Well, it's official.
The Republican Party must embrace the tea party movement if the GOP is to recapture the White House in 2016.
That's the take-away, kind of, from Dr. David Turner's rambling essay in The Inter-Mountain on Feb. 2.
Turner, who writes from a liberal perspective, blasted the tea party movement, played the race card and suggested that the GOP follow the advice of Gen. Colin Powell, a self-identified Republican who has twice voted for Barack Obama, and of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Alas, Turner's analysis and recommendations disappoint, leading one to the inescapable conclusion that he's all wet.
First, he lumps Powell and Jindal together, when, in fact, the only thing they have in common is residency on the same planet. Powell, to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill, is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, while Jindal is clear and consistent in his support of the conservative principles that help define the tea party movement.
Turner also fails to draw an important distinction between the GOP nationally and the GOP at lesser levels of government. The GOP is doing quite nicely in many races (remember the 2010 congressional races?), and that is so because the winning candidates have been conservative. In that regard, Turner also does a disservice by implying that the GOP failed in the 2012 presidential race because the party and the candidate were too conservative.
Au contraire. The ticket failed because it was too moderate; too Democrat-like, if you will. And now that I think about it, moderate policies and politics have been the GOP national ticket's downfall for quite some time, going all the way back to George H.W. Bush, who lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton, a card-carrying Democrat. H.W. showed his true stripes with his approval of Democrat tax increases (despite his "read my lips" pledge), and a decade later, the son, George W., showed the stuff he is made of by ignoring the howls of conservatives and supporting a Democrat-backed $700 billion stimulus (bailout) package that drove a stake into the heart of the economy.
The moderate GOP trend continued in 2008 with presidential candidate John McCain (remember McCain-Feingold, where the senator joined with ultra-liberal Russ Feingold to curb First Amendment rights), and in 2012 with Mitt Romney, who was, in the GOP establishment view, somehow owed a shot at the big enchilada. Never mind that Mitt didn't have so much as a burning ember, let alone a fire, in his belly. (As it turns out, he was more combative with his GOP primary opponents than he was with President Obama.)
And so it came to pass that in the final days of the 2012 campaign (yawn), Mitt overlooked President Obama's disasters, including the Benghazi attack that left four Americans, including our ambassador, dead, and allowed Obama to stroll back into the White House. That's not to say that Romney didn't hurt his own cause with serious missteps during the campaign. He did, indeed, and that brings us back to Gov. Jindal and his recent comments about the GOP.
Turner would have us believe that Jindal has turned on conservatives and the tea party movement, but no, no, no. Rather, the governor has called for the GOP to stop being "stupid" (who can argue with that?), and most of his criticism is leveled at - you guessed it - Mitt Romney, the moderate. Turner's confusion on this point may be partly the result of the fact that he misunderstands the tea party movement, and maybe he's never attended a tea party gathering.
I have attended tea party functions, including the Taxpayer March on Washington on Sept. 12, 2009, and Turner's characterizations of such gatherings are bizarre, to say the least.
His chief gripe seems to be that the tea party movement is fueled by racism. That's flat out wrong. The movement is fueled by love of country and the Constitution, which explains why the tea party embraced Herman Cain, a conservative black man, in the GOP primaries, and why Thomas Sowell, another black man and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, likes the tea party movement.
It also explains why the tea party is cheering Dr. Benjamin Carson, a black man, who so eloquently articulated common-sense notions at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 7.
The tea party is racist? I think not. The GOP and its next candidate for president will succeed if they embrace the tea party movement and its ideas - and ignore the mischievous advice of liberals such as Turner who want to grow government at the expense of personal liberty.