When Sarah Palin made her $100,000 speech at the recent Tea Party Convention in Nashville, she made the comment that the Republicans would be wise to absorb the Tea Party. Her comment came at the end of a convention that courted the Tea Party attendees with the common Tea Party themes, and yet their attendance came at a hefty price. In other words, you might say it combined the best of both worlds for the GOP. Tell the conventioneers what they want to hear, while charging them top dollar to be there. Some true Tea Party members noticed the ploy and spoke out, while some protested. Whether Palin let the comment about combining the two was intentional or a slip up, well, who knows. But there it was, the giant “elephant” in the room, and speaking directly from the podium.
It certainly wasn’t the first time people speculated that the GOP was trying to hijack the Tea Party, and will no doubt be the last. Now the same theme is about to play out again, it seems. Enter Florida’s “King of the Tea Party” candidate, Marco Rubio.
Rubio has long been campaigning as if he were a genuine Tea Bagger boy for a while now. His latest jump into the “Flat Earth Society” as a Global Warming denier illustrates his tack towards the Tea Party. He’s sticking to a similar playbook. He’s campaigning like a Tea Bagger, but he’s fundraising like a Republican. After all, not all those Tea Party members are buying what the GOP candidates are selling, and let’s face it, you can’t raise big campaign money with the 600 or so who showed up for that convention. They probably can’t afford it either. Anyone who really pays attention can see that the Tea Party rhetoric of “small government” and complaints against “big spending” do not make sense coming from the GOP, the party that wants to privatize everything and cut taxes for the rich while destroying the middle class and driving those very Tea Bagger supporters into bankruptcy. No, eventually the lust for campaign cash will bring out those true GOP colors faster than you can say “Earl Grey.”
So what do you suppose Marco Rubio will be doing this week in Washington? Well, he’ll be fundraising, but with a minimum contribution of $1,000, I would venture to guess there won’t be anyone sporting a hat with tea bags dangling from the brim, braids made of white yarn underneath and a cheap American flag poking out of the top anywhere in sight. No, no. For that he wants real Republicans with money to burn, the kind of big bucks that only come from die-hard GOP families for whom running for office is a business, and those members driven out of office after years of corruption and the threat of indictments. In other words, the Bush family, former Bush Administration members, and everyone’s favorite smarmy indicted, ousted from office, and recent dancing disgrace Tom DeLay. (Do you suppose he’ll be sporting those sequins and tights?)
Here are some of the fundraisers, from The Washington Post:
“Jebby,” as Bush Jr. is known, is the son of the former Florida governor, who hasn’t taken a public position in the GOP primary fight between Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist, although many of his past aides — as well as his son! — are backing the former state legislator.
Among the other boldface names sponsoring the Rubio event on Wednesday night are Bush White House political director Matt Schlapp, former ambassador Mary Ourisman, and former Tom DeLay aides Brett Loper and Drew Maloney.
The minimum contribution for the event is $1,000, the maximum $4,800. In the final three months of 2009, Rubio, who nearly dropped from the race after struggling to stay financially competitive with Crist, collected $1.75 million — nearly matching the $2 million that Crist brought in.
Yes, Tea Baggers, take note, because nothing says “fiscal responsibility” like a couple million just to run a campaign, right? Right.
As a candidate, Marco Rubio, and the GOP may be courting votes as “Tea Party” value candidates, but they are campaigning and raising money like typical Republicans. Any member of the “Tea Party” or a self-proclaimed “Tea Bagger” who votes for them thinking they will govern with those same values will be sadly disappointed when they get nothing but snake oil instead of tea in return after the election.
The GOP is in trouble after eight years in power, and the rest of the country is paying for it while living in the mess they made and they need lots of votes to make a comeback. That’s where the “absorption” of the Tea Party by the GOP that Sarah Palin spoke of comes in. They want to exploit those who are disgruntled at the moment against their own interests, and they will say anything those voters want to hear. They did that very thing by selling Scott Brown to the “Tea Party” in Massachusetts, and he drove his truck right through that unhappy void all the way to Washington D.C.
Now they’re trying for the same result in future elections. Looks like the latest move is with Rubio, raising money with “Jebby” Bush Jr., Tom DeLay and the crew who drove us off the cliff in the first place.
Tea Party members would do themselves a favor and ask if they want to eat the dust of that big cash laden semi as it attempts to finish the job in 2012.