It's a laugh-out-loud moment when national political pundits continue to have weighty discussions about a "battle between the GOP establishment and the tea party." Make no mistake: Such discussion is designed to create that very division. Because it doesn't exist right now.
Let's break down the essential elements of the tea party's policy positions and see what if anything separates those positions from those of the large majority of potential GOP voters next year.
Oh, my gosh! Tea partiers want to see a reduction in the size of government. Imagine a Republican with half a brain who hasn't come to the conclusion that a growing federal government is their enemy. Good luck finding them, because polling data says they are rare. Republicans and tea partiers agree.
It doesn't mean that Republican officeholders have always lived up to that standard. Many have voted and otherwise supported expanded government and excessive spending, including during the George W. Bush administration.
Of course, it's important to remember that much of that overspending has been a reaction to 9/11 and the military response that it triggered. By the same token, the federal Department of Education didn't disappear, as once promised. In short, everyone gets the point that being a Republican in 2012 is a far more fiscally conservative proposition than it was just a few years ago.
What about taxes? I can't find in the polling data many Republicans who favor eliminating the Bush tax cuts, or many who buy into the concept that a family earning $250,000 a year is "super wealthy," and should therefore be punished with higher taxes.
You more or less can't find a Republican candidate for any office who wants to tax much of anything at all. Many of them are proposing tax cuts, in fact.
How about immigration? In general, those who identify themselves as tea partiers want to see order restored to the immigration process. They oppose using federal or sometimes state government money to support those who are here illegally. They point to border nations Canada and even Mexico, both of which are stricter about non-citizen residents in their countries than America is.
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