Republicans Need a Serious Real Economic Agenda without the Tea Party

By Alex Gonzalez

A group of evangelical leaders and conservative activists meeting in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry’s backyard, agreed to endorse rival presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Saturday. but so far Republicans have not managed to talk about real issues. With the Evangelicals endorsing Santorum  knowing full well that he does not stand a chance, we easily can conclude the base of Republican is fractured and without cohesive economy platforms.  Also, with Ron Paul getting 1/3 of all Republican delegates in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the Tea Partier left leaderless, the prospects for Mitt Romney becoming president are become smaller.  Evangelical groups that make the base of the GOP  want someone of their own;  and Tea Partiers, too,  want the purist of their own  like Ron Paul.  But neither Paul nor Santorum have a plan for the economy.   This growing division between the Republican establishment,  the Evangelicals,  and the Tea Partiers can now fracture the GOP thus  creating a very weak candidate for the general election

So far the primaries have not focused on real issues and more man-made populist issues, which conveniently left entitlement out while focusing on social issues. Santorum was the choice of more than 150 leaders who met to discuss their endorsement at a ranch outside Houston. But in reality he has no chance in becoming the nominee.  With the evangelical proposing Santorum over Mitt Romney and Rick Perry Tea Party still keeping a populist purist agenda to oppose any establishment Republican, both groups are not producing a cohesive national. Both groups are indeed  supporting candidate that only reinforces their views—Paul and Santorum, in reality they are weakening the Republican base for Mitt Romney.   And since these social issues, and Tea Partiers illusive  economic plans, neither group really cares about fixing our financial problems.  They say they do, but the keep voting only for candidates that reinforce their social values but with real economic plan.

  For example, almost half of Iowa caucus goers believed jobs and the economy was the most important topic in deciding who to support in the GOP presidential race, but half voters in Iowa voted for Ron Paul and Santorum over Perry and Newt Gingrich due to Santorum’s views on abortion and Gay Marriage. But these are the same Evangelicals voters that In Texas voted to support Santorum over Perry who has better record with the economy. Too, New Hampshire voters were more apt than Iowa caucus-goers to say the economy was the most important issue. But only 38% voted for Romney, a moderate by New Hampshire standards, and Ron Paul came in second.  Essentially, how to fix our nation deficit and entitlements have been have been left out the campaign. And this support for purists social conservative over Romney  is  creating a weak Republican national platform.

Also, Tea Party demands are often “strategically ambiguous” on fundamental economic issues,  no actual plan to cut entitlements.    Even when Ryan Paul proposed a “Plan for Prosperity” by fixing entitlement, he was attacked in his own district.   Moreover,  as Michael Barone  points out,  , Social Security and Medicare have been transferring money from low-earning young people (who don’t pay income but are hit by the payroll tax) to increasingly affluent old people.  Thus, entitlements programs is the biggest form wealth distribution happening.  And that is because Tea Partiers too refuse to surrender their entitlements.  In a poll by the WSJ,  Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security “unacceptable.”  

Similarly, in another poll by In a McClatchy-Marist poll released in last may, 70% of registered voters who identify with the Tea Party opposed making cuts to either Medicare or Medicaid — the government-run health programs for the elderly and the poor — to help reduce the nation’s deficit.  However, the Heritage Foundation argues “the reality is Entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—threaten to bankrupt the nation. The unsustainable tsunami of spending on these programs will accelerate as 77 million baby boomers flood into them. Unlike other parts of the federal budget, such as defense or most education programs.” But this is not what Tea Partier members of Congress want to fix.

Sadly, now that the Tea Party has quietly gone away, and the Republican nomination is leaning toward Romney,  the Republican Party prospect for the W.H. are weak;  and the leadership of speaker Boehner in the House—unable to reign in the Tea Party Caucus–and Mitch McConnell in senate is in question. So The Republican Party is entering the 2012 presidential election with a more divided Party in which its traditional base of evangelicals can’t even support the most electable candidates. As result, if Romney becomes the nominee, many evangelicals and Tea Partiers will rejects is nomination; and it is also very unlikely that Romney can get more than 25% of Latino vote.

It is not the Latinos have any inherent opposition to Tea Partiers or can’t work together. However, it is the issues, or priorities, that make Latinos and Tea Partier different in nature. The issues that Latinos care about are Jobs/economy, immigration and education. Therefore, it is very unlikely that Latinos, whose medium age is 28, will benefit from an elusive empty “limited government” rhetoric that is unwilling to reform entitlement. Furthermore, according the Pew Hispanic, 68% of Latino registered voters say they support Obama and fewer than one-in-four (23%) say they support Romney. Conversely, Tea Partiers could benefits in supporting issues Latinos care about such education and immigration, because it would generate more higher-income tax payers to pay for entitlements.

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