Round Two: Diane Olson of the Tea Party vs. Gregory Hilton, former RNC Staffer

Editorial Note by Gregory Hilton: This second debate between Diane Olson and Gregory Hilton focuses on the relationship between the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party. Republicans appreciate and admire the activities of various Tea Party organizations, but a few Tea Party leaders, including Diane Olson, want to wage war on the GOP. The Tea Party and the Republican Party have been in complete cooperation since the election. There is no battle, and both groups are conservative and share the same agenda. Nevertheless, Diane believes Republicans should be harshly criticized. In the first debate I tried to ignore her personal attacks, but this time I did not.
This exchange began because of my article The Great Myth: The GOP Establishment vs. The Tea Party where I analyzed many of the 2010 Tea Party campaigns which overwhelmingly involved one conservative opposing another conservative. A situation similar to Delaware where a conservative defeated a moderate was rare. Diane Olson vehemently objected. At the beginning of the debate she told her friends I have:

a milder form of the liberal disease. . . I zinged him again a few minutes ago but he’s a trooper. Sticks to his Republican status quo. . . This poor mild-mannered DC-insider is really feeling the pain, huh? I really should lay off him, but this is way too much fun!” At the end of the debate she concluded I was “A flaming Liberal who calls himself a GOP moderate. He thinks middle of the line Americans are right-wing extremists. He gave me some long dissertation . . . his guy’s head is like concrete. . . Glenn Beck’s book ‘Arguing with Idiots’ comes to mind.
Seriously, the entrenched Republicans REALLY are fighting against America taking our country back and using the Republican Party to do so. . . Don’t be fooled by the entrenched Republican establishment. We’ll need to tackle them next after November. Some Republicans are not conservatives. He claims to be a “Moderate Conservative” but nowadays that really means a flaming liberal (instead of a radical liberal). These types of exchanges will help us understand the remaining weaknesses in the Republican Party and deal with those appropriately after November. It’s truly an eye-opener isn’t it? . . I’m pretty sure I must be on the GOP “watch list” now as a result of my exchanges with the DC Republican guy. He actually gave me the ‘last word’ on our exchange and I took him up on it. Bet he regrets that now!

I have never called myself a “GOP moderate” or a “moderate conservative”. I am a conservative and I do not know of any “GOP watch list.” While Diane is not fond of me, she is an intelligent and articulate. She has admirable accomplishments and many devoted fans.
Nevertheless, this debate demonstrates her extremism, but that is my personal opinion. I am not authorized to speak in the name of the Republican Party, and I was last on their payroll decades ago. On the other hand, Diane feels comfortable in portraying herself as the representative of “real Americans” and the entire Tea Party movement. My introductory observations are:

  • Both debate participants are obscure figures and our views can easily be dismissed. What can not be denied is the Tea Party’s major impact on elections, and its dominant role will continue. In many states turnout in GOP primaries this year doubled, enthusiasm is sky high, registration has increased significantly and new donors have appeared. Most of the credit for this belongs to Barack Obama.
  • The rise of the Tea Party has been a wonderful development, and I believe 98% of the Tea Party agenda matches the 2008 Republican Platform and the 2010 Pledge to America. Both organizations are emphasizing the same issues. Every 2012 GOP presidential candidate is claiming to be a part of the Tea Party movement. Their anti-big government, low tax and deficit reduction rhetoric is wonderful, but I do have a few reservations.
  • For example, Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-SC) has a 98% rating from the American Conservative Union. He attempted to address a Tea Party rally last year and over 5,000 people loudly heckled him. He was not allowed to complete his speech. His great sin was voting for the Bush administration’s TARP program which saved the U.S. economy in the fall of 2008. Over 90% of the money distributed by the Bush administration has been paid back, and a number of Tea Party members are confusing TARP with the Obama administration’s stimulus program.
  • I am also concerned about some false claims. I admire Rush Limbaugh but he was wrong to say Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and other moderates would lead the Senate if the GOP gained a majority. Snowe is by far the most liberal Republican Senator, but she does not have a leadership position. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and GOP Whip Jon Kyl (AZ) are conservatives, and right wingers would replace liberals on practically all Senate committees.
  • The major Tea Party triumphs were the primary victories of Sharron Angle (R-NV), Ken Buck (CO), and Rand Paul (R-KY), and the defeat of Senators Bob Bennett (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE). Bennett would have won if the nomination had been decided in a primary rather than a state convention, and Castle would have won if the GOP primary had been open to independents.
  • The pro-abortion Murkowski was primarily defeated by social conservatives. Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Rand Paul have received national attention for controversial comments, but they deserve credit for toning down their rhetoric. They defeated fellow conservatives who had higher approval ratings and would have easily won their races for the U.S. Senate. Angle, Buck and O’Donnell (DE) were all defeated in November, and the result of Joe Miller’s (R-AK) primary challenge is that it apparently shifted Senator Murkowski from a moderate conservative to a moderate liberal.
  • The Tea Party is a huge plus to the GOP but members such as Diane are seeking ideological purity and a candidate’s electability does not concern them. This attitude will have an impact on the 2012 primaries, and many GOP candidates will try to avoid state conventions.

