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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Civil War within the GOP

“…. that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

Yesterday Houston lawyer Rafael "Ted" Cruz easily won a runoff election Tuesday to become the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Texas, underscoring how tea-party activists are upending this year's GOP primary contests.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Mr. Cruz, a tea-party favorite, defeated Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the candidate backed by most of the state GOP establishment, including Gov. Rick Perry. He led by 57% to 43%, with 96% of the state's 7,957 precincts reporting.

Mr. Cruz will hold a commanding advantage in the general election in heavily Republican Texas, which hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. His Democratic opponent in November will be Paul Sadler, a former state representative who defeated retired educator Grady Yarbrough in the Democratic runoff. The winner will fill the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Mr. Cruz's win "is the biggest victory for the tea party to date," said Tom Jensen, director of Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. A May poll by the firm showed Mr. Dewhurst with a 17-point lead, but a July 29 poll of likely GOP voters found a complete reversal, with Mr. Cruz ahead by 10 points.

Mr. Dewhurst said he called Mr. Cruz to concede, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Cruz, 41 years old, is a Harvard Law School graduate and the son of a Cuban immigrant father. He won the backing of Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. He favors allowing states to pass Arizona-style legislation targeting illegal immigration and has called for reducing income-tax rates and federal spending, including shuttering agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

After law school, Mr. Cruz was the first Latino to clerk for the nation's top jurist when he was picked by former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Texas solicitor general and won cases before the Supreme Court supporting the Pledge of Allegiance, the right to display the Ten Commandments on state grounds and Texas' right to execute a Mexican citizen convicted of murder. More recently, Mr. Cruz has been a partner in Houston for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, one of the nation's leading corporate law firms.

The Texas Republican primary was viewed nationally as a test of the strength of the tea-party movement, which played an insurgent role in 2010 congressional races and this year targeted several big-name GOP lawmakers considered insufficiently conservative, with mixed results.

Tea-party activists scored a major GOP primary victory in May when they toppled longtime Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar by backing state treasurer Richard Mourdock, but were unable to oust Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who beat back a primary challenge in June from former state Senator Dan Liljenquist.

Mr. Dewhurst, 66, who has been lieutenant governor since 2003, seemed on his way to an easy victory after finishing first by 10 points in the May primary—but it wasn't enough of a margin to avoid a runoff.

Harvey Tucker, a political-science professor at Texas A&M University, said the vote should reverberate through state GOP circles. "The race shows it's not necessary to have a track record in the state so long as you capture enough financial support," he said.

Mr. Cruz received considerable assistance from super PACs, including FreedomWorks for America, a tea party-affiliated group. Super PACs spent more than $7 million supporting Mr. Cruz and opposing Mr. Dewhurst. Mr. Cruz "is a great orator who articulates our values and energizes people," said Brendan Steinhauser, FreedomWorks' director of federal and state campaigns.

"People keep asking, 'Is the tea party still alive?' " Mr. DeMint said Tuesday. "I saw it, and it was pretty alive in Texas."

The race had been closely watched nationally as one of the nation's most-vivid contrasts between the GOP mainstream and grassroots, conservative activists. But as results began to pour in, it turned out to be no contest. Cruz grabbed early leads in key cities around the state where Dewhurst had once enjoyed stronger name recognition, fundraising and political organization just weeks earlier.

Overseeing the state Senate from the powerful lieutenant governor's postAPTOPIX Texas Senate Race since 2003, Dewhurst was long considered a slam dunk in his race with Cruz, the former state solicitor general and son of a Cuban immigrant. Dewhurst had the endorsement of much of Texas' Republican mainstream, including Gov. Rick Perry, who despite his failed run for president was still widely popular back home. He also had a $200 million personal fortune he could dip into at will and did, loaning his Senate campaign at least $24.5 million.

But Cruz has a fiery stage presence that made tea party supporters across the state swoon, and received millions from national, conservative organizations which targeted Dewhurst as too moderate. Even though the lieutenant governor oversaw some of the most-conservative state legislative sessions in Texas history and helped speed the passage of laws requiring women to undergo a sonogram before having an abortion and voters to show identification at the polls, he also occasionally compromised with Democratic lawmakers to keep the legislative agenda moving.

