Categorized | Opinion, Tea Party

Exploring the TEA Party Failures in the Virginia Republican Primary

In my wrap-up to Tuesday night’s election results from the Virginia Republican Primary, I included a rather scathing shot across the bow of the Virginia TEA Party groups who supported a completely unelectable candidate who ran a “trash and burn” campaign, not on the issues of what this candidate can do to help America (if elected), but on what the front-runner did as an elected official a decade or two ago.

It wasn’t about the fact that this candidate challenged the front-runner, rather it was about the methods and tactics they used in a Republican Primary. I have no problem with these tactics being used against the enemy – the Democrats. There is no dishonor there. But if a candidate is unable to make the case on the merits of their candidacy and feels the need to try to win by tearing down a fellow Republican, then I want no parts of this person.

And for the people who feel I stepped on their toes and took the opportunity to be offended, please, by all means feel free to continue to bash me here and at Bearing Drift or wherever else you want. Go ahead and get it out of your system.

And when you are done with your pity party, how about you get over yourself and think about the message I was sending once the emotional clouds recede.

Despite the allegations by some that I must be a RINO or moderate Republican who is part of the problem, the fact is, like all of you that got wee-weed up about my comments, I am proudly a far right extremist. Politically, I would guess my philosophy would put me in the top 10% of the far right.

So how can I disagree with you if I am in the same 10%?

Well, first and foremost, lets get one thing straight. Us 10-percenters would have been considered dead center moderates a century or so ago. But we are now the far right “fringe” because the country has drifted so far to the left thanks to the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Barack Obama. The “Progressives”. The enemy and the real threat to Liberty. The 10% of the far left extremists.

And it is not that I would not like a House and Senate full of 10-percenters like me. And like the TEA Party.

No, the difference is, I understand how far the country has drifted to the left. I also understand that, with the 90% being so far to the left, those of us who believe in limited government and the Constitution are seen as “fringe” thinkers and the majority of the voters in this country are unwilling to accept rapid change. But they will accept change in small increments. That is how the Progressives moved us so far to the left! In tiny increments.  At least until Obama was elected and the Progressives controlled the House, Senate and the White House.

It was then that the Progressives made their fatal mistake. They jerked the rudder too far to the left too fast with ObamaCare, Card Check, EPA over-regulation, and the entire neo-Marxist – Socialist – Elitist agenda.

And the rapid move spawned a massive counterrevolution – the TEA Party.

And many in the TEA Party movement want to put in candidates who promise to jerk the rudder hard to starboard (that’s the Right for the nautically impaired).

We know what happened when the Progressives went  full rudder aport (the left). They met with massive resistance.

Why would anyone think that a hard move to the right would not be met with the same resistance?

Logic dictates that it will. A sharp turn driven by a few individuals will always be met with resistance. The direction of change is irrelevant.

In France, a relatively small move to the right by our standards was met with massive resistance and resulted in the voters electing a Socialist to push the rudder back to the left.

In Wisconsin, we were more fortunate. A small common sense move to have Public Union workers pay a tiny portion of their own pensions resulted in a really ugly battle and cost the Republicans the majority in the state senate, which was a hollow victory as the senate has an election before they meet again.

And Scott Walker exempted police and firefighters from the new law. So even this tiny change was met with a lot of resistance.

The TEA Party has a habit of ignoring this fact to the point where we place our rigid ideology and the quest for the perfect candidate above all else. Including winning in November.

I find it completely unacceptable to be responsible for allowing Progressives to easily win seats because we are so dogmatic in our insistence on finding the perfect candidate that is completely aligned with our 10% philosophy that we are oblivious to the fact that a 10-percenter is completely unelectable.

Rand Paul infuriated Libertarians when he endorsed Mitt Romney. But as Paul put it, he is compromising on strategy, not on principle.

That hits the nail on the head. If the TEA Party continues to push 10-percenters who cannot win a general election and use “trash and burn” tactics that bear no fruit and only serve to bring down an electable candidate that may not be a 10-percenter, but is at least on the same side of the center as us, we are following a losing strategy. And even worse, the aftermath of such a gutter campaign poisons the well and leaves nothing but mistrust and contempt for the TEA Party should the “non-chosen one” win.

That makes the possibility of forging a good working relationship between the TEA Party and the elected official almost impossible and negates any positive impact that the TEA Party might have been able to accomplish.

Like Rand Paul, I am not willing to compromise my principles, but I am more than willing to adopt a strategy that will lead to the same ends.

The TEA Party needs to take a hard look at the reality of the situation on the ground. We need to assess each race and each candidate and determine which has the best chance of beating the Democrat in the general election. If that happens to be an Allen West type, then that is a huge bonus. And in some races, that will indeed be the case.

And if the determination is made that the only possible candidate with the ability to win in November is not quite up to the 10-percenter’s standards, then we need to find a way to develop a line of communication that serve to mutually benefit both the candidate and the TEA Party.

The electorate will not accept a hard move to the right. That would allow the Progressives to drum up a resistance and mobilize a counter movement that will stop the rightward momentum. And probably pull us back to the left.

We simply can’t afford that. The country has started a gradual move to the right. We have been moving to the right since 2009. The TEA Party gets all the credit for the course correction. And we did it using RINO’s and even Liberals because that was all we had to work with in those days. We don’t need a 10-percenter to keep moving to the right. We only need an open line of communication and the will and guts to drive the dialog in an adult manner.

If we work smart, build alliances and pick the battles we can win and make the best of those we can’t, we will achieve our goal – which is a return to a constitutional government. But we must have patience and we must not panic.

If we do this right, each election cycle to come will find an electorate more willing to accept more constitutionally conservative candidates. And eventually, a TEA Party candidate will be seen, not as a 10-percenter, but as a dead center moderate.

