A fissure is beginning to divide the Republican Party, and that split could make life much easier for Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012. The tea party movement helped Republicans retake the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. But it did very little to help them govern because those new tea party members are completely disgusted with the Democrats and their policies but they are also almost completely disgusted with the establishment Republicans and their policies.
Two of something doesn’t necessarily make it twice as good.
Before he flamed out, Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards gained a lot of traction with his speeches on two Americas.
Of course Edwards, his $400 haircuts, his mistress and their love child were part of the America he criticized. But there are two Americas. The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” is wide and getting wider.
Another fissure is beginning to divide the Republican Party, and that split could make life much easier for Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012.
The tea party movement helped Republicans retake the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. But it did very little to help them govern because those new tea party members are completely disgusted with the Democrats and their policies but they are also almost completely disgusted with the establishment Republicans and their policies.
There are now two Republican parties, and those two parties could very well mean two terms for Obama.
Mitt Romney started out as the frontrunner for the GOP in 2012. A strange phenomenon has developed where Republicans got excited about Sarah Palin and Chris Christie and neither one of them even decided to run. The polls have been very volatile with Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain, who have all spent time at or near the top of the polls.
Pundits continue to incorrectly refer to the rises and falls of flavor of the month candidates with the phrase “the honeymoon is over” when these are not honeymoons at all. Honeymoons come after weddings.
These candidates are the shady girls Republicans are taking home after frat parties in college. The only one they can see themselves married to appears to be Romney.
Those candidates tend to gain that support from the tea party. They gain traction with a good performance in debates or a platform push.
Bachmann shot up in support and won some straw polls before toppling back toward the group of also-rans in recent polling.
Her demise seemed to be Perry entering the race. Perry has since shot to the front of the pack and fallen back after bad debate performances, racially charged names for his hunting grounds, and most recently his decision to try to reanimate the otherwise dead birther movement.
The latest candidate to rise in the polls is Cain. But he seems doomed to follow same trajectory as the other candidates with problems on his stance on abortion, foreign policy and his overly simplistic "9-9-9" tax code plan.
If Cain does whither like the others have before him, only Romney will be left and he is damaged politically. He has left behind the moderates and Independents who might have supported him before in order to seek the support of the more staunch conservatives in the party. Very few of those voters can get excited about Romney – who even trails Obama in his home state of Massachusetts in early polling.
Many Republicans believe that any Republican is better than Obama. But tea party voters won’t vote for Romney en masse.
Many will decide not to vote at all or find a third-party candidate more in line with their beliefs. In Kansas, that won’t matter. Obama couldn’t win Kansas if he ran unopposed. But in the 10-15 swing states where who the candidates are and what they believe actually affects the outcome of the voting, it will matter and Obama will win a second term if the Republicans can’t find a candidate to unite the party.
If Romney were that candidate, none of these other candidates would gain any traction. If any of these other candidates were the answer Romney wouldn’t manage to hold onto his lead in the polls.
Two Republican parties means two terms for Obama.
Neither of the factions wants that results, but I don’t know who bridges the gap to keep that from happening.
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.