A friend of mine and loyal reader of this site — who also happens to be a political A-lister /celeb / newsmaker in Raleigh — passed on a pretty disturbing story to me the other day. This source told me about a conversation they had with a member of House Speaker and Senate candidate Thom Tillis’s inner circle:
“I bumped into this fellow at a social event. We talked a little business, which eventually led to the Senate race. I asked him if he thought it was about time for the speaker to start reaching out to Tea Partiers and the more conservative elements of the party. He chuckled, rolled his eyes, and looked at me like I was crazy. He then says: ‘Why? What’s the point? What are they gonna do? Vote for Kay Hagan?’ ”
Actually, there are a number of alternatives to casting a vote for Thom Tillis in the Senate race. They are, as follows:
- Leave that race blank on your ballot.
- Vote for Sean Haugh (L).
- Vote for Kay Hagan.
- Write In John Rhodes.
- Write in David Waddell.
- Write in Barry Gurney.
The fact that someone so close to Tillis has this mentality doesn’t offer much hope of “Senator” Tillis joining Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in the fight against the bureaucratic leviathan. It also sounds like Kentucky Republicans are having a similar internal debate over Mitch McConnell.
On the other hand, why should Tillis fear / respect the Tea Party? We’ve got so many people in this state and this country who will mindlessly vote party over principle. In North Carolina, we actually have a member of our congressional delegation who does not have a valid driver’s license. (And this person is making laws for the rest of us.) In Kansas, Republicans just renominated a guy to the US Senate who hasn’t lived in Kansas in nearly 40 years. In Mississippi, establishment Republicans pushed a senile old man into renomination by hauling blacks to the polls and painting the Tea Party as the Klan. We’ve got groups like FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots who put out inflammatory press releases and raise a ton of money — but are basically invisible when the rubber meets the road at campaign time.
We, on the right, are told to smile, bow our heads, and play nice when the GOP offers up a moderate standard-bearer. But do they play nice? No. When a Tea Partier threatens their grip on power, he gets smeared as a Klansman.
These people care about power and control. Two parties — One Agenda. As long as there are people out there who believe “We NEED Rep. or Sen. X”, our nation is doomed. Our Founders meant for power to emanate from the bottom -up. We now have a top-down power structure where folks in Raleigh or DC are telling us what to do. If we’re going to get their attention — and put our state and nation back on the right path — we need to show these people that they can be changed out like we change our clothes each day.
Thom’s buddy is wrong. We’ve got plenty of choices. The question is: Do we have the guts to take advantage of those choices?