Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Tea Party Won't Split the GOP

Another week and another round of groping to define the Tea Party and to divine its role for the future both within the GOP and beyond. Just when Dad29 has me thinking that maybe we are close to a viable third party, liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias writes this on his blog while discussing the Paul/Conway race in Kentucky:
Accusing one’s opponent of transferring economic opportunities from the United States to China (sometimes India) is a major feature of a huge number of 2010 campaigns. These attacks tend to be factually misleading, and also promote the widespread by definitely wrong misconception that the US and China are engaged in a zero-sum contest for prosperity. What’s more, even granting the factual and analytic premises of these ads their ethics is clearly mistaken. If it was the case that the US and China face zero-sum competition for economic resources, transferring resources from rich America to poor China would be morally praiseworthy.
He gets it almost right. Those accusations about transferring opportunities to China are a major feature of Democratic campaigns in 2010. Wisconsin's own Steve Kagen and Russ Feingold have been beating this drum incessantly.

Yglesias is, generally speaking, to the left of the Democratic mainstream, but not that far left. And yet I'd bet he approves of the congressional voting records of both Steve Kagen and Russ Feingold.

So what does this have to do with the Tea Party and the GOP? If the shrill China-bashing of Kagen and Feingold can exist in the same party with Yglesias and his "morally praiseworthy" transfers to China, then is there any division within a party that can't be reconciled?

In fact, I wonder if the current political environment won't result in retrenchment of the two major parties as activists, both new and long-time, work to reform their respective parties from the ground up.

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