Kristine Kaiser: Obama’s shift will spawn Tea Party breakaway

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 02:37 AM

There’s a scramble going on. Politics are in flux. When President Obama turned to the left and affirmed liberalism, he upset the status quo, making way for a few changes. Obama was once positioned as a right-leaning moderate on the political spectrum, and his legitimate opposition was a Tea Party conservative. That’s how it all lined up.
But with Obama’s hard turn to the left, he also pulls the opposition to the left. The legitimate opposition becomes a moderate Republican and the Tea Party breaks off and becomes a fringe group. Obama’s dramatic turn to the left alters every aspect of politics and forecasts some unsettling realities for the Republican Party and the nation.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio goes from being a Tea Party darling to “the savior,” the “path to citizenship” immigration reformer. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with his Hurricane Sandy leadership, is mostly moderate. The problem is that the Tea Party purged the GOP of its moderates. Conservatives have no use for the moderates. Still, the moderates are currently the in-crowd; they are the mainstream in a left-center world.
Karl Rove seeks more moderate candidates for future elections; he can see the writing on the wall. A more moderate candidate takes into account the president’s turn to the left and the new politics.
More Republicans will be changing their stripes to fit the political realities. We will see more bi-partisanship, more cooperation from at least a portion of the GOP. But will the establishment GOP have enough moderates to improve governing, to make the Congress functional?
I doubt it. While some Republicans will morph with the times, others will be lost in the politics of negativity; they will not legislate but will continue with obstruction.
The GOP has defined itself through opposition for such a long time. Republicans no longer know what they stand for. Rather than developing its positions, the GOP has depended on money from “Citizens United” sources. The GOP came to believe that it had enough money to win elections no matter what its stances on issues. The party thought it could win without appealing to voters. That was its biggest mistake in 2012.
The GOP is certain to split, and I say that the alienated Tea Party will form a third party in 2016. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be its leaders. The Tea Party should have fallen off as a fringe group, but that is not the case. It will be adequately funded from the likes of “Citizen United.” Large donors prevent its demise.
The new third party will have plenty of money and be able to compete in a national election. Its platform will be extreme. Its roots will be in obstructionism, and it will be the “anti” party.  It will be a party of opposition. Its members will make headlines until 2016, nixing all Obama’s moves.
The civil war between establishment GOPers and the Tea Party members becomes a permanent rift in the future. I say that while moderates will emerge from the GOP, it is most likely that there will be a stronger, more inflexible Tea Party. The Tea Party will compete with the self-weakened moderate faction and politics become a boiling pot.
Certainly, Obama’s shift on the political spectrum makes overall politics much more extreme. There is now a radical faction to Obama’s left as well. These are the fabled socialists who GOPers only imagined in the past. Unsure, soft, GOP moderates are on Obama’s right. Recalcitrant Tea Partiers are just out there. The outlook for politics is not good.

Kristine Kaiser is a writer living in Kernersville. Contact her for comments at: Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.