Thursday, November 05, 2009

Are TEA Partiers Perotistas? Social Questions or Kitchen Table?

We've maintained that the TEA Party folks are not (R)-driven. Babbin goes a step further.

As Newt Gingrich told me in August -- at the height of the town hall uprising against Obamacare -- the Tea Partyers seem to be the same kind of people who rose up in anger to support Ross Perot in 1992.

Perot’s “Reform Party” achieved 20% of the 1992 vote, enough to enable Democrat Bill Clinton to gain the White House. Incumbent George H.W. Bush was seen as an ultimate Washington insider who had distanced himself too much from the policies of the president who he had served for the preceding eight years. The Perotistas were people highly distrustful, fed up with Congress and Washington politics which they believed was ignoring them.

The 1992 exit polls told the tale. Perot voters were made up (in almost equal parts) of all ages, all races and both genders. Fifteen percent were Democrats and twenty-one percent were Republicans but -- most importantly -- thirty-three percent were independents.

Hmmm. The phrase "kitchen table" is all about economics. That's generally "jobs," with second place divided between "taxes" and "leave-me-alone."


Ross Perot ran a campaign based almost entirely on the idea of reining in federal spending. And when Americans are losing jobs, fearing for the safety of their home investments and looking at what Washington is spending, that’s a kitchen table issue just as much as healthcare.

There's a nuance on the social issues, too, which plays into all this. (HT: Deekaman)

So why – in what was clearly a Republican year – did Hoffman lose? Well, there are several reasons and, yes, the Democratic victory was narrow, thinner than the five or so percent that went to withdrawn Republican nominee Scozzafava who herself endorsed the Democratic candidate. Still, the 23rd is a safely Republican, even conservative, district. In a year where the GOP racked up a 20% margin in Virginia and coasted easily in Jersey, a state in which Obama romped in ‘08 by 16%, what was the problem?

Well… I might as well say it… social conservatism. America is a fiscally conservative country – now perhaps more than ever, and with much justification – but not a socially conservative one. No, I don’t mean to say it’s socially liberal. It’s not. It’s socially laissez-faire (just as its mostly fiscally laissez-faire). Whether we’re pro-choice, pro-life or whatever we are, most of us want the government out of our bedrooms, just as we want it out of our wallets.

("Smitty" of the Winning McCain agrees.)

So. One could gather that a successful candidate WILL be a fiscal conservative and WILL be against Gummint ninny-nanny-ism. That candidate MAY be a social conservative or not; either way, those issues should be kept in the background. Not buried, but in the background.

McArdle is on the same path. She quotes a commenter:

So the question for me is, can the Republicans accomodate a northern wing that is middling conservative, but very different in outlook from its southern wing? Or will they abandon that part of the political spectrum to conservative Democrats?

...and she goes on to provide a bit more information.

My grandparents were hard core Republicans. My grandmother still won't let you say mean things about (either) George Bush in her presence. They lived in a hard core Republican district--I think Wayne County is the reddest in New York State. But it's not Republican the way that, say, the Florida panhandle is Republican. If my family had lived in one of the redder areas of the South, I doubt I could have missed it.

Social conservatism just isn't the main issue there. Abortion will be legal no matter what happens on the federal level, and a lot of local Republicans are perfectly fine with that. Evolution will be taught in the schools.
What animates Republicans in the upstate is a deep economic conservatism. ...

(Her description of NYState's economic situation is very germane to Wisconsin folks, by the way.)

One more thing. If Babbin, Gingrich, McArdle, and "Simon" of PJMedia are correct, then the successful (D) will be very leery of noisily espousing social libertinism. They, too, should concentrate on economic issues. That will be difficult, as the Trotskyite in the White House (and the Speaker of the House) is now their 'brand', as well as a source of money.

Think Barrett can pull that off? If so, he will be a viable candidate. Not necessarily a winner--after all, he has to almost publicly repudiate Doyle economics and the Union Gang to do so.



Headless Blogger said...

"Still, the 23rd is a safely Republican, even conservative, district."

Dad29 - I call bullshit on that statement. NY23 has swung back and forth since 1973, but was solidly Democrat going back to before the New Deal (Source: Wikipedia/Credit to caller on Michael Medved show).

But we can't let the facts get in the way of the conventional wisdom.

micheal jackson said...
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micheal jackson said...

Interesting stuff, check out the wide range of Discount Kitchen Tables from