We’ve heard this song before … a hard-charging “join the movement” reformer with a strong base of Tea Party support storms to the head of the GOP ranks.
It’s catchy … and it’s got a beat that plenty of people are dancing to these days.
In fact, this familiar tune played out once again last weekend in Horry County, S.C. – one of the fastest-growing “Republican” regions of the state and the possible center of a new congressional district. That’s where GOP activist Johnnie Bellamy captured the leadership of the local Republican party.
“We reached out to the grassroots and we took our party back,” Bellamy told The Sun News.
Bellamy’s victory is being hailed within activist circles as a major victory for the Tea Party – but is that really the case?
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not doubting Bellamy’s beliefs or her faithfulness in advancing long-abandoned GOP values of limited government and lower taxes, but what exactly can she do? And if her power is limited to using the bully pulpit to advance reform, will she do that?
Bellamy certainly has her work cut out for her …
For starters, the Horry County “Republican” delegation is loaded with big government RINOs – most notably S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons and State Sen. Luke Rankin, a former Democrat. It’s also full of corrupt pols like Sen. Ray Cleary and Liston Barfield.
Also, numerous Horry County lawmakers and local “GOP” political operatives are neck deep in a major campaign finance scandal that continues to unravel.
So … will Bellamy oppose these corrupt, tax-and-spend liberals masquerading as Republicans? Or will she work to “build the party” that enables these glorified crooks to continue ripping off the taxpayers?
We’re hopeful that Bellamy will step up for the interests of those who elected her, although a source at the SCGOP tells FITS that she isn’t quite the “Tea Party diva” she holds herself out to be.
“She is by no means new to the game,” the source said … although they quickly added that Bellamy was indeed more “ideologically-aligned” with Tea Party supporters than any other Horry County party leader.
We’ll see if that ideological alignment translates into any concrete action …
For starters, if Bellamy is serious about “taking her party back” then she will call on liberal lawmakers like Barfield, Clemmons, Cleary and Rankin (and Reps. Nelson Hardwick and George Hearn) to resign their seats immediately. If they fail to do so, she will recruit and announce her support for fiscally-conservative candidates who decide to run against them.
Absent that level of commitment to “throwing the bums out,” Bellamy will only be perpetuating the problem.
Translation? Put your money where your mouth is, honey.