Out of the ashes of congressional defeat, Sarah Palin, holding the reins of the right-winged proverbial phoenix, is flying over Republican land, carrying Pandora’s box overflowing with new hope for Christian conservatives and extremists everywhere. Almost blinded by the light of democracy, circling the sky in southern Nevada, she landed in Searchlight, the home of Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. Wow! What a smart bird.
Palin, the self-appointed spokesperson for the Tea Party Express, rallied her fellow conservatives in the middle of the desert not far from Reid’s property. Searchlight has a population of about 600 people with an average of one person for every 41 acres of sand. The rally brought about 7,000 protesters to the area, increasing Searchlight’s economy, sales tax revenue and national awareness. Maybe next year the tiny oasis will hold the first annual Remember Sarah Palin Day. It could be held on Easter Sunday morning. The town could celebrate the resurrection of Christ in the middle of town. The extreme Republicans could commemorate the resurrection of their new independent party on the far right side of town.
A third “independent” party is gaining momentum and getting closer to a reality. Sen. Brown, from Massachusetts, ran and won as an independent republican in the Kennedy bastion of Democrats. But the outcome of the senate race in Arizona will determine the probability of a third party.
Republican Sen. John McCain is running for re-election in Arizona. He is being challenged by another republican J.D. Hayworth in the primary. Hayworth is arguing that McCain is not conservative enough and he is gaining ground on McCain. Early in the race, McCain led Hayworth by 23 points in the polls. Last week, Hayworth had closed the gap and is only seven points behind McCain. With 8 percent of Republicans undecided, the senate seat could be up for grabs. Last fall, almost 61 percent of Republicans in Arizona thought McCain was “out of touch” with the party base. And lets not forget, McCain only won his home state by a 51 percent to 45 percent margin over Obama - not exactly a landslide victory.
But not to worry. Palin is going to fly into Phoenix (how ironic) on her mythical bird of fire, campaign for McCain and save the day for the man who brought her political fame and national recognition as his running mate in their bid for the White House. Regardless of the outcome, Palin still wins.
Actually, there is another irony. Barry Goldwater was a long time U.S. Senator representing Arizona. Many credit him with the creation of the conservative movement in the 1960s. Like McCain, he also ran for president and was also defeated by a liberal democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson, who later used his victory to promote his “new deal” legislation.
And, like Palin, Goldwater had interest and influence in a third independent party - the Libertarian party, based in Denver, Colo. and founded in 1972. As the Christians moved to control Goldwater’s conservative movement in the 1980s, he became a outspoken opponent of the religious right. He claimed their stance on abortion, gay rights and the use of religion in politics were a contradiction to his libertarian views.
The voters in Arizona may decide the future and fate of the republican party as we know it today. If McCain wins, the tea party will probably stay within the party paradigms and relegate themselves to the extreme right of moderates.
If Hayworth wins, the tea party might form their own independent party. Risking the possibility of splitting future Republican votes this could clear the path for the Democrats to occupy the White House and control Congress. No doubt, the Democrats will be contributing to the Hayworth’s primary campaign. If McCain loses the election, he will drift off into the land of the lost for politicians. On the other hand, Palin could lead the new independent tea party into the firestorm of rhetoric on the wings of her firebird and be the savior and phoenix for the Christian right.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at email@example.com. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.