I thought the following was interesting – it is a personal reply to me from a guy who is VERY high up within the GOP political establishment. He seems like a very reasonable and educated guy, so I put the question to him – how can you folks (the GOP) stand what is going on?
His answer is quite informative:
“The Tea Party is a short term destabilizing force in current-day party politics, and the GOP does not want it to survive, period. Now, we’re not going to affirmatively and visibly attack them, however soft power is being used to subsume/absorb them into the GOP, as they grow weary of the game and fizzle out. The main complaint about the Tea Party, and let’s be clear here, that is the identified source and origin of most of this, is that they are an unorganized group of political amateurs, who have forsaken responsibility and moderation for publicity and the quick flash of what they perceive is “power.”
They are trading hate for votes, and we know it. The problem from our side, from the national GOP side, is that the media has focused on them because they make a good story… and this creates the internal perception of “power” amongst the Tea Party “leadership,” which serves to reinforce their own perceptions of self-correctness, which in turn emboldens them to continue acting as before, because it got them attention, so it must work, right? It’s a positive feedback loop.
The prime impact of this is, in addition to their rhetoric, which in direct answer to your question, GOP politicians seriously do not favor or condone, is the activation of the extremists. The problem with that is the extremists are generally of a lower social and mental level, seriously, and not joking. They are spurred to anger and action quicker. This feeds that positive feedback loop I mentioned. The secondary impact of this, which is actually the primary interest in my business and of politicians, is that the Tea Party is screwing up the order of things. They are sapping strength from the GOP, pulling some independent (or as we say, blank) voters into the active electorate, and screwing up elections. They have no experienced leadership, constantly screw up cross endorsements, and if you don’t say the “magic words” they want to hear, they scream from the rafters that you are against them, which takes those voters along with it. So, they hurt us. Now, you have to realize that generally, the GOP or the Dems do not control many local elections, so to speak. For example, we control 45%, the Dems control 45%, and neither of us “win” unless we get support from a third party (or your candidate really sucks, whichever). We’ll say that third party has 10% of the votes, but man, that’s serious leverage in an election. You can use your 10% to punch a lot higher than your actual 10%, its all leverage. So we deal with the third parties, and so do the Dems, to get their endorsements. We don’t like having to go hat in hand to these people, but we do what we must, because our business is running elected government, and that’s how its done. The Tea Party sees this, and wants to become another third party. They like the power. They get the power from the feedback loop,
1-Extreme words and actions, leads to
2-Media attention and voter identification/activation, leads to
3-Perceived power, leads to
So, we, the party insiders, do not see them as building our base. We see it as eroding our base. Seriously. We don’t like it, we don’t want it, and we are waiting for it to be over. If we can quietly expedite that, all the better. In effect, we want their flames to die down, then we’ll throw their glowing coal into the back of our stove, and use it. Its not “real” politics, as we see it. Its a flash in the pan group brought about by the current economic times (bad) and the current social environment (gay marriage, illegal immigration). We want the “same old, same old” back… and so do the Dems, trust me. We have spent billions learning how to run the “same old, same old.” We do well in that environment, why would we ever want to change it.
Somewhat long, I know, but there you have it. We don’t like the extremists, the Tea Party is their public face, and their effect upon “us” (the GOP) is a net negative.”
I’ve never heard it expressed so clearly……