National establishment-type Republicans have reportedly been worried for months that the Tea Bagging frenzy that they started may actually damage their plans for the 2010 midterm elections. If recent events are any indication, then they certainly have reason to fear such a development. In New York we now have a Democrat coming to Congress from a district that has gone (moderate) Republican for many years. Rather than trying to get a win in a safe Republican district the Teetotalers, fueled by the new GOP leadership (Palin/Limbaugh/Beck) decided to take down the Republican themselves. Now those same extreme elements are actually forming a third (Tea) Party in Florida to compete with Democrats and Republicans. This made me wonder which of our "favorite" Wisconsin Republicans would run on a hypothetical Tea Party ticket here?
In my own personal view, I don't think that a Tea Party would work in Wisconsin because you already have an extreme right wing party here otherwise known as the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The Sconz blog made a similar observation in a posting yesterday but it can't be repeated enough. The RPW has been fully and completely radicalized over the last number of years and I have a very difficult time thinking of any moderates that still remain. I'm not sure exactly when this happened but I would probably peg it sometime toward the end of the Thompson era and the beginning of the Bush nightmare.
If there still was a traditionally "Republican Party" in the State of Wisconsin, I wonder which members of the current extreme version would bolt and actually run on a Tea Ticket. Here are 2 ½ people that immediately came to my mind as I pondered this question:
- Leah Vukmir would have to be on your list of top Tea Party recruits. After taking a look at her comments in the media or even just following her Twitter feed for a while, she is already there ideologically speaking. Whether it is her official membership in the "tenther" movement or her supportive comments to an extreme right wing blogger Tweeting racist jokes about the President, she already has the extreme Tea Party platform down pat.
- Half of Scott Walker would probably try to join the Tea Party while leaving the other half in the RPW just to play it safe. Heck, I think that Walker would even consider pulling a "David Clarke" if he thought that it would help him win a statewide election. The half of Scott Walker that would join the Tea Party is the same half that was more than happy to throw out the red meat to the extremes at any number of events that he has already attended. The half of Scott Walker that wouldn't join is the half that realizes that he eventually has to appeal to more than just the extreme right wing base.
- J.B. Van Hollen has already demonstrated that he would abuse the court system when someone says something that he doesn't like. He has shown that he would toss out career crime fighters while promoting political cronies to official and very sensitive positions. He has also shown that he is more than willing to abuse his office for political gain and to advance a hyper-extreme agenda in Wisconsin. Why wouldn't he jump into a Tea Party ticket since it is much closer to his own personal extreme world view?
Those are just the first 2 1/2 that popped into my mind but there are many more in the RPW that would fit much better into a Florida-style Tea Party. Unfortunately that is also the reason that a Tea Party is probably not going to happen here. Quite simply it already exists, and it goes by the name Republican Party of Wisconsin.
UPDATE: Heartland Hollar is pointing out that Paul Ryan, F. Jim Sensenbrenner, and Tom Petri are bringing a major teabagger target to Wisconsin. Heartland Hollar wonders what Wisconsin teabaggers think of them apples?
And The Chief has a telling statement from the "lord of the teabaggers".