Shut up and get in line.
Remember in early-mid 2008 as the Republican Party rallied behind the biggest backstabber in the modern party era, and snarled at conservatives who backed conservative Fred Thompson and moderate but tough Rudy Giuliani, Shut up and get in line! He’s the only candidate the media won’t go hard after. Conservatives grumbled knowingly but did so. In a move surprising nobody but the GOP, the media gleefully turned on McCain as soon as he had the nomination sewn up. McCain endorsed the Democrat nominee, and would have nobody say a word against him. The party rode McCain’s coattails down to 60-40 minorities in both houses.
As the Democrats laid waste to our Republic, the people rose up against it, led by conservative citizens. Thus the Tea Party movement was born, and in the uprising demolished the Democrats in both House and Senate, decisively taking the House and paring the Senate minority to 47-53. The Beltway Republicans were delivered an emphatic mandate, namely “stop the spending and regulation that the Democrats are perpetrating!”
What did the Republicans do under Boehner and McConnell? Nothing discernable. Boehner suddenly found himself in a position to dictate terms to Obama. But every showdown followed a pattern. Democrats make demands. Republicans draw a line and say, “No further!” Democrats then threaten servicemen, blame Republicans for starving granny, or just call them mean names. Republicans give in, signing on to massive spending, massive debt limit increases, massive cuts in defense, accepting crumbs in return. As Americans screamed at them in rage, the Republicans said, Shut up and get in line! It was the best deal we could get.
OK, your turn now, GOP.
In the first election in the Tea Party era, the voters took down some liberal Republicans in primaries, but the major efforts were aimed at the general election. Noteworthy exceptions in the Senate served notice that the GOP had better pay some attention to the Tea Party: Marco Rubio, who took down popular moderate Governor Charlie Crist; and Mike Lee, who erased 3-term party faithful squish and Mitch McConnell toadie Bob Bennett. For their part, the GOP actively worked against TP candidates Cristine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, and Joe Miller after they won their respective nominations. So much for “shut up and get in line,” huh.
So this election season, the Tea Party movement, under the leadership of nobody in particular, has gone after GOP Establishment encumbents, or in the case of Texas, gone after the GOP Establishment-decreed successor. First-time general election candidates across the United States covet the Tea Party stamp of approval. The Establishment has fought ferociously to defend their territory. I suspect that the only thing they hate worse than Democrats is….. conservative Republicans.
So Texas has been shaping up for this battle between Tea Party conservative rock star Ted Cruz, and big-name, big-money, big-political clout, big compromiser with Democrats, Texas Lt Governor David Dewhurst for a year now. This contest has, from the beginning, been the showdown that both sides wanted.
If Establishment GOP could beat back the conservative in the heart of Tea Party country, they might never have to fear them ever again. If the Tea Party could deliver relative unknown and underfunded Ted Cruz against this massive political machine, then across this whole land, the Party can be beaten by the people.
We won big. 56-44. And now we’re coming after you on every front, in every state. We’re done voting you in so you can sell our Republic, or legacy, and our posterity to the Democrats for a few pieces of silver. We’re done settling for the “Best deal we could get.” We’re done with the Beltway GOP quaking in fear of the Liberal Media.
Our goal is not to take down powerful incumbents. Our goal is to save the Republic. The entrenched GOP has proven exceedingly unhelpful in that regard, to the point of being an active enemy. So be it.
Be advised, GOP Establishment. It’s on.
And when we are done with you, pal, you better shut up and get in line. You pull another Lisa Murkowski on us and we will reacquaint you with the term “tar and feather”. Perhaps you think we mean that figuratively.