Last night, Missouri had another late-summer Republican primary. And Representative Todd Akin (R-MO-2) won a three-way race and will challenge Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) this fall. And that’s not all. Texas Candidate Ted Cruz will speak at the Republican National Convention. The Tea Party backed both men, and Candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana. Now even the Republican establishment notices the Tea Party. Mitt Romney should embrace them and their philosophy openly if he doesn’t want them to sit on their hands.
Latest Tea Party triumph
Everyone knows the old Missouri proverb:
You have to show me.
And last night, Todd Akin showed them. He showed Republicans that he was more conservative than the rest, and that a conservative can win. The Washington Post does say that Todd Akin has a problem: he voted for “earmark” money many times in his twelve years in Congress. But he still rates in the nineties with the American Conservative Union. The ACU rated him better than 91 percent last year. Claire McCaskill rated zero.
The fall Senate race will contrast two polar opposites, in voting record and governing philosophy. Claire McCaskill bragged about that last night to the Associated Press. She called Akin an “extremist.” She also provoked Republicans to nominate him. She ran ads saying that he was “too conservative.” Republicans might have decided that they wanted such a man.
She has two problems with saying that. First, she’s an extremist, too. Remember: the ACU gave her a zero. A moderate might expect to rate 50 percent. Second, “extreme” times call for “extreme” measures. Jim Antle at The American Conservative put it this way:
Right now, a little bit of extremism in defense of liberty really is no vice.
What the Tea Party wants
And what does “extremism” really mean? What does the Tea Party want? In two words: smaller government. Repealing “Obamacare” will only stop an already too-big government from getting ten times bigger. Jim Antle told his readers how much earlier Republican congresses and Presidents have frustrated him. They have grown government, not shrunk it. The new Tea Party Senators and Senate candidates want to shrink it.
Now one should ask: what does Mitt Romney want, other than to become President? Where is his plan? Tea Party voters everywhere want to know. These voters put a Tea Party man (Rand Paul, R-KY) in the Senate in 2010, and now have nominated three solid candidates for the Senate this year. They’ll vote for these three (and as many others as they can nominate). But if Mitt Romney wants them to vote for him, he must do more than let Ted Cruz speak at the convention. He must break with his big government past, and show some fighting spirit. Otherwise the Tea Party will ignore the Presidential ticket. Or they will do something that half of them probably know is futile. They will write in Ron Paul’s name, knowing that State Divisions of Elections everywhere will throw those write-in votes away.
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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