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.   

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid