The New Third Party?

For much of the last two years, those of us in the Tea Party have been denying the presumption that we are planning to form a new third party. Although we are dissatisfied with the state of both major political parties, we have consistently confirmed that we are not interested in forming a separate party and that, instead, we are working to bring both major parties back to constitutional, fiscally responsible policies.

Recent events, especially the announcement by Lisa Murkowski that she plans to reenter the Alaskan senatorial race as a write-in candidate, indicate that it might not be the Tea Parties who are most likely to form a new party -- it might just be the establishment wing of the Republican Party who plan to make a go of it on their own.

Despite primary results (presumably the will of the people) and Reagan's famous Eleventh Commandment, the elitists among the GOP have been none too shy about putting down the Tea Party and those candidates who run (and even win) with largely Tea Party backing and philosophy.

Earlier this year, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott asserted that Tea Party-favored candidates who win their elections need to be "co-opted" once they arrive in Washington, implying that they need to be shown the way it has been done for decades in the nation's capital. Charlie Crist saw ahead to the pasting that Tea Party-favored candidate Marco Rubio would apply to him in the Florida GOP Senatorial primary and decided to run as an independent, citing his belief that the political system was broken

Last week, Christine O'Donnell rode the support of many Tea Partiers to a convincing win over old-line Republican stalwart Mike Castle. Showing a lack of graciousness that no parent would tolerate from his or her 10-year old Little-Leaguer, Castle refused to endorse O'Donnell or even to call and congratulate her on election day.

Events early in the weekend gave us the topper. Lisa Murkowski's announcement that, despite her loss to Tea Party-supported Joe Miller in the GOP primary, she saw the need to rise from the proverbial ashes and run again in the general election, this time as an independent write-in candidate. As Mark J. Fitzgibbons pointed out on these pages, the Tea Party is telling establishment Republicans that it is time to change. It is certainly not time for Ms. Murkowski to attempt to revive her failed campaign with a write-in effort.

...Unless, of course, the Lotts, Crists, Castles, and Murkowskis of the world want to form their own party. Just think of it: a third political party whose platform and philosophy would be immediately out of step with Tea Partiers, 9-12ers, and conservative Republicans across the country. Can't you just hear the stump speeches now? "I promise to be a moderate whenever the going gets tough. I promise to give lip service to lower taxes while in fact looking for big-government programs at every turn. I especially promise to deal with you voters in a condescending way, since I am one of the elites." Stirring stuff, right?

At their convention, I can envision a keynote speech by Karl Rove, still looking to shed his "Tokyo Rove" moniker. Many of us agree that Ms. O'Donnell's background is unusual and even quirky, but it seems that Mr. Rove is protesting too much here.

Finally, new political parties need a big-name leader to symbolize the breakaway. Perhaps this new party could look toward Colin Powell, the venerable Republican who simply continues to amaze with every word he says. The latest is that the Tea Party has no agenda and is moving the GOP too far to the right.

As to Mr. Powell's second assertion, I will concur that the Tea Party is moving the Republican Party to the right of where it was two years ago. But hey, someone needed to do it. The whole country has seen the error of our government's sharp move to the left. A mid-course correction is what the nation needs, and if it takes the Tea Party to tug the boat that way, then so be it.

As for his first assertion, that the Tea Party has no agenda, Mr. Powell is either not serious or has not been listening. Tea Parties across the nation have made it clear that we need to reduce spending and debt immediately by cutting out waste and fraud and by managing a balanced budget. Over time, we think there are a number of federal programs that do not have constitutional support and should be eliminated, but we know that such a change will be the result of a longer conversation that needs to take into account certain promises that our government has made to its people.

When that conversation occurs, we think that it can begin with two, and not three, major parties --  if only we can convince some reluctant Republicans not to go off and form their own party.

