Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mass. election refutes weak tea conservatism

If Republican Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts special election Tuesday, the Bay State will have its first GOP senator since the era when disco was king. And Brown will have the much-derided Tea Party legions to thank. They've turned out in force, hoping he'll provide the vote needed to strangle Obamacare. That ought to give pause to the "reformist" conservatives insisting that Reagan-Goldwater conservatism is dead. Yet the reformists' unofficial leader, former Bush speechwriter David Frum, puts a different spin on what Massachusetts portends. Brown is no "talk-radio conservative," Frum maintains: As a state senator, he "voted in favor of Mitt Romney's health plan" and supported greenhouse gas curbs. It would be "a travesty" if his victory empowered "anger, paranoia and extremism," which is how Frum characterizes rank-and-file "rejectionism." But it isn't a desire for Romneyish RINOism that has Tea Partiers sleeping on couches and getting the vote out for Brown. They're Exhibit A in what Frum recently termed the "furious rejectionist frenzy" motivating the GOP base. "It's the rank and file who are the problem here!" Frum exclaimed: It has hamstrung GOP leaders by preventing them from cutting deals with President Obama. Whatever Tuesday's result, this much is clear: The small-government movement has little to learn from Weak Tea Conservatives like Frum, whose desperate search for relevance blinds them to the facts on the ground...read more

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