: the Republican Party still finds itself at war with itself, facing a Tea Party movement that is showing increasing sophistication, not only at in-fighting, but also at the grassroots.

There is a GOP civil war brewing among the religious right that captured the heart and soul of the party nearly three decades ago and the front-burner boil of the Tea Party. The re-emergence of social issues such as abortion and gay marriage as key congressional themes is not going to sit well with Tea Partiers upset over excessive government spending (except for THEIR Social Security and Medicare).

And as that famous Republican, Abraham Lincoln once declared: "A House divided against itself cannot stand."

Same as it ever was.

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Anonymous dcs said...

I think you're missing the point about the Tea Party and the religious right. There's a lot of overlap between the two groups. Their demographics are very similar, and the country didn't just birth a whole new set of conservative activists. The real conflict is between the Tea Party and the GOP establishment, which has been happy to pay lip service to social issues as long as religious groups get out the vote. The difference with the Tea Party is that the activists think they're in charge, and they may be right.

February 07, 2011 11:09 PM  

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