News / USA

    Republicans Counting on Energized US Conservatives for November Election

    In U.S. politics, 2010 is shaping up to be a good year to be a conservative.  Poll ratings for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are down, and opposition Republicans are hoping that energized conservatives will carry the party to victory in the November congressional elections.  But the conservative movement is not monolithic.

    Grass roots conservatives were early and vocal opponents of President Obama's health care reform plan.  That grass roots anger against big government evolved into what is known as the tea party movement, a loosely-organized nationwide activist group that was inspired by the anti-tax tea protests just prior to the American Revolution.

    Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was the featured speaker at a national tea party convention last month.

    "The tea party movement is not a top-down operation," said Sarah Palin. "It is a ground-up call to action that is forcing both parties to change the way that they are doing business, and that is beautiful!"

    Republicans hope to benefit from the tea party activists in this November's congressional midterm elections.  In addition, Republicans who are considering a run for president in 2012 are also busy trying to line up supporters among various conservative groups including the tea party activists and religious conservatives.

    Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is a potential presidential contender who spoke at a recent meeting of conservative activists in Washington.

    "God is in charge.  God is in charge," said Tim Pawlenty. "It says we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.  It does not say we are endowed by Washington, D.C., or endowed by the bureaucrats or endowed by state government.  It is by our creator that we are given these rights!"

    Christian conservative voters were important in the election victories of former President George W. Bush, but they showed less enthusiasm for Republican candidate John McCain in 2008.

    Although there is some overlap, tea party activists are most concerned with the role of the federal government, while religious conservatives are focused on social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

    All of these various voting blocs will have to be energized this year if Republicans are to realize their goal of taking back control of Congress.

    Many Republicans acknowledge the party's image suffered during the George W. Bush presidential years when congressional Republicans failed to follow through on conservative principles like cutting back on government spending.

    This is Republican Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia:

    "We understand the country is fed up with the Democrats, but is not confident yet that we as Republicans will be any better," said Eric Cantor. "The people need to see our commitment to enact a reform agenda."

    Conservative Republicans have led the charge against President Obama's health care reform plan by depicting it as a massive government takeover of the health-care industry.

    The president and his Democratic allies in Congress have repeatedly accused Republicans of distorting the plan and playing on American's fears of big government.

    Mr. Obama complained directly during a meeting with House Republican members in January.

    "But if you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you would think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot," said President Obama. "No, I mean, that is how you guys, how you guys presented it."

    Conservatives see their path back to power as principled opposition to the president on health care and other issues involving the role of government, like climate change legislation.

    Public-opinion polls suggest Republicans have an edge in intensity this year as the elections approach, and the growth of the tea party movement is likely to play a role.

    But the overall conservative movement is not monolithic, says University of Virginia political expert Larry Sabato.

    "The Republicans are very conflicted," said Larry Sabato. "They are fighting among themselves.  They are battling with the Tea Party activists and they are battling with some of their own base, which is more conservative than the congressional leadership.  Fortunately for the Republicans, they have President Obama as their target.  That will tend to unite their base, at least for this midterm election."

    Tea party activists plan to support a number of challengers in Republican primaries this year, including some candidates who are running against some well known names.  Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who is running for the Senate, both face strong challenges from conservatives.

    This is Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown:

    "It is not clear how influential this tea bag movement will be in the Republican Party," said Peter Brown. "It makes good headlines and the media loves it.  But it is not clear whether they will be a destructive force within the Republican Party or they will be a helpful force for the Republican Party.  We will find that out when we start seeing election results next November and in November of 2012."

    Most political experts believe Republicans will gain congressional seats in November, and perhaps enough to take back control of one or both chambers of Congress.   


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora