Yesterday, Ed Kilgore wrote, Please Listen Up, Political Reporters: What Ted Cruz Means When He Says He Mistrusts Both Parties. In it, he took on Ted Cruz and his habit of claiming that he doesn’t trust either political party. As Kilgore noted, “Does it mean, as political reporters often blandly repeat, that ‘Tea Party’ pols like Cruz are hardy independents who care about principle rather than about the GOP, and represent a constituency that is up in the air?” He provided two answers: “No” and “Hell no!”
This is an issue that I’ve been hammering on for a while. The only difference between the Tea Party and the Republican Party is that the Tea Party is only made up of the stronger Republicans. So it makes no sense to even have a different name for the Tea Party; they are just the base of the Republican Party. What’s interesting is that the Democratic Party has a progressive base too but no one labels it as a separate party. And that’s strange when you consider that the this base is far more likely to abandon its party than the Tea Party is.
As you all know, I am constantly disappointed in the Democratic Party. Yet when someone asks me, I tell them I am a Democrat. I think it is disingenuous to say otherwise. This comes from my many conversations with conservatives who claim to be “independent.” (This doesn’t tend to happen with liberals; the independents who tend toward the Democrats really are in the muddled middle.) You aren’t an independent if you agree with everything the Republicans say but think they aren’t quite pure enough. And that is exactly what Ted Cruz is all about.
What the Tea Party movement was about from the beginning was the Republican base upset that it lost big in 2008. It was the outgrowth of the widely held opinion that the 2008 crisis and the presidency of George W. Bush were caused by not being conservative enough. There was also all that racial insecurity. “I’m losing control of my country!” I won’t go as far as Bobcat Goldthwait who says they are just racists, “Obama’s a… a… a Socialist! What’s a Socialist? I don’t know, but they like fried chicken.” But there is a lot of that. The whole birther movement is not because Obama is black but because he is “other.”
Whenever talking about the modern Republican Party, all roads lead back to Life of Brian. The only ones the People’s Front of Judea hate more than the Romans are the Judean People’s Front. So it is madness to suggest that the Tea Party is somehow independent of the parties. That makes it sound as if its members disagree equally with the two parties. But the fact is that they always (By definition!) disagree with the Democratic Party. And they always agree with the Republican Party. Except, of course, they shout louder. But what they shout is same thing.