When the South Carolina primary results revealed a blowout victory for Gingrich, Romney supporters and the Establishment Apology Brigade responded by borrowing progressives’s talking points against the tea party. That a sizable chunk of tea partiers, independents, and women voted for Newt Gingrich doesn’t make them “racists,” as I have heard suggested, or “bitter clingers,” or any other pejorative favored by progressives and suddenly subtly adopted by establishment types.
I know and respect many of these individuals and I don’t begrudge them their passionate support of the candidate in whom they believe; rather, I disagree with their chosen tactics in attempting to undermine their opposition’s support.
We spent three-and-a-half years protesting for limited government and were called nazis, racists, bigots, etc. by progressives, many of them sitting lawmakers. The above-mentioned apologists were right with us in denouncing such tactics. Now suddenly they’re echoing them simply because the majority of grassroots do not share their choice of primary candidate? Their strategy is to browbeat and verbally abuse grassroots into lining up behind an uncertain and not “inevitable” candidate? Isn’t that what progressives have been doing to grassroots for the past several years? We were called racists and “bitter clingers” for not supporting Obama. Are we now suggested racists and “bitter clingers” because we don’t support Romney? How does that work?
Let me put it another way: it wasn’t OK to call tea partiers “racists and hillbillies” when they opposed Obama’s big government, but it is OK to call tea partiers “racists and hillbillies” when they oppose the establishment’s pick for primary candidate?
What sort of bass-ackwards logic is this?
The South Carolina results have more to do with a repudiation of Romney than a widespread preference for Gingrich as a candidate. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any tea partiers who support Gingrich–to the contrary. There is simply a general, “damn the man” sentiment when it concerns the GOP establishment, and it’s of the establishment’s own doing.
After saving the Republican party from electoral annihilation during the 2010 midterms, the party establishment seeks to pay back its cavalry by shoving one particular candidate down their throats and going Ike Turner on them if they resist. Yes, grassroots saved the GOP and took the House for them in 2010:
Independents flocked to the fiscal restraint preached by GOP candidates and propelled by grassroots:
More than one in three said their votes were an expression of opposition to Obama. And more than half expressed negative views about both political parties.
Republican victories were aided by independents, who backed GOP candidates for the first time since 2004, by a margin of 55 percent to 39 percent.
Two out of every three votes? [my emphasis]
Underlying that, though, was a remarkable roll call of groups who powered the Republican victory. Conservative tea party supporters supplied about 2 of every 3 GOP votes while women, independents, suburbanites and white Catholics fled toward Republican House candidates, according to a national exit poll of voters.
Supporters of the conservative tea party movement were crucial to Gingrich’s victory in Saturday’s primary to be the Republican nominee facing President Barack Obama in November’s election, exit poll data from South Carolina showed.
Almost two-thirds of Republican voters said they backed the tea party, a three-year-old, grass-roots movement focused on smaller government and fiscal reform. Among tea party supporters in the South Carolina primary, Gingrich had a lead over Mitt Romney of 20 percentage points.
I trust the conservative voters in South Carolina and elsewhere more than I trust the folks who argue as though they’ve lost touch with how a constitutional republic works. They deride the very thing we’re fighting to uphold.
The greatest offense isn’t that someone refuses to support your preferred candidate. The most offensive thing in this primary is a lack of passion. Like I said, I don’t begrudge people their passion for what they feel is the best route to take back the country, even if it differs from mine. I will, however, take loud exception to using the language of the left to attack the process.