Republicans: Political purges may work in totalitarian states, but in a democracy they can be self-defeating. The senator who called the Tea Party "wacko birds" should realize the GOP's real enemies are called Democrats.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who lost the 2008 election to Barack Obama and who is running for re-election in 2016, wants to pull the Arizona portion of the grass-roots movement known as the Tea Party out by the roots and purge the ranks of the Arizona GOP of precinct committeemen and local party chairmen aligned to the Tea Party.
Local McCain opponent A.J. LaFaro, who has announced that he will not seek re-election to the Maricopa County GOP chairmanship, has compared the McCain organization's attempted party purge of Tea Party supporters to "ethnic cleansing."
McCain apparently has forgotten that, two years after he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when his "next in line" establishment candidacy sputtered into oblivion (like the candidacies of Bob Dole before and Mitt Romney after), it was the Tea Party, a movement of people outraged by a Godzilla-sized government that was regulating and taxing away their freedoms and forcing ObamaCare down their throats, that gave the GOP House control and made John Boehner speaker.
In 2010, McCain survived a primary challenge but bristled when he was censured by the Arizona Republican Party in a resolution that, stating the obvious, noted he had "associated with liberal Democrats." The resolution merely echoed the suggestions by others that the GOP half of the McCain-Feingold campaign "reform" legislation should, instead of just reaching across the aisle, simply defect to the party he seems to be more comfortable with.
McCain bristles at the fact that non-establishment Republicans and Tea Party favorites such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky have gained national prominence and are possible GOP nominees.
He calls them "wacko birds" and Tea Party activists "hobbits" for visibly and vigorously opposing the Obama administration's illegal and unconstitutional power grabs. He also remembers how another Tea Party favorite, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, gained his seat by first gaining control of local party posts and the nominating delegates.
That McCain might be more comfortable as a Democrat has long been evident. The man who has said that it would be a "tough choice" to pick between Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton for president relishes the liberal media's designation of him as a "maverick." When Sen. John Kerry ran for president in 2004, McCain said that he would "seriously entertain" the idea of accepting an invitation to be Kerry's running mate. Kerry has said that McCain actually approached him with the idea.
In 2004, McCain, who had voted against the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, and who said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that he was against extending them, also said, "My party has gone astray" and "The Democratic Party is a fine party, and I have no problems with it, in their views and their philosophy."
Is it no wonder he ran such a milquetoast campaign in 2008 and lost? President Obama won re-election in 2012 by playing to his base. If the GOP hopes to win in 2016, it would be advised not to make war on its base as McCain is doing but, as the saying goes, dance with those who brought it to victory in 2010 and re-invigorated a party that seized the Senate in 2014.
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