With Hayworth, has McCain met his Tea Party Waterloo?
The Tea Party movement represents many themes. It began last year in response to the bailout and stimulus bills that showed the government is simply spending too much money. Much to the surprise of the left-wing elite, the Tea Party movement did not stop with its rallies on tax day. On the contrary, the movement was just getting started.
The Tea Party movement now represents everything that should work about conservative government… lower spending, less government control, lower taxes, adherence to the Constitution, and respect for the individual. Candidates have risen up and won elections based on this simple, yet timeless platform. From New Jersey to Virginia to Massachusetts, candidates won by running on these principles and running against Obama and his big-government cronies. Now, it’s primary season, and the next big targets are incumbents, both Republican and Democrat who do not follow this plan. First in the crosshairs is John McCain.
Arizona Sen. John McCain has raised the ire of conservatives over and over and over again. He wore the label of “maverick” as a badge of honor, but rather than use it as a moniker for standing up for conservative values against the party, he used it to support the party over conservative values. Now, rather than an easy primary, McCain faces former six-term congressman and conservative talkshow host J.D. Hayworth.
The country is in the midst of a Tea Party revolt movement that began last spring and has not lost steam. The current anti-big government, anti-spending uproar has already begun voting in new leadership promising smaller government. The revolt began over the federal bailouts – and McCain, labeled “Obama-lite” as a result – voted for several of them. He voted for the $700 billion general TARP bailout, the $25 billion auto bailout, the first $85 billion AIG insurance bailout, and he proposed spending $300 billion on a mortgage entitlement bailout to buy out every bad mortgage in the country.
As Alexander notes, “McCain’s ratings from the American Conservative Union have gone progressively down over the years, dipping to an alltime low of just 63 last year. Even liberal-leaning Republican Senators Chuck Hagel, Lamar Alexander and Pete Domenici scored higher ratings than McCain last year.” On the other hand, “J.D. Hayworth, the former Arizona Congressman who is challenging McCain in the Senate primary this year, has a lifetime rating from the ACU of 97.”
In an article in the American Thinker, writer Randall Hoven summarizes the differences between Hayworth and McCain quite clearly:
McCain, the “maverick,” has been in Congress for 28 years, or since winning his first election in 1982. He is no longer fighting the establishment; he is the establishment. He personifies the compromise wing of the Republican Party, which has since become the dominant wing.
Hayworth represents the 1994 Contract With America Republicans. He first entered Congress in that historic turnaround, the first time Republicans took the majority of the House since 1952. He was voted out in 2006 when the House turned Democrat again on a referendum on Iraq, and the last time the unemployment rate was below 4.5%.
For me, McCain is summed up by the following:
He voiced opposition to President Bush’s tax cuts and said he favored “targeted” tax cuts. The word “targeted” is code for social engineering and not based on conservative principles that the money does NOT belong to Washington. He repeatedly supported attempts to push amnesty for illegal aliens unto the American people. Americans spoke out, and neither effort such as the McCain-Kennedy bill went anywhere, but McCain continued to push. He supported the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill which has been ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL. He joined the “Gang of 14” which allowed quality, conservative judicial nominees to fall by the wayside.
There is no doubt that between the two candidates, Hayworth is the conservative in the race. As noted in an article in National Review, McCain is bringing out the big guns:
To counter Hayworth’s growing support, McCain has enlisted Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, his running mate during the 2008 presidential campaign, to stump for him in the Grand Canyon State. He would also like to bring in Mitt Romney, his former opponent for the GOP presidential nomination. “I’d really appreciate it if Mitt Romney came,” McCain says. “We’d really like to have him. We haven’t made any specific arrangement yet, but I’d like to see that. He is a man I respect.”
While understandable that Palin would support the man who put her on the national stage, other candidates who vouch for McCain’s “conservative” credentials are doing a disservice to the movement. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to fly this time around. The groundswell of grassroots attitudes are emodied in the Tea Party movement, and McCain represents everything they are against. We need smaller government, citizen legislators, and a respect for the Constitution. Hayworth has been there… then been back in the private sector, working to promote conservative principles. Now, he’s looking to go back to replace a man who is an icon for establishment Washington.