Ron Paul vs. the Tea Party?
The Dallas Morning News reports that Ron Paul is facing three Republican primary challengers, all of whom align themselves with the Tea Party movement.
Paul, the Gulf Coast congressman whose 2008 presidential run excited libertarians nationwide, even though he didn’t get much traction overall, is considered by many to be the “father of the Tea Parties.” But he has three opponents in the March Republican primary — more than he has faced in his past six primary campaigns combined.
All three have ties to the anti-tax Tea Party movement. And while Paul remains the odds-on favorite to win re-election in his district, the crowded primary highlights the potential conflict between Tea Party activists and a GOP hoping to ride their wave to electoral success this fall.
“The Tea Parties have awakened a lot of everyday people here and across America,” said Tim Graney, one of Paul’s opponents. “And Ron Paul is worried about getting swept up in the anti-incumbent wave as if he is some exception.”
This is pretty fascinating, as the primary thrust of the Tea Party movement is ostensibly about fiscal conservatism, cutting government spending, and adhering to small government principles. Well, Ron Paul is definitely a fiscal conservative. To a fault, really.
So it’s ironic that the complaints about him from his opponents is his oppostion to federal spending and adherence to small government principles.
Tea Party associations aside, many of the challengers’ criticisms echo concerns of Paul’s past opponents: that he is too focused on his national ambitions; that his views are too extreme; that he doesn’t support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; that he votes “no” on everything, including federal aid for his district after Hurricane Ike.
This type of opposition begs the question of whether the Tea Party movement, at least in Ron Paul’s district, is really about what it says it’s about.