Monday, March 8, 2010

Tea Party Candidates

Politico offers a deceptive take on the recent electoral fortunes of declared "tea party candidates." See, "Tea Party Candidates Falling Short" (via Memeorandum):

From its loud and highly visible protests at summer congressional town hall meetings to its September march on the streets of Washington, the tea party movement has left a profound mark on the American political landscape since it burst onto the scene a year ago.

But as spirited political movements have shown in the past, translating passion and activist fury into votes can be difficult. And so far, success at the ballot box has been elusive for these grass-roots conservative activists — if not entirely nonexistent.

From Texas to Illinois to upstate New York, a string of lackluster showings for tea party-linked candidates have highlighted a central question about the group’s future: Can an organic and fledgling movement that lacks the institutional grounding and top-down organizational strength of either major political party transfer protest-oriented grass-roots energy into tangible success at the polls?
There's more at the link. The problem, of course, is that the discussion's misleading, if not wholly inaccurate. The two big cases discussed are last week's Texas gubernatorial primary and NY-23 last November. On Texas, Governor Rick Perry won because he's a tea partier, frankly. Debra Medina was the "self-declared" tea-party candidate, but Perry's walked the walk all along, and was rewarded for it at the polls. See Melissa Clouthier, "Why Rick Perry Won: Thoughts From a Texan." Also, Ben Domenech, "Why Rick Perry Won."

And in NY-23? Actually, Doug Hoffman -- a virtual no-name candidate at the time local GOP bosses cherry-picked Dede Scozzafava -- nearly pulled it off. While initial election night reports stated the Bill Owens defeated Hoffman 49-45 percent, later reports showed
the race tightening and, frankly, the Democrat was sworn into office before the full results were known. In other words, the Politico's piece is basically worthless. We have the November election to really see what's happening, and as the previous results for GOP candidates in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia have already shown, it's earthquake time on the right.

VIDEO HAT TIP: Tea Party Express.