It was not a good week for many Republicans, particularly the roughly half of the party’s current House members who were elected in 2010 or 2012, and marched into Washington with tea cups balanced on their heads. And it certainly wasn’t a good week for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who helped get many of them elected.
In fact, it probably is on the list of her three worst weeks. The first being the week she quit her job. Second, when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, on Palin’s “crosshair” list, was shot. And then this week, a candidate in New Jersey that she had fought hard for, Steve Lonegan, lost his bid for Senate against Cory Booker, who, in Palin’s words, is a “celebrity stand in” for Obama. Whatever that means.
The “celebrity stand-in” thrashed Lonegan, 54.6 percent to 44.4 percent.
And then, of course, the end of the shutdown on Wednesday night. It was something that she and her tea party brethren fought hard against. They lost with nothing to show for it except for mammoth cracks in those tea cups.
People have been predicting Palin’s demise, and what she represents, since she took the national stage in 2008. I haven’t gone along with them until maybe this week, when the business community finally wised up to the fact that their once beloved fiscal conservative tea partiers not only don’t care about them, but seem intent on destroying them.
As the Washington Post put it, the shutdown exposed the fissures between powerful business interests and tea party lawmakers and activist groups like the Heritage Action and the Club for Growth
The Post quotes Dirk Van Dongen, longtime chief lobbyist for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, as saying, “I don’t know of anybody in the business community who takes the side of the Taliban minority.”
For any lobbyist to speak so brazenly about the tea party is perhaps the best indicator yet that the movement is caving in on itself.
On her Facebook page, Palin promises that she isn’t done yet. “We’re going to shake things up in 2014. Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races,” she wrote. “Let’s start with Kentucky – which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi – from sea to shining sea we will not give up. We’ve only just begun to fight.”
According to the Washington Post, however, the lead trade associations are talking about helping candidates who will challenge the tea party congressmen, the ones that Palin helped elect.
On this one, I’ll bet on the business interests and trade associations, whom Palin and her ilk call “crony capitalists” and have vowed to destroy. I’ll bet on the backbone of America, which is really who those associations represent, the ones who have finally woken up and are ready to fight.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org