Tea Party, Bright Light or Outhouse?

Years ago Preston Manning, founder of the Reform Party of Canada, answered "Bright lights always draw flies." when asked by a reporter, Why does the new Reform Pary have so many nutty supporters? "Outhouses do too" woulda been my reaction. There are many parallels historically and philosophically between Canada's Reform Party and the Tea Party that go beyond their ability to draw flies.

Like the Tea Party, the Reform Party started out as a far right populist movement whose first objectives were to cut taxes and the size of governnment, to instill Christian morality into the political mainstream, and to eliminate government regulation in every sphere of life and commerce. Unlike the Tea Party, Reform began its life as an independent political party and got their candidates elected to a small minority of federal ridings. Within a few years Reform's electoral success had reached its zenith.

Canada already had the Progressive Conservatives who, like the Republicans in the US, were the historically 'right' of center party. When Reform entered the scene most of their supporters were disenfranchised PCs plus a very few right leaning Liberals. Basically Reform simply divided the right in two creating two unelectable parties on the conservative side. Their only solution was to merge into one new party, today's Conservatives, which now are in power because the more progressive voters are votes were and are still divided between the Liberals, NDP and Green Party. At first it looked like the older larger PCs would absorb the nascent Reformers easily, but they didn't and in a matter of months Manning's protege Steven Harper emerged as the new party's leader and is now Canada's Prime Minister. Along with the Reformers came the flies circling their outhouse of ultra right wing crap. Many of these flies now make up Harper's cabinet.

The Tea Party appears to have been absorbed by the much larger Republican Party right from the get-go but, as in Canada's case, appearances can be decieving. And along with the Tea Partiers the Repulicans are now having to deal with the flies. In Canada the amalgamated rightwing parties rule with less than 40% of the vote because their opposition is divided. Unless the 'left' in Canada, Liberals, NDP and Greens, unite the theocratic Harperites and their ilk will rule the roost for many years to come.

In the US the already sorta united Rebublican-Tea Party coilition are about to win big in the mid-term elections in large part because their is no 'left' left. The solution, as i see it, is for US progressives to form their own quasiparty of idealists and, using the Tea Partiers example, bootstrap themselves back into the position they were in before the liar Obama stole their thunder.