Cruz memorized the U.S. Constitution while in high school and successfully painted his opponent as wishy-washy — even though they actually disagree on little, either politically or ideologically.

The 41-year-old Cruz had never run for political office but bolstered his political credentials arguing in front of the state Supreme Court as the longest-serving solicitor general in Texas history.

Cruz's father Rafael is a pastor outside Dallas. He fought with Fidel Castro's rebels in Cuba before Castro took power and eventually embraced communism, and the elder Cruz fled to the U.S. with nothing but $100 sowed into his underwear.

Texas Republicans aren't used to losing: The state has not elected a Democrat statewide since 1994. But Cruz attacked Dewhurst from the right, and the lieutenant governor's campaign had no real answer.

Besides Perry and other state GOP big guns, Dewhurst was endorsed by former baseball great Nolan Ryan. Dewhurst also won the endorsements of former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who finished third in the Republican primary, and ex-NFL running back and ESPN commentator Craig James, the primary's fourth-place primary finisher.

None of it was enough.

Cruz got millions from national tea party groups and other conservative organizations including the Washington-based Club for Growth. He was endorsed by ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, radio talk show hosts Glen Beck and Mark Levine, U.S. Senators. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Kentucky's Rand Paul, as well as former GOP presidential hopeful and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

At a morning campaign stop in Houston, Cruz said he heard from voters statewide interested in changing what they view as insider-politics in Washington.

Cruz has drawn comparisons to Indiana, where state Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary. But in Texas, the nation's second-most populous state, a win by a tea party-backed candidate is likely to resonate even more.

If there is a civil war within the GOP the landslide victory of Ted Cruz was tantamount to the Battle of Gettysburg. The elites in the Republican Party have been downplaying the Tea Party ever since the 2010 elections when, with Tea Party support, three U.S. Senators and 67 House Members were elected. They also were able to turn 69 state legislatures from blue to red including Wisconsin. Here is a brief summary of what various Tea Parties have accomplished:

2009 – The election of Chris Christie as governor in the blue state of New Jersey

2009 – The election Bob MacDonald as governor in Virginia

2009 – The election of Scott Brown to fill Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in the very blue state of Massachusetts.

2010 – The election of Rand Paul to the Senate in Kentucky

2010 – The election of Marco Rubio of Charlie Crist for the Senate in Florida.

2010 – The election of Utah’s Mike Lee to the Senate defeating Bob Bennett.

2010 – The election of Ron Johnson to the Senate in Wisconsin

2010 – The election of Scott Walker as governor of Wisconsin

2010 – The election of Nikki Halley as governor of South Carolina

2010 – the election of Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania

2012 – The reelection of Scott Walker over his recall.

2012 – The defeat of long serving Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana by Richard Mourdock.

The only loses for he Tea Party were Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharon Engel in Nevada, and Joe Miller’s defeat by the corrupt Murkowski machine in Alaska.

Founded in the Northern states in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Southern Democratic Party and the briefly popular Know Nothing Party. The main cause was opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise by which slavery was kept out of Kansas. The Northern Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting where the name "Republican" was suggested for a new anti-slavery party was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.

The Republicans' initial base was in the Northeast and the upper Midwest. With the realignment of parties and voters in the Third Party System, the strong run of John C. Fremont in the 1856 Presidential election demonstrated it dominated most northern states.

Early Republican ideology was reflected in the 1856 slogan "free labor, free land, free men", which had been coined by Salmon P. Chase, a Senator from Ohio (and future Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Justice of the United States). "Free labor" referred to the Republican opposition to slave labor and belief in independent artisans and businessmen. "Free land" referred to Republican opposition to plantation system whereby the rich could buy up all the good farm land and work it with slaves, leaving the yeoman independent farmers the leftovers. The Party strived to contain the expansion of slavery, which would cause the collapse of the slave power and the expansion of freedom.

Abraham Lincoln, representing the fast-growing western states, won the Republican nomination in 1860 and subsequently won the presidency. The party took on the mission of saving the Union and destroying slavery during the American Civil War and over Reconstruction. In the election of 1864, it united with pro-war Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket.

