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Nevada Tea Party Bolts the GOP and Glenn Beck

Run away, Tea Party! (photo: stuant63 via Flickr)

The Tea Party is evidently cutting its ties with the GOP in Nevada and pitching its own political tent.  Certainly  the best news Harry Reid has had all year:

Sun columnist Jon Ralston is reporting that the Tea Party has qualified as a third party in Nevada and will have a candidate in the Senate race to battle for the seat held by Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The party has filed a Certificate of Existence but needs to get 1 percent of the electorate to vote for its candidate in November to permanently qualify, according to the report.

Ralston reported that Jon Ashjian will be the Tea Party’s U.S. Senate candidate on the November ballot. Ashjian still must declare his candidacy.

Reid might actually have a chance if a Tea Party candidate can split the vote on the right, where Reid is currently down 10 points to most of his Republican opponents.

But why would the Tea Party split from the GOP, right after their happy Nashville convention headlined by Sarah Palin?  Well, who knows.  It’s probably been in the works for a while.  But last week, after libertarian gubernatorial candidate Deborah Medina polled only 4 points behind Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Glenn Beck torpedoed her as a 9/11 Truther just as he did Van Jones, cheered on by Hot Air and the Washington Independent.

It’s clear that the Sarah Palin social conservatives and the Neocons are somewhat less than interested in handing the GOP over to the Ron Paul libertarians, and “populist hero” Glenn Beck did their dirty work.  I guess the Tea Party folks are welcome to wave anti-Obama signs for the Fox cameras, but if they actually want to challenge any of the party brahmins — well, hands off.

Looking over the bylaws of the Nevada Tea Party (PDF), however, it appears that they have dodged the issues of interventionism and first amendment rights, so it doesn’t settle many of the significant rifts between the Neocons and the libertarians.  The preamble says “we must protect our homeland,” but that evidently means “secur[ing] our borders against illegal immigration.”  Nothing about “illegal wars,” “domestic spying” or “civil liberties.”

Fox News has tossed the Tea Parties a lot of free PR to co-opt their “fiscal responsibility” message, as if George Bush hadn’t been on the biggest drunken spending spree in the history of the federal government. They certainly weren’t aiming to hand the party over to the rabble, just give it an image overhaul. No doubt the long knives are being sharpened right now.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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