Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Tea Party Has Shot Its Bolt

This was the last Tea Party election. Like most uncompromising "know-nothing" movements, they fade away after about three elections because they don't get everything they want, and don't understand that all of politics requires compromise. 

To be sure, some politicians elected by the Tea Party will remain in office, such as my own junior senator Rand Paul.  But now the Republican establishment will be able to free itself from this threat from the right, and begin to make deals in the normal way.  And I hope we can also dispense with Grover Norquist and his foolish "don't raise taxes" straightjacket, too. My own senior senator, Mitch McConnell, is already talking about raising taxes.

One part of the Tea Party is burning itself out in petitions to secede from the United States.  This is open treason, and might be cause for serious criticism by regular, patriotic Republicans if the movement weren't so laughable.

Another part of the Tea Party will go back to grumbling political inactivity, along with the would-be socialists and anarchists.

A third part will become regular members of the Republican Party, arguing for their positions, but working to make deals that move the country forward.  I hope that my junior senator evolves in that direction. Likewise, I hope that my senior senator helps him by working with the Democratic Party to actually govern.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

An Unexpected Benefit of the Election: Mormons are Normalized for Evangelicals

Evangelical Protestants have been suspicious of the Latter-Day Saints since the church began.  Until recently, even well-known ministries described Mormonism as a cult.

However, evangelical Protestants are also the core constituency of the Republican Party today.  So, when the G.O.P. nominated a Mormon for president, some thought evangelicals would be cool to Mitt Romney, a Mormon bishop and very active church leader.

Instead, evangelical Protestants dropped their opposition to Mormonism.

Though Mitt Romney did not win, I think his candidacy normalized Mormonism in American politics as much as John F. Kennedy's candidacy normalized Roman Catholicism in American politics.