At the turn of the twentieth century progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette began moving the Republican Party towards bigger government and the progressivism expressed by John Dewey. After the progressive and socialistic administration of Woodrow Wilson they moved back towards smaller government and fiscal responsibility under Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Eventually with the stock market crash of 1929 and Herbert Hoover’s perceived inability to right the economy Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932.

Roosevelt was a true progressive who believed in the power of strong central government and although his policies did less to right the economy then Hoover’s the public believed Roosevelt was the answer. It took a world war to finally bring the nation out of the depression.

By now the Republican Party had learned that to get its members elected they had to be more like the Democrats. Power was more important than the principals of our Founders. Even when the GOP had control the presidency and congress it was under the leadership of progressives like Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole and the Bushes. While advocating the principles of Lincoln they still maintained the big government policies and fiscal irresponsibility of the statist and progressives — just a little less than the Democrats. There was a brief period when the GOP took a turn back to the principles of our Founders during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, but that period came to a close with his departure from the White House.

Meanwhile the Democrats moved more and more towards the progressive left. Supported by their allies in academia and the media they imposed more and more central government control over the people and spent money the people’s money to buy votes from people who wanted more from the government. They used class warfare and factionalism to maintain their power. State’s rights and the 10th Amendment were tossed into the trash can by imposing more and onerous federal regulations. Money was being spent on programs not enumerated in the Constitution like, education, medical care, home mortgages, and environmental programs. Crony capitalism between big government and big corporation became the rule of the day. As government grew so did the numbers of people working for the government and consequently do did their public service unions — unions that used the dues from their members to finance the elections of those who would grant them greater compensation and benefits.

When the TSA was formed after the terrorist’s attacks of 9/11 it was both Democrats and Republicans who supported the unionization of the agency. It was Republicans and Democrats who voted to create Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. The two parties were morphing into one progressive mass with the Democrats proudly proclaiming their statist progressivism and the Republicans claiming their belief on constitutional government while voting with the Democrats so they would not lose elections to those who promised more.

Cruz's victory coincides with something conservatives should celebrate, the centennial of the 20th century's most important intra-party struggle. By preventing former President Theodore Roosevelt from capturing the 1912 Republican presidential nomination from President William Howard Taft, the GOP deliberately doomed its chances for holding the presidency but kept its commitment to the Constitution.

Before Cruz, now 41, earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude, he wrote his Princeton senior thesis on the Constitution's Ninth and 10th Amendments, which if taken seriously would revitalize two bulwarks of liberty — the ideas that the federal government's powers are limited because they are enumerated, and that the enumeration of certain rights does not "deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Both ideas are repudiated by today's progressives, as they were by Theodore Roosevelt , whose Bull Moose Party, the result of his bolt from the GOP, convened in Chicago 100 years ago Sunday — Aug. 5, 1912.

After leaving the presidency in 1909, Roosevelt went off the rails. He had always chafed under constitutional restraints, but he had remained a Hamiltonian, construing the Constitution expansively but respectfully. By 1912, however, he had become what the Democratic nominee, Woodrow Wilson, was — an anti-Madisonian. Both thought the Constitution — the enumeration and separation of powers — intolerably crippled government.

Espousing unconstrained majoritarianism, Roosevelt disdained Madison's belief that the ultimate danger is wherever ultimate power resides, which in a democracy is with the majority. He endorsed the recall of state judicial decisions and by September 1912 favored the power to recall all public officials, including the president.

Theodore Roosevelt’s anti-constitutional excesses moved New York Senator. Elihu Root, who had served TR as secretary of war and secretary of state, and was Roosevelt's first choice to succeed him in 1908, and Massachusetts Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, who had long been one of TR's closest friends to oppose him. Both sided with Taft.

Root and Lodge, along with Taft, "denied TR the powerful electoral machinery of the Republican Party, which would almost surely have elected him, and then been turned to securing sweeping alterations" of the Constitution.

Wilson won with 41.8 percent of the vote (to TR's 27.4 percent). Taft won 23.2 percent, carrying only Vermont and Utah, but achieved something far grander than a second term — the preservation of the GOP as an intellectual counterbalance to the Democrats' thorough embrace of progressivism and the "living" — actually, disappearing — Constitution.

