Monday, February 15, 2010

Going Home

The tea partiers have decided to do more than just hold, well, tea parties. They've decided to take over the Republican Party one precinct at a time, which, if you think about it, is a pretty smart move on their part.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Across the country, tea party groups that had focused on planning rallies are educating members on how to run for GOP precinct representative positions. The representatives help elect county party leaders, who write the platform and, in some places, determine endorsements.

"That's where it all starts. That's where the process of picking candidates begins. It's not from [GOP leader] Michael Steele's office down. It's from the ground up," said Philip Glass, whose National Precinct Alliance is among the groups advocating the strategy. "The party is over for the old guard." ...

In Arizona and Ohio, Republican Party officials report an increase in candidates running for precinct positions, which often sit open because of a lack of interest.

In South Carolina, a coalition of tea party groups has made a formal agreement with the state GOP to urge its members to get engaged at the precinct level.

In Nevada, a group of "constitutional conservatives" working under the tea party banner has already taken control of the Republican Party in the Las Vegas area, gaining enough strength to elect six of the seven members of the county executive committee.
[Emphasis added]

I have to admit that I was kind of hoping these people were going to form their own party, one that would split off just enough voters from the Republican Party to give the Democrats a second chance at governing. As I thought about it again this morning, however, taking the Republican Party even further to the right (yes, that is possible) might have the same effect. The tea baggers are a diverse group with lots of diverse ideals, many of them unbelievably squirrely. Will enough voters turn out for a candidate who still maintains that President Obama is ineligible to hold his office because he wasn't born in the United States? How many people will vote for a candidate who believes that the best way to govern is through prayer? Some, certainly, but enough to take over the country? I don't think so.

I'll tell you what, though: this is a good strategy on their part, one that we liberals should be paying attention to and emulating. Getting involved in the process at the precinct level is a pretty good way to start getting more liberals elected at the state and local level. And it's also a good way to push the party into a more honestly representative model. Ringing doorbells and making phone calls are important, but being in on the decision making process is just as important, perhaps even more so. It certainly would get our party's Old Guard's attention. That in itself would be an improvement.

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Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Diane. I'm so out of the loop. Didn't know you were back to blogging. Totally agree. I did a similar post a while back. Getting involved on the local preceint level is exactly what progs should be doing. I've seen it work in real life.

8:17 AM  

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