On February 25, the Senate Tea Party caucus released its FY 2013 budget entitled “A Platform to Revitalize America.” The plan has received the backing of conservative grassroots organizer Freedom Works and implements many of the recommendations from conservative think-tanks Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute. However, the most media coverage it has received is a blog post condemning it from openly left-winged Rachel Maddow and Tea Party media personality Jack Hunter. The overwhelming question, one posed by Jack Hunter, is why are mainstream conservative media personalities focusing on contraception, college “sluts,” “the food stamp president,” and other overly trivial “news” stories instead of three conservative Senators making a dramatic challenge to the Obama administration’s FY2013 budget?
There are two answers to this question. Jack Hunter explains that these are not true conservatives, in a Tea Party fashion. His evidence is showing how the conservative media reacted to the Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) budget just last year. Then, Ryan was featured numerous times on Fox News. He was mentioned on Rush Limbaugh numerous times. Using this as evidence, Hunter concludes that these agencies are not really conservative.
I disagree – not at the truth of the conclusion but at its nature. Hunter’s conclusion has a corollary which is proved by Hunter’s premises and premises from his coverage of Super Tuesday.
In this video, Hunter explains that the Tea Party’s choice of Santorum as the Tea Party alternative to Romney is as laughable as Gingrich or Romney himself being the Tea Party candidate. None of these three candidates stand for the central tenants of the Tea Party movement, which is to cut spending in order to balance the budget. Hunter concludes in this video that if Romney is the McCain maverick of 2000, then Santorum is the George Bush – making huge promises of small government and reducing the deficit only to flip on these promises at the first opportunity.
This sudden shift shows Fox News and other media outlets that the focus on the budget and reducing spending that was so pivotal in the 2010 mid-term elections and the aftermath has been superseded by Santorum Social Conservatism. Fox News and the conservative talk shows hosts are willing to provide this new base the entertainment they desire. What this shows us is that the Tea Party has fallen into becoming a moral majority with some fiscal concerns. This new shift towards social issues will more than likely cost many Tea Party congressmen from moderate districts there election in 2012, especially if Rick Santorum gets the nomination.
The test of whether the Tea Party is true to its 2009 pledges is what the main stream conservative media covers in an effort for profits – and what we see is that it has fallen to the dogs.
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