Candidates who have embraced the Tea Party are doing well in Republican primaries. Rand Paul won handily last night in Kentucky’s Senate primary. Tom Graves finished in a strong first place in the Georgia 9th Congressional District last week, and is the heavy favorite to be the victor in an early June runoff contest against a candidate that at one time sought to distance himself from the Tea Parties.
Listening to the paid pundits on TV last night (people really get paid for this?), I was struck by the universally accepted known-fact that all Tea Partiers are anti-incumbent, angry, and just want to throw all the bums out.
To be fair, there is clearly a lot of that sentiment within the Tea Party. Many incumbents have ducked the groups altogether, some going so far as to change parties rather than have to actually listen to the constituents they are supposed to be actually representing. (See: Specter, Arlen; Soon to be former Senator from PA)
In Georgia, however, we have a U.S. Senator who has not run from the Tea Party, but has sought out their meetings, spoken to them, and – more importantly – listened. Isakson has attended local Tea Party meetings in Marietta, Roswell, and Calhoun. He’s attended numerous D.C. Tea Party events as well. The Polk County Tea Party has officially extended an endorsement to Isakson, and other groups who choose not to endorse have officers who are actively working and supporting Isakson’s re-election.
Isakson is keenly aware of the mood that is demanding change in our Federal Government. He is also aware that he has a record, and is willing to stand on it, and defend it. Rather than run from the questions, and pretend that there are no critics, he has instead sought to seek them out, discuss, and seek common ground.
This process is not unlike the skills used to save Delta’s employee pension plan over the objections of the Bush Whitehouse at no cost to the taxpayer, or to grant and extend housing tax credits as a member of the minority party. He knows how to work with people who are not pre-disposed to see things his way. But he’s willing to talk, and he’s willing to listen. And he’s always ready to work. And he’s working for re-election, one vote at the time.
He has mine. I hope you’ll let him earn yours.