Since 1976, the first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential precinct caucuses have been on center stage. On the Republican side the Hawkeye State has always been dominated by social conservatives. In 2008, Mike Huckabee defeated Mitt Romney by a 34% to 25% margin. Now the social conservatives have combined with the Tea Party movement, and the result will lessen the importance of Iowa. My guess is that several major GOP candidates who emphasize economic issues will skip Iowa and begin their campaigns in New Hampshire.

* Diane Olson and her allies portray Tea Party challengers as conservatives battling liberal Republicans. That is not true, and in some cases the isolationist Tea Party candidates were aliened with liberals on foreign policy and national security issues. This was a major point in my article. Let the debate begin.

OLSON: Are you starting to think there might be some value to the TEA party folks and what we are doing?

HILTON: You keep asking the same question over and over again. Do you think my answer is going to change? Who in the supposed Republican establishment has opposed the Tea Party? By continuing to peddle this account you have largely created a straw man. The Republican establishment of popular imagination no longer exists.
If there is a Republican establishment, the Tea Party is it. The vast majority of GOP lawmakers already display the conservative purity that the Tea Partyers have been demanding. Fully 86 percent of Republicans in the House and Senate were dubbed “ACU Conservatives” by the American Conservative Union, for voting the conservative line at least 80 percent of the time in 2009.
The rise of the Tea Party has been a wonderful development, and I believe 98% of the Tea Party agenda matches the 2008 Republican Platform and the 2010 Pledge to America. Both organizations are emphasizing the same issues. Every 2012 GOP presidential candidate is claiming to be a part of the Tea Party movement. Their anti-big government, low tax and deficit reduction rhetoric is wonderful.

OLSON: Fortunately many others are starting to get the message and face reality. I still have hope for you, my friend. 😉 Hang in there.

HILTON: Thanks but you are going to continue your battle against a fictitious “Republican establishment.” The GOP is definitely conservative and the few moderate conservatives represent Blue States. You should try focusing on the Democrats. My policy is to advocate addition to the base, not subtraction.

OLSON: Yes, Democrats are certainly the primary focus of course. The RINOs are also the focus. Your definition of “conservative” is not accurate, that label is used when it shouldn’t be. We will fix that.

HILTON: You will never fix anything and a list of liberal Republicans in the House and Senate would be very small. Furthermore, on practically every close vote in the 111th Congress, GOP moderates did not bolt from the conservative position. The times they bolted, such as cap and trade, was when they were not needed. The GOP was completely united on ObamaCare. You are fighting an imaginary enemy.

OLSON: The Liberals label us as extremists. We are not. Your lack of conservative values is showing. The GOP is united on ZeroCare, thank God for that! And we will do our best to unite the GOP on other issues as well. Even the RINOs are seeing the writing on the wall. They may not agree with conservative values but they will need to vote that way or lose their office. We are watching and we will yell and scream when necessary. We are not extremists, we are real America. Hello!
RINOs don’t change their colors. If they have a brain they will change their voting until they believe America is no longer paying attention. The TEA party will make sure America continues to pay attention. The RINOs slip up, it won’t be forgotten.

HILTON: You don’t get it and you never will. You are an extremist and you always have been. You are also a birther. This has been explained to you numerous times, but you can’t stop talking about RINOs. They are not the problem, it is the Democrats.
You will never accept the fact that there is a difference between the electorates in South Carolina and Massachusetts. Do you really think your hero, Michele Bachmann, could win a Senate seat in Minnesota? She spent $8.5 million last year to receive 52% of the vote in the state’s most Republican congressional district.
The point is that you are outraged over liberal Republicans who are a very rare breed. Your attitude is the reason ObamaCare was passed. We only needed one more GOP vote but the libertarian liberals defeated moderate GOP Senators Norm Coleman (MN), Gordon Smith (OR) and Slade Gorton (WA).
You will no longer tolerate RINO’s. Chris Christie picked a Lt. Governor who is pro-abortion, Scott Brown voted for the financial regulations bill, Ronald Reagan signed tax increases as Governor and as President. Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford would obviously not be acceptable in your version of the Republican Party. The Democrats are in the majority because they accept the Blue Dogs, you will not tolerate two ladies from Maine who are really the only remaining liberal Republicans.

