Much has been written on the TEA Party confab in Tipton as they organize to field a Senate candidate for the 2012 election. A few observations:
First of all, the TEA Party is not “targeting” Lugar. They want a candidate who is more aggressive on TEA Party issues like deficit reduction, federalism, and increased personal freedoms.
These are laudable and reasonable arguments within the conservative movement. This is a debate on whether the 2008-09 TARP/Bail-Outs/Stimuli were worth the trillion dollar deficits and the “too big to fail” assault on free market fundamentals.
Second, the TEA Party has learned from Richard Behney locally, and Christine O’Donnell nationally, that they need to coalesce around competent and electable candidates.
They have also learned from Ross Perot and the Libertarian Party that if you reform the Republican Party from within, you get leaders like Ryan and Rubio. The Pyrrhic victories offered by third party candidates do not advance the conservative cause.
Third, politics is about addition, not subtraction. A few hundred conservatives getting together to talk about fundamental issues of federalism and political strategy is a good thing. The TEA Party is not a threat to the GOP; it is a dynamic addition to the cause. We should not mock our allies.
If there is a threat, it comes from the Left labeling the TEA Party something it isn’t, and sowing dissension on the Right. The GOP should not take the bait.
I’m a Dick Lugar Republican. I wasn’t in Tipton this weekend, I was in Carmel toasting one of sharpest, most knowledgeable, and most dedicated politicians in America. I do not always agree with him, but no candidate will be more capable, qualified, or electable for Senate in 2012.
Lugar’s place in history is secure. His example of integrity and statesmanship has inspired generations of those in public service. We should follow his example, rising to the TEA Party debate in good faith and with good will.