Greg Holloway is a member of the Board of Austin Tea Party Patriots and a co-founder of the statewide Common Sense Texans.
For much of the last two years, those of us in the Tea Party have been denying the presumption that we are planning to form a new third party. Although we are dissatisfied with the state of both major political parties, we have consistently confirmed that we are not interested in forming a separate party and that, instead, we are working to bring both major parties back to constitutional, fiscally responsible policies.

Recent events, especially the announcement by Lisa Murkowski that she plans to reenter the Alaskan senatorial race as a write-in candidate, indicate that it might not be the Tea Parties who are most likely to form a new party -- it might just be the establishment wing of the Republican Party who plan to make a go of it on their own.

Despite primary results (presumably the will of the people) and Reagan's famous Eleventh Commandment, the elitists among the GOP have been none too shy about putting down the Tea Party and those candidates who run (and even win) with largely Tea Party backing and philosophy.

Earlier this year, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott asserted that Tea Party-favored candidates who win their elections need to be "co-opted" once they arrive in Washington, implying that they need to be shown the way it has been done for decades in the nation's capital. Charlie Crist saw ahead to the pasting that Tea Party-favored candidate Marco Rubio would apply to him in the Florida GOP Senatorial primary and decided to run as an independent, citing his belief that the political system was broken

Last week, Christine O'Donnell rode the support of many Tea Partiers to a convincing win over old-line Republican stalwart Mike Castle. Showing a lack of graciousness that no parent would tolerate from his or her 10-year old Little-Leaguer, Castle refused to endorse O'Donnell or even to call and congratulate her on election day.

Events early in the weekend gave us the topper. Lisa Murkowski's announcement that, despite her loss to Tea Party-supported Joe Miller in the GOP primary, she saw the need to rise from the proverbial ashes and run again in the general election, this time as an independent write-in candidate. As Mark J. Fitzgibbons pointed out on these pages, the Tea Party is telling establishment Republicans that it is time to change. It is certainly not time for Ms. Murkowski to attempt to revive her failed campaign with a write-in effort.

...Unless, of course, the Lotts, Crists, Castles, and Murkowskis of the world want to form their own party. Just think of it: a third political party whose platform and philosophy would be immediately out of step with Tea Partiers, 9-12ers, and conservative Republicans across the country. Can't you just hear the stump speeches now? "I promise to be a moderate whenever the going gets tough. I promise to give lip service to lower taxes while in fact looking for big-government programs at every turn. I especially promise to deal with you voters in a condescending way, since I am one of the elites." Stirring stuff, right?

At their convention, I can envision a keynote speech by Karl Rove, still looking to shed his "Tokyo Rove" moniker. Many of us agree that Ms. O'Donnell's background is unusual and even quirky, but it seems that Mr. Rove is protesting too much here.

Finally, new political parties need a big-name leader to symbolize the breakaway. Perhaps this new party could look toward Colin Powell, the venerable Republican who simply continues to amaze with every word he says. The latest is that the Tea Party has no agenda and is moving the GOP too far to the right.

As to Mr. Powell's second assertion, I will concur that the Tea Party is moving the Republican Party to the right of where it was two years ago. But hey, someone needed to do it. The whole country has seen the error of our government's sharp move to the left. A mid-course correction is what the nation needs, and if it takes the Tea Party to tug the boat that way, then so be it.

As for his first assertion, that the Tea Party has no agenda, Mr. Powell is either not serious or has not been listening. Tea Parties across the nation have made it clear that we need to reduce spending and debt immediately by cutting out waste and fraud and by managing a balanced budget. Over time, we think there are a number of federal programs that do not have constitutional support and should be eliminated, but we know that such a change will be the result of a longer conversation that needs to take into account certain promises that our government has made to its people.

When that conversation occurs, we think that it can begin with two, and not three, major parties --  if only we can convince some reluctant Republicans not to go off and form their own party.

Greg Holloway is a member of the Board of Austin Tea Party Patriots and a co-founder of the statewide Common Sense Texans.