OLSON: Methinks you have been under the corrupting influence of D.C. too long. Fortunately REAL American representatives such as Michele Bachmann can not be corrupted. We look to her and others like her to help keep our new representatives heads screwed on straight.
ZeroCare was not passed because of my attitude or any of the TEA party attitude. Once again you show your Liberal colors. Re: MN – this state has way too many mindless Liberals as well as being a Soros-controlled state set up to endorse voter fraud and other things. That is a huge problem. Interesting that the GOP establishment still views TEA party folks as ‘extremists’, at least behind-the-scenes. That’s good to know.
Re: birther. No, I am not. I am a “common senser”. I really don’t know what to believe about Barry’s eligibility, but I DO know there was a lot of money spent to cover up all of his records that would tell us the truth. And I know there is more evidence uncovered to date to support he is NOT a natural-born American citizen than to support that he is. So, it needs to be looked into. Common sense. Any questions?
GOP establishment doesn’t show much common sense except when their hands are tied by TEA party. LOL! Ok, we’ll just take one thing at a time. It really will be nice one day to be on the same team though instead of requiring the arm-twisting to do what is right. Btw, have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy these exchanges with you? You’re such great insight into the mind of the GOP establishment. Very valuable. 🙂

HILTON: I never called the Tea Party extremist, in fact I was praising them. I called you an extremist, and you are also a birther. You do not speak for the Tea Party. You do not represent “We the people,” you represent yourself.
You have no formal role. You are just a legend in your own mind. Btw, have I mentioned lately how much I dislike these exchanges with you? Your comments are so predictable and very monotonous.
You have proven you are lunatic by calling me a liberal. You are now saying a solid conservative can not win in Minnesota. I agree, but that was not the attitude you had last year. You insisted hard core conservative Senate candidates were going to win in many Blue states. My predictions were right and you were wrong. Over and over again you insisted that Christine O’Donnell was going to win.
Some Tea Party groups are too extreme and endorsed foolish candidates such as Dan Maes (R-C0), Trevor Drown (AR) and Alexander Snitker (Libertarian – FL) and Chelene Nightingale (Constitution Party – CA). Her platform is based on conspiracy theories. She believes the U.S. government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attack, and there are government airplanes dispersing chemicals to poison us. She is associated with the Minutemen hate group. They are radical vigilantes who try to take the law into their own hands.
I would question the judgment of delegates to this year’s Utah Republican State Convention. They were were overwhelmingly Tea Party members. Over two thirds of them said Sen. Orrin Hatch was not sufficiently conservative and would not have their backing for his 2012 re-election. Hatch has a 90% rating from the American Conservative Union and is considered one of the most right wing members of the Senate. The delegates expressed a preference for Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who has foreign policy views to the left of the Obama administration. You claim to be a conservative but many of the people you admire are to the left of Obama and Pelosi on foreign policy.

OLSON: Oh. Ok. I’ll stop. I had the impression you had a mind that worked. My mistake.

HILTON: I never made that mistake about you, and your attitude is why we lost four Senate seats. In our last debate I said Christine O’Donnell would lose in a landslide. Six times you predicted she would win. You said I have “a milder form of the liberal disease.” I have always called myself a conservative, but you concluded I was:

A flaming Liberal who calls himself a GOP moderate. Your head is like concrete. . . Glenn Beck’s book ‘Arguing with Idiots’ comes to mind. Seriously, the entrenched Republicans REALLY are fighting against America taking our country back and using the Republican Party to do so. . . Don’t be fooled by the entrenched Republican establishment. We’ll need to tackle them next after November.

OLSON: Well, you represent the thinking of the GOP establishment. Common sense would make anyone conclude that same thing I did before. And clearly after today’s exchange, nothing has changed with you. Fortunately I’m starting to see things changing with others in the GOP establishment at least on the surface. I guess there are some people who will never “get it”. I really didn’t want to give up on you. Rats.

HILTON: I represent myself. I do not represent any GOP establishment, which I don’t think exists. If it does, then it is completely conservative. The Republican Party was conservative prior to the election, and it is not going to change.
You will never get it and I gave up on you a long time ago. Common sense would demonstrate it was foolish to throw away four Senate seats. Harry Reid is very grateful. I am focusing on liberal Democrats but you are obsessed with two ladies from Maine. An outstanding agenda will pass the House this year, but thanks to your lunacy it will fail in the Senate. Rats.

OLSON: Without the TEA party you may have kept those 4 seats as Republican Liberal seats but you would not have gotten any / many others that are actually conservative. Use your common sense, please. There is a reality here that you are not facing. I’m sorry those 4 seats are not Republican Conservative seats now, but I’m delighted we got all those other ones! All thanks to the TEA party movement and our communication and education of America.

HILTON: I have repeatedly praised the Tea Party. How many times do I have to repeat this? Their agenda is identical to the GOP’s Pledge to America. You do not speak for the Tea Party. You represent a narrow band of birther extremists. You lack common sense and you always have. Many people deserve credit for mobilizing the base in the last election, but extremism was a setback for the conservative cause.

OLSON: This exchange reminds me of the exchange between Michele Bachmann and that Weiner guy on Fox News last night. Michele used common sense, made factual comments based on real data and reason-based interpretation. Weiner couldn’t compete so he resorted to ridicule. Hmmm. Liberal tactics? I think so. Re-read this exchange, then step back and take an objective look at yourself. Methinks you haven’t been paying close enough attention. So, is this our first fight?

HILTON: This is our second debate. You are the only one forcing these issues. The Tea Party leadership appears to be well satisfied with the GOP, and Republicans have never taken on the Tea Party. The GOP believes in a big tent. Republicans do not have a purity test. I was paying plenty of attention to the reasons why we lost those four Senate seats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s