Today is the big event billed as “Taxpayer March on D. C.” In actuality, it is the “I Hate Obama Rally.” The GOP seems to be latching on to these conservative protests. A few top Republicans will speak to the crowd tomorrow; Republicans like Mike Pence, Eric Cantor, John Boehner, and Jim DeMint. However, top Republican strategists are concerned, according to the Washington Post:
But top Republican strategists and many party observers also worry about the impact that the most extreme protesters might have on the party’s image, including those who carry swastika signs or obsess over the veracity of Obama’s Hawaiian birth.
Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and other Republicans, said there is an “opportunity for Republicans” to tap into legitimate fears about an overreaching federal government. But he said that “right-wing nutballs are aligning themselves with these movements” and are dominating media coverage.
“It’s bad for Republicans because in the absence of any real leadership, the freaks fill the void and define the party,” McKinnon said.
Who are the real Republican leaders? McCain seems to be the Senior Stateman of his party with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee turned TV entertainer following up. Who knows what Sarah Palin is or where she fits in. Eric Cantor certain has a following as does Bobby Jindal. Are these people involved with these “I Hate Obama” shenanigans?
The groups behind these ‘tea party rallies’ are rather undefined and loose-knit. Saturday’s march is sponsored by the same loose-knit coalition of groups that helped to organize health-care protests over the summer and anti-tax rallies in the spring. They include the Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet and Freedomworks, a Washington-based organization headed by former House majority leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.). The march has also been heavily publicized by Fox News host Glenn Beck as part of his “9-12 Project.”
The groups behind the protests include a broad array of self-described libertarians, independents and other factions, who have emerged as a force largely independent of GOP leaders in Washington. Some of that is by design: Leading activists among the conservative groups say they remain suspicious of a party that endorsed runaway deficits, a Wall Street bailout and other Bush-era policies they found objectionable.
Mainstream Republicans need to be very careful about who they align themselves with. The gun toters and the mustache drawers will be called out if they try to run for office.
The appearances underscore the increasing efforts by conservative Republicans to embrace the anti-Obama protests, even as others remain uncomfortable with the more extreme elements that frequent such gatherings. Some protesters this year have loudly disrupted community meetings, brought guns to Obama events and likened the president to Adolf Hitler
Perhaps those with the tinfoil hats will leave the GOP. Once that happens the rest of us can discuss real politics rather than erasing fake mustaches off pictures of the President.