GOP Postmortem: Money Talks, Tea Party Walks
Governor Romney is the de facto nominee and the general election campaign is about to begin in earnest. But it is a good time to look back at a rollicking primary by the Republicans. Bob Cusack has a good summary of winners and losers. Of particular interest (especially to those of us who have been chronicling the rise and fall of the Tea Party) is this observation:
Polls show that the Tea Party has lost some of its clout, and Romney’s victory is yet another indication that it is not nearly as strong as it was in 2010. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), who founded the Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks, has openly criticized Romney. Frustrated by Romney’s success in the primary, Armey earlier this year said he was focusing on electing conservatives to Congress. Last month, after it was apparent Romney had the nomination wrapped up, FreedomWorks dropped its opposition to the former Massachusetts governor.
Rush Limbaugh, a champion of the Tea Party movement, hasn’t been enamored with Romney. The conservative talk-show host last fall said the former Massachusetts governor “is not a conservative.” Months earlier, Limbaugh lambasted Romney’s remarks on global warming, suggesting they were the kiss of death. At the time, Limbaugh said, “Bye-bye, nomination.”
Tea Partiers will argue that they moved Romney to the right. Yeah, right. Once the summer hits, Mr. Etch-a-Sketch will revert to the Harvard-educated, individual-mandate-enacting, social policy moderate that he always was. If Rick Santorum had half of the money that Romney did, he might be the nominee today. But he didn’t and like the social conservatives before them, the Tea Party got punk’d.