Who, you might ask is Ted Yoho? Ted, God bless him is not really important to know unless you're from north central Florida or a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. But Ted is an example of what is happening to the GOP all over the country whether the establishment likes it or not.
I will admit that until a few days ago, I had never heard of Ted Yoho or that there was even a primary held recently in Florida. Yoho is important to know because he defeated 12 term Republican Congressman Charles Stearns in a safe Republican district. Rep. Charles Stearns is a pretty decent 12 term conservative Republican according to the Heritage Foundation with a score of 80% (average for House GOP is 65%) and 7th out of 25 from the Florida delegation. By comparison, Allen West has a score of 69%.
Yet, on August 14th, Ted Yoho, a large animal veterinarian and political newcomer defeated this 12 term incumbent running by attacking the NDAA, Patriot Act, neoconservative strains in the GOP, and out-of-control spending. Yoho points to his reading of the Federalist Papers, taking courses at Hillsdale College, and studying the US Constitution as motivations for his run for Congress (and the fact that he thought Stearns was not schooled on these issues).
Yoho represents a much larger trend that is not just a Tea Party trend within the GOP. The Tea Party story is, in my eyes, partly a reflection of the reactivation of conservatives to get engaged in the GOP but also something much, much more. There is something so much bigger that is beginning to percolate that even those of us within the movement itself have probably failed to grasp and recognize as well.
The libertarian view of government is beginning to take over the GOP. It is decidedly not Tea Party in the sense of what those in the mainstream press and many who call themselves Tea Party activists call it. Rather this new insurgent philosophy of government, that used to be relegated to the sidelines of mainstream political thought, has hit critical mass. It is popular and it is about to explode.
The philosophy of limited government and general distrust that large human institutions are any more capable of ruling lives than the individuals living them is taking hold in America. This is certainly not a new philosophy as many will point out when discussing the origins of the Revolutionary War and the philosophical discourse at the nation's founding. But the modern libertarian view of politics is different in ways that reflect real world experience watching socialism, fascism, keynesianism, and an ever expanding police state all over the world. With the power of the internet used to spread the ideas of libertarianism and, perhaps more importantly, show abuses of government power, people are being introduced and buying into the philosophy in larger numbers than ever before.
The story of Ted Yoho is becoming more and more common. In fact, it is so common that I don't even notice it even though it is everywhere. If it is present in congressional and senate races then you can be certain that it is even more prevalent at the state, county, and municipal level. I know of scores of state representatives in my state of Michigan that would be described as libertarian or at least with a strong libertarian bend which was not the case even 5 years ago.
Everyone who visits this blog is very familiar with Rep. Ron Paul who has been a consistently lonely congressman for nearly his entire career. Suddenly, and almost inexplicably in 2007 after launcing a quixotic presidential campaign on a shoestring budget his support exploded to the point that he could raise millions of dollars in one day! Then, in 2010, his son Rand Paul wins a senate seat in Kentucky. State representative Justin Amash wins a congressional seat in west Michigan. Now in 2012 libertarians are coming out of the woodwork. Michigan will soon have its second libertarian GOP congressman when Kerry Bentivolio wins the 11 district seat. Thomas Massie is all but assured a win in Kentucky.
There are probably many, many more who I am failing to mention which leaves only one question - is this a temporary flash in the pan or the future? The answer to that question is purely demographic and, as I'm sure anyone who follows Ron Paul or Justin Amash will tell you, the people in this movement are almost all under 40 with those under 30 being even more prevalent. From my experience, young people entering the GOP are comprised of two types: those who are libertarian leaning and those who find politics fun and want to stick with winners. That is a demographic trend that suggests we are just seeing the leading edge of the movement.
Our future is bright and it is officialy time for the GOP establishment to worry. We are coming and we are growing.
"Hey GOP! You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."