National Party News
Maybe this is the year. After all the decades of lip service to the idea of third-party or Independent candidates, perhaps the time has come. Heaven knows the Democrats and Republicans have done their part to make the idea appealing.
The two major parties have way more in common than their loyalists would like to admit. There is jealousy, dogmatic infighting, downright buffoonery. Then we have egotistical turf battles, corruption, incompetence and general chaos. And let's not forget the lineup of mediocre or worse hacks the Big Two select as candidates. For those who celebrate bipartisanship, there is plenty of it.
The Republicans need to learn one thing before February. If they keep sending out their longtime apparatchik Steve Schmidt as designated Single Combat Warrior against Sarah Palin, they will lose.
His recent comments on “60 Minutes” about Palin’s statement that her selection as John McCain’s VP was part of “God’s plan” was — nudge, nudge — pneumonic scorn that, in the context of the other reports edited by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, quite obviously intended to caricature Palin’s simple and sincere expression of Christian faith to an “upscale” secular audience.
“President Obama is leading an extreme, left-wing crusade to bankrupt America.”
This is not from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or the winged monkeys at Fox. Not from tax protester Rick Perry, not from Sarah Palin, not from RINO hunter Ted Nugent.
It is from John McCain in a recent fundraising appeal.
The old adage about third parties in American politics is that they’re like bees: They sting once and then they die. Ralph Nader and Ross Perot altered election outcomes. But neither could get a third party going. I have little doubt that the Tea Party will have a substantial impact on the 2010 midterms and even the 2012 presidential election. The bigger question is, Will they become a permanent force in American politics that can challenge both Democrats and Republicans, or will they fizzle?
How ironic that as soon as Michael Steele, the RNC chairman, announced that the Republicans didn’t have a chance to capture the House, Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd announced that they were quitting the Senate.
Steele is brilliant. His strategy must have been to fake them out. Tell the Democrats that we don’t have a chance to win so they feel more comfortable in calling it quits.
History turns in a moment: Harper’s Ferry, Trafalgar, Dien Bien Phu. The Democrats may have seen such a moment with Sen. Ben Nelson this week in Nebraska, so it might be worth marking that page. At year’s end it is worth looking forward to what is likely to rise ahead. These four will be key: Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and William Daley.
We need to cut Michael Steele some slack. If someone is willing to pay him big bucks to make a speech, he'd be a fool to say no. True, he has gotten into trouble about some of the dopey things he's said, but he may as well make some money for them.
It's not that there's a conflict of interest; Democrats in particular should realize that. They constantly charge that Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Steele heads a party that always favors the wealthy — those who can afford to pay for his words of wisdom.
A.B. Stoddard and Republican strategist John Feehery discuss how the Republican Party could open itself up to a centrist base, and how the abortion amendment might be the downfall of the Democrats' healthcare bill.