According to a recent poll, a majority of Americans believe that the GOP should listen to the Tea Party. An overwhelming amount of Republicans (88%), a high number of Independents (46%) and a majority amount of Democrats (51%) respondents believe that the Tea Party ideas should be important to the GOP.

I wonder about that. The poll, according to the article, didn’t ask about which ideas are important, so I wonder just how telling is this poll? How can you answer a blanket statement when the Tea Party ideas differ across the board. For example, Rand Paul is against the Federal Reserve and wants massive cuts to medicare. Are those the Tea Party ideas the poll respondents think the Republican Party should get behind? I’m not sure how Republicans feel about the Federal Reserve, but I am willing to bet that 88% of Republicans do not want cuts to medicare.

Smaller government is ensposed by Tea Party candidates, but what does smaller government actually look like? Ronald Reagan – a Tea Party hero – championed the smaller goverment cause, yet when he left office the government had actually grown.  In fact, at least one of his deregulations blew up in his face.  In 1982, Congress passed and Reagan signed the Garn – St. Germain Depository Institutions Act “easing regulations of savings and loans…leading to the later S&L collapse.”1.  I believe President Reagan learned his lesson. In 1987, he signed the Competitive Equality Banking Act. He publically criticized the act, but I think this was an act. I think Reagan saw with the S&L collapse just why we needed banking regulations in the first place.

I bring this up because I believe that Ronald Reagan possessed something that the Tea Party leaders and candidates seriously lack: common sense. Reagan knew when to compromise and when to stand strong. Reagan would have a good time talking (and, reportedly drinking beer) with Tip O’Neill after the Congressional day was done. I can’t see one of the Tea Party disciples doing the samething and that is their failure and the failure of the GOP. (And, the failure of the Dems, who without Teddy to lead them seem a little loss trying to find their way across the aisle.) Without finding the common ground, without compromising and moving to center, we can probably kiss our great nation goodbye.  To paraphrase another great Republican, Abe Lincoln,  “A nation divided cannot stand.”

I believe if the GOP continues to bend the way of the extremists and, believe me – the Tea Party is full of extremists, they will not only hurt themselves, but they will hurt the nation.  And, then the GOP problem will become our problem.

1 The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street pg. 27

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