And this is not a compromise on principle, but on strategy.

Our principles are and must remain static.

But by all means, continue to bash me and support candidates who do not (yet) stand a chance of winning if you prefer. It’s still a free country, for now.

For me, I’m concentrating on the big picture. The end game. And it is a war that we will have to fight as long as Americans desire Liberty and Freedom.

Hopefully, the fight will continue forever.

Such is the price of freedom.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

6 Responses to “Exploring the TEA Party Failures in the Virginia Republican Primary”

  1. Mike Wilburt says:

    You have done a service in fully explaining what William F. Buckley said all too succinctly decades ago… “the most conservative candidate who can win”.

    Not even a casual observer will doubt that the over-the-top debate comments of Gingrich and Santorum will be used by the Obama campaign to paint Romney as an unacceptable, discredited candidate. The same can be said for the remarks made during the Republican Virginia US Senate primary campaign.

    It’s not often conservatives are handed an opportunity to not only reverse a dangerous trend; in November, we have an opportunity to repudiate it and, perhaps, set liberal politics back on its heels for more than just one or two election cycles.

    You are right that we have the Tea Party to thank for reawakening the “silent majority”. We now have to measure our triumphs and, with steady deliberation and diligence, re-“right” the ship.

    • John Pride

      I know many of you who have commented here very well, proudly counting you among my friends. I’ve read both of Tom White’s posts on this subject, including comments and Tom’s responses. I’ll leave the post-primary finger-pointing to you fine folks, doing so for one very good reason: Folks, we have no time! As you’re proving yourself to be correct, to yourself and a handful of others, you accomplish absolutely nothing that will contribute to the America to which we will all awake on November 7th, 2012.

      A few years back, Barrack Obama said one thing that was absolutely correct: Elections have consequences. It is our job to accept this immediately, adapting and playing the hand we’ve been dealt. While last Monday, et al, have been relived and replayed since Tuesday, we’ve lost two precious days of, by my count, the mere 146 we have to work with. As Virginia’s conservative activists have been busy defending their predictions and tactics of the past, who in the hell is defending Virginians against future left-leaning court appointees, an overzealous IRS, and an avalanche of regulations that are already suffocating the world’s last hope?

      I did not engage politically to “join” or to “build” a new political force, but to stop one from reaching irreversible momentum past November 2012. Any new and popular movement, growing quickly within an established political structure, will surely lead to conflict and resentment after a few years. The issue is that this is June 14th, 2012, not 2011 or 2013, and that now it’s absolutely “adult swim” time in a shark-filled pool. We have no time for this, my friends. None. Period.

      I engaged politically in response to Pelosi, Reid, and Obama, not out of visceral disgust for Republicans for whom I’ve voted over the years. How many of you also voted for those whom you now assail as literally equal to the worst political element in American history, all but spitting on individuals of our own making? This has armed our actual opposition with pull-quotes and facts that add to our challenge considerably, even as it’s discouraged and confounded those who look to us for focused opposition to the Left.

      I do not compare George Allen to Jamie Radtke, but to Tim Kaine, and I intend to defeat Kaine. I do not compare Mitt Romney to George Bush or Rick Santorum, but to Barrack Obama, and I intend to defeat Obama. Making this about Tea Party principles and like-minded candidates is fine, but to do so by weakening any likely opponent to Obama and Kaine in 2012 indicates a troubling disregard for those who’ve charged and trusted us with the task of ousting Obama and regaining the Senate this fall. I refuse to accept the fantasy that any plan, tactic, or other effort not fully dedicated to meeting that single commitment should be labeled the work of an American “patriot”.

      Any obstacle to insuring that Virginia places Mitt Romney, George Allen and Eric Cantor in their respective offices next November is one I’m willing to overcome, with others, in order to meet that commitment. This draining, sapping back-and-forth regarding settled history seems to be the first of those challenges, and I’d really appreciate being able to focus on what our actual opponents have coming our way. What say you, my friends? After all, isn’t this where the Effort should really begin?

      “TEA Party principles…you can count on ‘em, and VOTE on ‘em. Please do, for America’s sake.”

      Where has that spirit gone?

      John Pride
      Chesterfield County, Virginia
      June 14, 2012

  2. Bob Pride says:


    I am John Pride’s older, but not necessarily wiser, brother. IMHO, I think the RTP has forgotten it is a MOVEMENT meant to influence the political landscape. The results of these election and primary misadventures you discussed clearly indicate that the Tea Party is not a political party and that its candidates somehow lack the requisite mainstream appeal.

    RTP and other Tea Party groups need to understand they are LOBBYISTS and act like a lobbying organization. That’s where the results can be achieved. Lobbying to make the mainstream Republicans (and hopefully) Democrats act more sensibly is what we need. Not more candidates to fragment the vote.

    Finally, the TPM needs to focus on its issues that can fix the political and fiscal processes that are strangling us. The peripheral issues like abortion and defense of religion are important to most Americans, but many are uncomfortable with the TPM fragmentation these issues cause. The TPM needs to exclusively focus on changing processes to strengthen the USA: term limits, balanced budgets, fair taxation, smaller government, etc. Then every real American will stand behind the TPM. If we have a strong and healthy majority, unfettered by ridiculous government policies and programs, we will have a moral and ethical country! Why? Because the majority of Americans are moral and ethical.

    I personally believe that removing the possibility of re-election is the single most effective strategy we could implement. If every elected official was only allowed a single term (4-6 years), or two terms not served concurrently, all the resources and effort that go into getting re-elected might actually go toward betterment of the country.

    Bob Pride
    Poquoson, VA


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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