Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Tea with 1 lump or 2? |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Tea with 1 lump or 2?

Imagine Vail Resorts running a national ad campaign with the tagline: “Breckenridge – Cheaper than Vail!” or “Keystone – Closer than Vail!”

One’s immediate response, if connected to Vail in any positive way, would be shock and dismay, first at the arrogance; second, the gall; and third, the stupidity.

The obvious cannibalism of one’s “base” would be the least of their worries, though, as before long, the corporate in-fighting would quickly reduce service levels to the point that non-real-estate-owning guests would end up at Winter Park and Steamboat.

Enter the latest version of the Republican Party and its apparent struggle to yet again redefine itself with unfortunate choices such as Palin and Beck, two totally inept goofballs who almost assuredly will be seen playing tandem fiddles as the GOP burns to the ground.

Yet the smoldering remains will not be happily danced upon by the Democrats, as they seem to be doing everything within their foundation-free power to sabotage any potential gains, thanks to such powerhouse posers as Pelosi and Reid.

What we, the American public, are left with is this insipid media-fabricated narrative of “throw the bums out!” implying some level of cohesive grassroots rebellion (or revolution, if you prefer machismo-laced language) in which the meek rise to overtake their overlords, resulting in a tax-free world where everyone holds hands and sings kum-bay-ya for eternity (except for the poor, who are busy supplying hand sanitizer for the not-as-poor).

But the tea partiers, portrayed as the latest loose-knit group of out-of-touch fanatics, are not merely a collection of the delusional hell-bent on rushing into their beloved apocalypse. A glimpse past the facade of the organized religious nonsense provides a view of those wishing for free markets, fiscal responsibility and a government living within its constitutional limits.

Not exactly the type of extremism reserved for the psychotic.

In fact, dare I say these particular views are shared by theists and nontheists alike, regardless of one’s take on reality.

Society has always had to deal with extremism on both ends, only now instead of the two-sided coin of Extreme Right or Extreme Left, we have Extreme Independents, and that’s where I see the tea partiers being capable of someday actually being a viable third party at election time.

Not in their present form, however, as empty pantsuits like O’Donnell from Delaware and empty heads like Rand Paul will need to be weeded out before substance can overtake image.

But a few independent primary victories, when surrounded by an overwhelming amount of incumbent victories (more than 93 percent so far), will have no more impact in the long run than a September snowfall on a December snow base.

It won’t mean diddly.

In the meantime, this Republican implosion, with the help of Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich, who both tried to sell Palin as intelligent and relevant, is now bending over backwards to reverse course on primary winners such as O’Donnell (whom Rove called “nutty”) and are standing so far left of most tea partiers that they are in serious danger of making the Democrats look smart.

And that makes me feel about as secure as an unemployed local real estate agent juggling two mortgages, three cars and two kids in private school.

Either way, the GOP needs to make nice with the Party of Tea, or their relevance come November could be relegated to the status of a fringe cult.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at Comment on

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