Conservatives are up in arms again over President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. We’ve heard accusations leveled at Kagan of radical leftist leanings, a lack of non-academic experience, an anti-military stance, and homosexuality. Fear-based rhetoric such as this is counter-productive for the GOP in two ways. First, it widens the schism between left and right. Second, through the radicalization of Kagan’s image, the GOP might inhibit the nomination of a centrist, pragmatic woman opposed to same-sex marriage.
On a cold night in December 1773, colonists in Boston burst into the harbor dressed as Native Americans, boarded British ships, and dumped boxes of tea into the harbor. This reckless act of defiance demonstrated their discontent with Britain’s “tyrannical” policy of taxation without representation. Over two centuries later in response to the 2008 government bailout and 2009 stimulus package, the Tea Party movement has adopted their revolutionary moniker. Does this new party have the political clout to become the new dominant conservative party, or is it simply a group of Republicans repackaging their angst over the 2008 election? The Tea Party movement has straightforward goals: limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a free market. Is this a truly new political movement, or more of the same from the beleaguered political right?