Today, many of the Tea Party's academic despisers portray it as anti-democratic and anti-intellectual. Actually, it stands, as the forgotten heroes of 1912 did, with Madison, the most intellectually formidable Founder.

Madison created, and the Tea Party defends, a constitutional architecture that does not thwart democracy but refines it, on the fact that in a republic, which is defined by the principle of representation, the people do not directly decide issues, they decide who will decide. And the things representatives are permitted to decide are strictly circumscribed by constitutional limits on federal power.

It was Madison who wrote in Federalist No. 10:

“The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished, as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.


The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well as speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities that where no substantial occasion presents itself the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government.”

TR sought to make these limits few — and as flimsy as cobwebs when the people chose to amend them by plebiscitary methods. The New Republic, then a voice of progressivism, ridiculed Root for being "committed to the theory of government, based upon natural rights" — the Declaration of Independence's theory of pre-political rights.

Root and Lodge believed, as does today's Tea Party, the rights proclaimed in the Declaration and the restrictions the Constitution imposes on government are inseparably linked, as Root said, to "the end that individual liberty might be preserved."

The GOP's defeat in 1912 — like that in 1964 under Barry Goldwater, whose spirit infuses the Tea Party — was profoundly constructive. By rejecting Theodore Roosevelt, it preserved the Constitution from capricious majorities and factions.

When Cruz comes to the Senate, he and like-minded Republicans — Utah's Mike Lee, Kentucky's Rand Paul, South Carolina's Jim DeMint, Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, Florida's Marco Rubio, and, if they win, Indiana's Richard Mourdock, Arizona's Jeff Flake and perhaps some others — can honor two exemplary senatorial predecessors by forming the small but distinguished Root-Lodge Caucus.

Political pundits like Karl Rove and Bill Kristol have phoophoed the Tea Party as divisive to the GOP and their chances of election. I think they are missing the point.

The Tea Party, and there are several, are not taking to the streets anymore like they did in 2009 and 2010. They are now organizing, raising money and actively campaigning for selected conservative candidates. Organizations such as The Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks Project 21, and Tea Party Patriots have learned to use the Internet, e-mail, and bloggers to get their message out. They have taken a page from the Left’s book and are putting it to good use.

Cruz’s landslide victory is also a vindication of Sarah Palin’s influence and power within the GOP. She was an early backer of Cruz and Mourdock and will be an influence in the general election. She has the ability to energize the conservative base, something the GOP needs if they wish to beat Obama and take control of the Senate. While the media and liberals hate her the conservative base loves her and the GOP needs the base to get out and votes in November. Mitt Romney and his advisors should take note.

Unlike the mindless Occupy Movement that wanders the streets, breaks windows, and causes a general disruptions the Tea Party stands for a return to Constitutional government and the 10th Amendment. They want less government, fiscal responsibility, and traditional American values. The Republican Party, over the past 100 years has become the party of big government and the Tea Party is trying to save the country by using the GOP as a vehicle and the elites don’t like it.

As Matt Kibbe, the CEO of FreedomWorks, stated in a radio interview with Glenn Beck it would be unrealistic to expect that the Tea Party or conservatives could replace congress with Constitutional Conservatives overnight or even in a few years. Kibbe also stated that it would be impossible, in the short term to obtain a 60 vote majority in the Senate, but with strong conservative leadership it would be possible to thwart the progressive agenda of the liberals. If the public can keep looking for true constitutional conservatives like Ted Cruz, Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio we can in a few years being to reverse the effects progressivism has fostered in this Republic for the past 100 years.

The Tea Party movement is neither dead nor irrelevant. It has morphed into a political force that has the ability to bring the Republican Party back to its roots. It will not be the basis of a third party as we know third parties do not work and only take voters away from one party or another as the Bull Moose Party did to Taft allowing the election of Woodrow Wilson.

It is the mission of the Tea Party to work within one party, namely the Republican Party, to take control as the liberals and progressives did to the Democratic Party. If Obama is reelected it is imperative that conservative, Tea Party supported candidates take control of the Senate and maintain control of the House.

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