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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The brewing Republican-Tea Party civil war

Posted by Judson Phillips on August 27, 2011 at 7:56am in Tea Party Nation Forum

Since the Tea Party began, there has been an on going debate within the Tea Party about the Republican Party and what the Tea Party’s relationship with the GOP should be.  Pressures are now building and if the Parties are not careful, they could blow into a full-fledged rupture between the GOP and the Tea Party.

What are these pressures?

It is more of the ongoing war that the GOP has kept under wraps for the last 30 years.  This is the war of the Establishment or Country Club GOP versus the grassroots, which is now the Tea Party.

The GOP establishment has always been disdainful of the grassroots.  The GOP establishment comes in every two years, talking about how conservative they are, expecting the grassroots to do the heavy lifting in the campaign, and as soon as the election is over, they ignore the conservatives and go about doing what they really want to do, which is to act like Democrats.

The Establishment GOP is very similar to liberals.  They do not like competition.  Tea Party candidates defeated a number of establishment candidates for congress in 2010 and we are already seeing the payback as in some GOP states: freshman Tea Party Congressmen are being redistricted out of their seats.  In Texas, home of Rick Perry, this tactic has been used against a number of Tea Party Freshmen.

You would think the GOP would be a little more grateful.  After all, under the leadership of the Establishment, the GOP was wiped out so badly in 2006 and 2008, Washington Republicans had to be put on the Endangered Species Act.

In New Hampshire, another fight is brewing that could lead to a major Tea Party-Republican rupture in one of the early primary states.

In January, Jack Kimball, a Tea Party activist who got started in politics with the Tea Party movement, upset an establishment candidate to become the Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Since Kimball was elected, the establishment has not liked it and is now fighting back.  On September 1, there will be a meeting of the New Hampshire Republican Party Executive Committee and Kimball will be removed from office.  This is pretty definite, since 22 members of the committee sent him a letter asking him to resign or be removed.  Since the Committee has 36 members and only a majority are required to remove the Chairman the outcome is really not in doubt.

The fight over Kimball has been over fundraising, losses in a special election and a mistake he made.

Kimball’s critics claim his fundraising has been a disaster.  Kimball counters saying the first two quarters have been among the best ever for the Party.

In July, the GOP establishment saw a stunning defeat in a special election by a candidate who many suspected was a Democrat running as a Republican.  Then, Kimball may have signed his own political death warrant when he signed a petition to have the Libertarian Party on the ballot in New Hampshire.  Kimball claims it was a mistake and he thought he was signing only for a Libertarian candidate.  Either way, that is a colossal mistake.  Kimball has since withdrawn his name from that petition.

Unfortunately, by pushing Kimball out, the GOP may be making a colossal mistake.  Kimball is only seven months into his term as Chairman.  He has clearly made some mistakes, but perfection is not the standard we hold people to.  The left likes to hold conservatives to that standard.  Neither Conservatives nor Republicans should play that game.

This story gets more interesting as according to Politico, the Republican Governors Association offered $100,000 to the New Hampshire Republican Party and Moderates such as US Senator Kelly Ayotte, Representatives Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta have offered even more to help out the state party.  The only catch?  They want Kimball to resign.

As one blogger put it, they would hold the grass roots hostage and be willing to lose races, just to hold the purse strings and power.  In the process, they will force a Tea Party activist out as the New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman.

The New Hampshire GOP needs to take a good hard look at this situation.  For all of his faults, Kimball could be the one person out there who can bring in the Tea Party people and keep them in the party.

Either the New Hampshire fight is because Kimball is not doing a good job or it is about an internecine fight between the establishment and the Tea Party.  If it is the former, he is new on the job.  One solution is to delay any vote on his ouster and perhaps get a more experienced GOP state chairman to mentor him.  If it is just about politics, then the vote can go forward on 9/1 and everyone will know what is really going on.

As has been repeated countless times here on Tea Party Nation, the consensus opinion within the Tea Party movement is that we do not want the Tea Party to become a third party.  We do not want the Tea Party to split the Republican Party.

However, there is great distrust of the establishment Republicans among the Tea Party.  A recently closed poll on Tea Party Nation showed that 45% of Tea Party members would not vote for Mitt Romney if he were to become the nominee.  There is a huge divide here and the GOP needs to reach out and try to do something about it before it becomes any worse.

The establishment GOP is famous for reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats.  Here is a suggestion for the Establishment.  Before you reach across the aisle to work with the party of treason, why don’t you try reaching within the aisle to work with the Tea Party?

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