Bloggers think Repubs should associate with Tea Party. Disagree on whether independent run would help Crist

“How closely should the Republican Party align itself with the Tea Party movement?” In this week’s National Journal poll of political bloggers, 65% of the Left and 78% of the Right says “somewhat” or “very” closely. However, the Left was mostly “very” while the Right favored “somewhat.” My answer had less to do with the movement per se than with its ideas: “If the Republican Party for the last 10 years had paid more attention to the Tea Party’s core concerns (spending restraint, and Congress only passing laws that are within the enumerated powers which the Constitution grants to Congress), Republicans might not have lost their congressional majorities.”

The other question was “Would Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist benefit by running for the Senate as an independent?” Eighty percent of the Left said “yes,” but only 33% of the Right thought so. I thought “yes,” as long as the only question is the Senate in 2010: “It certainly seems that his chances of being elected to the Senate as a Republican are dim, so his chances as an independent might be greater. However, if he foresees a possible future in the Republican Party (e.g., as an appointee of a Republican president who might be elected in 2012), running as an independent would be very harmful for his long-term career.”