JIM CREES: GOP vs. Tea Party? Hmmmmm ...

OK. So the American government is back up and running ... for the time being.

We now have a couple months before the next go-around to try and figure out what exactly happened over the past few weeks with all this shutdown stuff that actually did nothing but hurt a large number of American people.

The stars of this recent debacle were the Golden Boys of the Tea Party — the Ted Cruz and Rand Paul group.

Amongst their “believers” they remain almost Messiah-esque, but among a huge swath of other folks ... well ... not so much.

Now, by reason of disclosure (and this may be surprising to some!) I am not a huge fan of the Tea Party.

I’m not.

Despite the Tea Party’s protestations of über love-of-God-and-country, I don’t quite think it is so.

In general, members are simply too individually isolationist to be sincere nationalists, ignoring and disparaging the concept of nation-wide solutions for nation-wide problems in favor of their own specific and finely honed, (usually economic), interests.

Sorry.

Still, nobody would expect me — a lame-stream media, bleeding heart liberal, tree-hugging whiner — to be a supporter of the Tea Party.

What’s interesting is that the Tea Party folks have lost SO much support among its own potential “base” during this government shut down thing.

The Pew Research Center for People and Politics recently surveyed people around the country on what and how they were feeling following the shutdown.

What they found was that “... even many Republicans now view the movement negatively ...”

“For Republicans, the decline is steepest among those who describe themselves as moderate or liberal. Today, only about a quarter (27 percent) of moderate and liberal Republicans have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, down 19 points from June,” the Pew report noted.

But here’s what I found interesting. (And before you sharpen your pencils, I’m simply quoting the study!)

“Yet the Tea Party’s ratings have also declined among conservative Republicans, from 74 percent favorable in June to 65 percent now.”

It simply would appear more and more Republicans are getting more and more nervous about the Tea Party’s revisionistic view of this county and nation.

Hey!!! Not ME. I was always nervous about these folks.

It’s the “conservative Republicans” who are getting a touch hesitant about supporting the more and more Draconian policies suggested by the Tea Party.

Why?

Well, mainly because they are recognizing that except in relatively small pockets of voters, and very localized at that, the GOP is losing favor and losing ground with the larger majority of voters because those same voters identify the Republican Party with the Tea Party — justifiably so, or not.

Look, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the Tea Party representatives still are out there declaring the two-week shutdown of the American government a “victory.” A victory!!!

That has everyone, Dems and GOP alike, scratching their heads.

People like Cruz and Paul are singularly unapologetic and even astonishingly proud of the shutdown, despite the fact that it did nothing at all to further their cause — or anyone’s cause for that matter.

The Pew survey went deep into the Tea Party mindset and simply revealed a pattern of thinking that most Americans would find worrisome, (if they thought about issues at all.)

For example, despite the disastrous world-wide economic collapse that was brought about by the shenanigans of American investment banks and financial institutions, a huge majority of the Tea Party membership continue to believe that there should be NO regulation of financial institutions.

NONE.

A full 79 percent of the Tea Party say the regulating of financial institutions has gone too far. Only 53 percent of the rank-and-file GOP think the same.

There’s a difference in 26 percentage points in how the GOP and the Tea Party think.

Look, 96 percent of the Tea Party members surveyed think the Affordable Care Act is the work of the devil, but even on this lightning-rod issue, there is a huge difference between the Tea Party and the rest of the GOP.

The mainstream GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act was 80 percent — once again, a 16 percentage point disagreement.

The Tea Party - largely a movement espousing the “I’m OK. Screw everybody else” philosophy popularized by an odd reading, (or misreading), of Her Holiness Ayn Rand - would be more than willing to eliminate Social Security and Medicare in order to pay down the national debt. Only 46 percent of the GOP membership not aligned with the Tea Party would be willing to do so, according to the Pew survey.

There are huge differences between Tea Party thought and the rest of the GOP’s philosophy not only on economic issues, but social issues as well.

At the end of the day, (and you can read the report yourself), the Tea Party and the GOP are almost as unaligned as the Tea Party and the Dems.

Not that it bothers me!

I’m just surprised the Republicans continue to molly-coddle this group that is so divergent with the party’s own philosophy.