It is time to remake the Republican Party. The big spending, nation-building strategy of the Bush years was and remains a loser, and the only possible answer for America going forward is an exact reversal. The best position papers on a small government, non-nation-building strategy are authored at the Cato Institute by Chris Preble, Gene Healy, Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner, to name a few. Here Stephen Moore, writing at The Wall Street Journal outlines the tea party approach.
Critics say the tea party seems to think that the other part of its job is replacing incumbents with candidates who are hapless neophytes—not-ready-for-primetime candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Republicans blame their defeats for preventing a GOP takeover of the Senate in 2010 and 2012. Don’t tell that to the tea party. Its members are adamant that they aren’t an appendage of the Republican Party. “How do these critics think Republicans won their landslide election in 2010?” Mr. Kibbe says. “It was because of us.”
He believes it is a “false choice to say that Republicans can’t win a governing majority by picking principled free-market candidates.” And he shows me an election spread sheet purporting to show that in 2012, tea party candidates fared better than those handpicked by the Republican establishment. “Almost all our tea party candidates won in 2010,” he says, while the big losers in 2012 were uninspiring moderate Republicans in states like North Dakota, Montana and New Mexico.
But Mr. Kibbe does admit: “OK, Indiana and Richard Mourdock”—who defeated longtime GOP incumbent Richard Lugar and then lost in the general election—”you can blame on us.”
Ms. Kremer says, “It doesn’t do us any good to have more Republicans if they don’t stand for our principles. Our goal isn’t to just elect more, but better Republicans.”
She points to the election to the Senate in recent years of Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, all of whom were aided by tea party backing. She adds that when George W. Bush was president and Republicans controlled Congress, Washington’s big-spending ways never changed. Just electing politicians with an “R” next to their name, she says, won’t bring the kind of seismic change that’s needed.
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