Who's the TEA PARTY for?
Peter Lawler is Dana Professor of Government and former chair of the department of Government and International Studies at Berry College. He serves as executive editor of the journal Perspectives on Political Science, and has been chair of the politics and literature section of the American Political Science Association. He also served on the editorial board of the new bilingual critical edition of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He has written or edited fifteen books and over 200 articles and chapters in a wide variety of venues. He was the 2007 winner of the Weaver Prize in Scholarly Letters.\r\n\r\nLawler served on President Bush's Council on Bioethics from 2004 – 09. His most recent book, Modern and American Dignity, is available from ISI Books.\r\n\r\nFollow him on Twitter @peteralawler.
That's the question Bill Schneider asks in his somewhat unfriendly but useful article. He surveys the likely 2012 Republican presidential candidates with the support of Tea Partiers in mind.
The Tea Party voter, Bill explains, is like the "country club" Republican in being more about fiscal than social issues. But the Tea Partier is less likely tcompromise, and, I have to add, is more likely to believe that we're in the midst of a constitutional crisis.
The Tea Party is demographicallly more similar to the "values" (or, as I say, virtue) voters. Its members to go to church a lot and to country clubs not so much. But they tend to believe that if the constitutional issues are resolved according to the principles of (very) limited government and federalism, the social issues will take care of themselves.
Bill says what I already told you: Sarah Palin is yesterday's news and probably won't run.
The Tea Partiers really like Rep, Michele Bachman, the one who had trouble giving her response to the president on State of the Union night. The mainstream media outlets would love to get to kick her around the way they did poor Sarah. But it's very unlikely she can expand her base beyond Tea enthusiasts. The Tea Party, Bill rightly says, is the most dynamic part of the Republican Party now, but it's nowhere near a majority.
It won't be a good year for values candidates such as Huckabee and Santorum, who will be perceived--and not without reason--as squishy on the fiscal issues.
Romney also looks way too squishy or flip-floppy from a Tea view.
So my eyes turn, once again, to the resolute fiscal conservatism of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Daniels is somewhat charisma challenged, unlike our beautiful, eloquent, and tall president. (The whole state of Indiana is, let's face it, a yawner.) But Bill adds that his ticket could be balanced in many ways by the highly charismatic and wonderfully admirable Tea Party favorite Senator Rubio of Florida. And I have to add that Gov. Daniels is born to be wild enough to regularly ride his motorcyle, unlike our more cautious president.
Mitch, if you think about it, is also a cool name.
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