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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


After the latest round of primaries it’s obvious populist revolt against the ruling elites has gained momentum as the mid-term elections approach, in spite of vicious calumnies, electoral challenges, and lots of dirty tricks.

So by the time the candidates face actual Democrats they should be seasoned and ready.

TEA Party favorite Christine O'Donnell beat Mike Castle in the GOP Delaware Senate primary. Castle who hasn’t had a primary challenger in 9 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, is sulking in his tent and will not endorse O'Donnell. A Castle aide blasted O'Donnell, calling her a "con artist who won by lying about Castle's positions and her own life."

Heavens to Betsy surely not! A politician who lies about their life? Of course that’s never happened before. Certainly not with that model of probity who formerly occupied the office in contention, Joe Biden.

In Alaska after TEA Party favorite Jim Miller beat Lisa Murkowski in the GOP senate primary, Murkowski said, "the Alaska Republican Party was hijacked by the Tea Party Express, an outside extremist group."

Murkowski was first elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1998. She was named as House Majority Leader for the 2003–2004 session, but never served after being appointed to fill a term in the U.S. Senate in 2002 - by her father Frank Murkowski. She was elected to a full term in 2004. Frank had served as a U.S. senator from 1980 to 2002, when he was elected governor of Alaska. After her primary defeat, Lisa sought the Libertarian Party nomination. When they said they wouldn't have her as a gift, she threatened to run as an independent.

I guess "extremist" means, "someone who opposes making political office hereditary and perpetual."

Dierdre R. "Dede" Scozzafava  has represented District 122 in the New York State Assembly since 1999. She was the Republican nominee to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2009 special election in the 23rd congressional district. After polls indicated she was likely to lose in a three-way race with Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Democratic candidate Bill Owens, she suspended her campaign and announced she would resign from politics after 2010. She then threw her support to Owens who eventually won.

According to her past filed campaign reports, her husband and other family members have been the largest donors to her campaigns. I guess money can’t buy love.

In Florida, Marco Rubio came up from behind against Governor Charlie Crist in the primary race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and now leads him in the polls. Crist responded by ceding the Republican nomination to Rubio and announcing he'd be running as an independent.

I draw several lessons and a lot of comfort from these shenanigans. Firstly, the Establishment Republicans’ petulant “If I can’t have it nobody can” attitude make charges the TEA Party is behaving in an irresponsible manner ludicrous.

It is now obvious Establishment Republicans care more about their power and privilege than they do for the welfare of their country.

Secondly, it seems the TEA Party movement is not yet being co-opted by the Republican establishment as many of us feared. Quite the contrary, it looks like the revolt of the masses is threatening to take over the GOP.

That is a necessary step towards reclaiming our country from those who would make it over in the image of Old World statism. There is something about the structure of the American political system that limits major parties to two, unlike parliamentary systems which can accommodate multi-party coalition politics.

I was involved in third-party (Libertarian) politics for decades, and the realization came hard and reluctantly for me. The emergence of a third party to major-party status has happened precisely once in our entire history, when Lincoln led the Republican Party to victory. (Immediately followed by the outbreak of the Civil War, which ought to give one pause...) The country then reverted to the two-party norm. 

The only option for winning our country back via the electoral system seems to be seizing one of the major parties. And most likely the opportunity to do so can only come after a party has suffered a catastrophic defeat such as the GOP suffered in the last election.

Inflicting such a defeat on the Democratic Party in 2010 and 2012 may create the opportunity for moderate Democrats to reclaim their party from the extreme leftists who have captured it.

And most importantly, when the New Republicans take office it is absolutely essential we watch them like hawks and hold them accountable for their every action in office. Precisely because they are new to politics, they will be particularly vulnerable to the insidious, corrupting influence of power in Washington.

The TEA Party movement represents something new in American politics. It represents a new kind of decentralized, democratic, leadership-by-consensus movement made possible by the Internet. It some ways it looks like some of the neo-tribal/Individualist Anarchist notions of social organization.

Where it will lead I don’t know, and I think it’s probably useless to speculate. I only know I haven’t felt this excited since I marched with the people of Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1997, when they took to the streets every night to demand their country back. 


Steve Browne is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, M.A. anthropology and post-graduate study in journalism and mass communication theory. He has worked as a garbage truck driver, sewage treatment plant operator and lab tech, and journalist. From 1991 to 2004 he taught English in Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania and Belarus and as English editor for the Polish Academy of Science Annual Review. He is the founder of the Language of liberty Institute Liberty English Camps and in 1997 was elected an Honorary member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights. He is currently working as a freelance writer, truck driver, and teaches Filipino martial arts to private students.







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It’s Joe (not Jim) Miller who beat Lisa Murkowski.

Lynn Bergman on October 26, 2010 at 10:56 pm

As Mr. Browne states,it is absolutely essential we watch John Hoeven and Rick Berg like hawks and hold them accountable for their every action in office. While they are not new to politics, they will no doubt be vulnerable to the insidious, corrupting influence of power in Washington.

Further, to be ahead of the curve, we here in North Dakota need to redouble our efforts to bring all fellow “tea party patriots” into the Republican Party that we can, between now and the election of 2012.

The next Republican convention must represent the plausible option of returning Mr. Berg to North Dakota (along with Senator Conrad) if he strays from the obvious course corrections necessary to bring our country out of this economic abyss. And the same goes for Mr. Hoeven in 2016, if he has not completely reversed his role from “Beloved Governor” to “Respected Budget Slasher” and “Earmark Denier”.

Lynn Bergman on October 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm
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