Old Clinton hack Donna Brazile has a message for her readers: the GOP civil war is over and the Tea Party won. While Brazile is usually fully expected to be typically and wholly wrong in her left-wing proclamations and while asking a liberal what is going on with conservatives is usually a waste of time, like the stopped clock, Brazile got this one more or less right.
Brazile piece written her piece for CNN notes that the whole of Washington was surprised by GOP strongman Eric Cantor’s primary loss and is shocked that he will not be returning to Congress even as he thought he was headed to a big primary win and looking forward to more and more power if not the Speaker’s chair itself.
After chronicling Cantor’s loss Brazile also touched on the run off that establishment Republican Thad Cochran has been reduced to in Mississippi and pointed out that Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell only won his own primary in Kentucky by edging closer to Tea Party principles during his campaign.
As a result of this, Brazile says, “even the candidates who are supposed to be the establishment have been pulled so far to the right by tea party challengers that there is no difference in their policies or rhetoric.”
Brazile got much of this right, really. Naturally all her caterwauling after the excerpt above was absurd. The GOP is not being “marginalized” nor is it extreme. She also made the risible claim that Democrats are “committed to helping provide economic security to middle-class families and addressing serious issues such as commonsense immigration reform.”
But Brazile’s points about the GOP in this primary season are essentially right. Many of the GOP’s biggest establishment candidates really have been forced to sound more Tea Partyish.
I you look at American politics, the GOP in general has certainly been dragged toward conservatism just as the Democrats have been driven even further the other way by its own internal forces.
Just for a few examples, the party has certainly moved right on abortion and gun rights. Twenty years ago you’d have found almost as many gun control Republicans as you would Republicans who thought the abortion battle was lost and the struggle against abortion on demand was a battle not worth fighting.
Believe it or not, the GOP has also edged more toward fiscal conservatism, too.
Of course, the big problem is that many Republicans mouth conservative ideals when they are running for office then as soon as they get to Washington DC they turn into big government pushing, spendthrifts belying their so-called principles.
Eric Cantor did this and it finally led to his political demise.
Anyway, the whole point here is to point out that even as we conservatives don’t feel like we’ve gotten anywhere, when you look at where the bulk of the party was in the 1970s, we clearly have swayed the party toward the right.
We have a long way to go, of course, but as conservatives we should have a bit of perspective here and realize we have made headway. I won’t say “the Tea party won” like Donna Brazile simply because the GOP has been edging toward more conservative ideals for decades longer than the Tea Party has been around. But, yes, progress is being made.