On the GOP ticket.

An anonymous reader asks: “How do not so Conservative candidates like Romney/Ryan get picked with such huge influences like the Tea Party movement?”

How did the GOP end up with a seemingly moderate or weak conservative ticket in spite of the Tea Party’s influence? I assume you’re referring to economic conservatism, because both candidates are socially conservative (Ryan solidly, Romney squishily).

First, math: Tea Partiers do not constitute a majority of Republicans. But this alone doesn’t explain it, because moderates (e.g., Romney, at least during most of his career) also do not constitute a majority of Republicans.

Second, the Tea Party is relatively new, which means their favorite guys need to gain experience and exposure before they can reasonably be expected to make a worthwhile run for the White House.

I think that four of the GOP hopefuls could reasonably be called Tea Party favorites: Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry. Ron Paul was too libertarian and too much of a longshot to get much support from the rest of the GOP. The other three had fatal flaws as campaigners (aside from their other flaws): Bachmann looked and acted like an alien in a human costume, Cain was sunk by a sex scandal, and Perry was the worst debater on Earth. From the Tea Party’s perspective, it was a hastily and shoddily assembled field.

So most of the Republicans who were in a stronger position to run for President weren’t Tea Partiers, and never faced any real pressure to rein in government spending, thus they don’t have very conservative voting records on economic issues (Ron Paul’s the exception). But in 2016, there will probably be more Tea Partiers ready to run for President– either to succeed Obama or to challenge Romney in the primaries.

4 comments

  1. I don’t know if I would consider Ryan a solid economic conservative. He has a bad record for voting for bailouts. He must not trust the free market very much. Nor is voting for No Child Left Behind. I find it very hard to label someone an economic Conservative when they end up voting for spending more money for either bailouts or big government programs.

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  2. I didn’t call Ryan an economic conservative, because he hasn’t been one. In addition to what you mentioned, he also voted for TARP and Medicare Part D. But I should have more specifically stated that Ryan, though far more economically conservative than Obama, Biden, or Romney, hasn’t been an economic conservative.

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  3. Do you think the Republican Party will change due to the Libertarian influences from the Tea Party? I can honestly say I have come across many others who are in the prime of their youth like me who are Libertarian minded Republicans. On another note, who would you like to see on a ticket for P/VP?

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  4. The Republicans will change in direct proportion to the growth of the Tea Party and the libertarians. If those two groups decide to remain with the GOP while promoting Tea Party ideas and libertarian ideals, and they keep voting for their favored candidates, then the GOP will, by definition, change.

    Preferred ticket? POTUS. Me. Veep: Alternate universe version of me with handlebar moustache.

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