Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are Tea Party Victories Good for Democrats?

Given last night's primary wins by Tea Party candidates, many have pointed to shifting tides in the electorate and the downfall of Democratic "dominance" in the legislature. I'll be the first to say that Democrats have lacked serious leadership and have been wracked with communication issues, leading to popular dissension. The Republicans now face the same dilemma.

Going even beyond Tea Party dogma, the candidates who won last night lack serious political credentials. Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for New York governor, was a Democrat until 2005, when he switched party affiliations. He was a Democrat for 31 years, he has been a Republican for five. On top of this, his extramarital affair (resulting in a child out of wedlock) might not sit well with social conservatives that Republicans have been courting hard as of late.

The other big winner last night is Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. O'Donnell is worried that America is turning to socialism and plans to fix Congress when she gets there, but the sad reality is that she cannot even balance her own checkbook. She claims that her financial struggles make her a sympathetic figure, but in reality it proves that she should not be in a position of power in a governmental body with a gargantuan budget. She rails against government spending, but is in debt herself. She may be good with social conservatives (anti-abortion, even in cases of rape; she goes beyond abstinence, she's anti-masturbation), but fiscally conservative she is not.

Tea Partiers may view last night as a victory, and in the short-term it might be. But these developments have two outcomes. Either these candidates lose because their experience in statewide contests is minimal or non-existent or they are elected and are woefully ineffective because of their ridiculous views and lack of political experience. Either way Tea Partiers lose. First of all, Paladino will not win against Cuomo, so there's no danger of him using eminent domain to prevent the Cordoba House's construction. As for O'Donnell, I don't know enough about Delaware politics to predict her victory or lack thereof. However, her medieval attitudes toward sex and her tax liens seem to point towards a dismal potential showing as a senator. While some Tea Party stances make sense (I like certain aspects of fiscal conservativeness) their views are diluted with xenophobic and ridiculous figureheads. The movement will be about as short-lived as Paladino's Republicanism.

Photo - Christine O'Donnell (l.) and Carl Paladino (Photoshop)

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