The “End of the McCain Era” was declared by Rush Limbaugh earlier this week following Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner’s defiant response to President Obama’s disingenuous request for bipartisan input on the health care impasse. Limbaugh lauded the Republican unity against the disastrous health care bill and noted that only a year ago, the liberals had proclaimed the Reagan era was over.
Limbaugh is correct on so many fronts of this issue. Boehner’s brazen rejoinder to the President’s thinly-veiled insincerity was surely a refreshing break from the McCainian instinct to immediately reach across the aisle. The Republican Party has shown a steely resolve the past few months and is finally rejecting the progressive dogma that has led the party to super-minority status.
Notably absent from the recent discourse of Republican affairs is RNC Chairman Michael Steele. In his effort to steer the GOP to the center, Steele ended up on the wrong side of the Scozzafava/Hoffman debacle and was completely astray throughout Scott Brown’s remarkable campaign. While Steele, who suggested last month that Republicans could not retake the House in November, now wallows in irrelevency, several strong conservatives have stepped up and seemingly taken control of the direction of the GOP.
One such conservative is first-term Republican Senator Jim DeMint (SC) who presides over the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee he founded to support principled candidates who believe in the timeless conservative principles of limited government, strong national defense and traditional family values. This conservative PAC has committed its support to phenomenal Senatorial candidates such as Michael Williams (TX), Chuck DeVore (CA), Pat Toomey (PA) and Marco Rubio (FL). According to DeMint, Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts successfully used a “money bomb” campaign to raise $1.3 million in 24 hours. In the case of Rubio, DeMint’s fund set a $100,000 target for the end of this Wednesday, the first anniversary of a controversial joint appearance by Florida Governor and Senatorial Candidate Charlie Crist and President Obama in Fort Myers. The money bombs generated by the Senate Conservatives Fund may very well make the difference in these and other crucial Senatorial elections.
DeMint uncomfortably laughs off the suggestion that he is emerging as the party’s new conservative kingmaker. “Well, not everyone who is in the Congress is what I call an old Republican, the ones that I think helped run us off the road when we had the majority,” he said. “The Democrats have gone so far to the left you can’t see them anymore. But Republicans, when we were in power, we did spend too much. We put too much focus on earmarks. We didn’t do what we said we were going to do. So we’re looking for new Republicans.”
John McCain and Michael Steele’s lukewarm tenets of progressive Republicanism are over. With the reemergence of Reagan conservatism, any reaching across the aisle between now and November will be with a clenched fist.