Congressman Bob Inglis, a long-time conservative from South Carolina, recently got beat in his primary by a margin of 71-29. He had previously won six elections. Why did he get beat down in his primary?
at least partly because he refused to bow to the Tea Party. Apparently his 93 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union isn’t conservative enough.
Inglas gained notoriety for telling some crazy town hall people to turn off Glenn Beck. (I made this statement: But the fact remains that the fear-mongering might end up hurting politicians like Bob. How true that has been.) He also called for Joe Wilson to apologize for yelling “You lie” at a State of the Union Address. This clearly is not good enough for the Tea Party.
Bob also got grief for refusing to call Obama a socialist. Why wouldn’t he? Because he doesn’t want to lie. I recommend reading the whole article, but here are a few quotes:
His description of a meeting with a dozen Tea Party activists:
I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there’s a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life’s earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, “What the heck are you talking about?” I’m trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, “You don’t know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don’t know this?!” And I said, “Please forgive me. I’m just ignorant of these things.” And then of course, it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff. And now you have the feeling of anti-Semitism here coming in, mixing in. Wow.
Why not appease them by calling Obama a socialist?
I refused to use the word because I have this view that the Ninth Commandment must mean something. I remember one year Bill Clinton—the guy I was out to get [when serving on the House judiciary committee in the 1990s]—at the National Prayer Breakfast said something that was one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard from anybody at a gathering like that. He said, “The most violated commandment in Washington, DC”—everybody leaned in; do tell, Mr. President—”is, ‘Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.’” I thought, “He’s right. That is the most violated commandment in Washington.” For me to go around saying that Barack Obama is a socialist is a violation of the Ninth Commandment. He is a liberal fellow. I’m conservative. We disagree…But I don’t need to call him a socialist, and I hurt the country by doing so. The country has to come together to find a solution to these challenges or else we go over the cliff.
On what the current trend in the Republican Party:
For Inglis, this is the crux of the dilemma: Republican members of Congress know “deep down” that they need to deliver conservative solutions like his tax swap. Yet, he adds, “We’re being driven as herd by these hot microphones—which are like flame throwers—that are causing people to run with fear and panic, and Republican members of Congress are afraid of being run over by that stampeding crowd.” Inglis says that it’s hard for Republicans in Congress to “summon the courage” to say no to Beck, Limbaugh, and the tea party wing. “When we start just delivering rhetoric and more misinformation…we’re failing the conservative movement,” he says. “We’re failing the country.” Yet, he notes, Boehner and House minority whip Eric Cantor have one primary strategic calculation: Play to the tea party crowd. “It’s a dangerous strategy,” he contends, “to build conservatism on information and policies that are not credible.”
Asked if there are any 2012 GOP contenders who can lead the party in a more credible direction, Inglis points to Rob Portman, a former House member who was President George W. Bush’s budget director. But Portman is now running for Senate in Ohio. He’s not 2012 material. What about Sarah Palin? Inglis pauses for a moment: “I think that there are people who seem to think that ignorance is strength.” And he says of her: “If I choose to remain ignorant and uninformed and encourage people to follow me while I celebrate my lack of information,” that’s not responsible.
On Republicans wooing the Tea Party?
With Boehner and others chasing after the tea party, he says, “that’s going to be the dog that catches the car.” He quickly adds: “And the Democrats, if they go into the minority, are going to have an enjoyable couple of years watching that dog deal with the car it’s caught.”
I would be worried about the Tea Party becoming too big a part of my party. Sure, it may get people excited in the short term, but what’s going to be the lasting effect?
Enjoy the article.
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