The civil war among Republicans is sure to get bloodier in the next three years
Everywhere you look these days, the Grand Old Party of American politics is in disarray — torn by bitter factionalism, tainted by hateful extremists and foundering in the polls at historically low levels of public approval.
Not even in the aftermath of the Goldwater debacle of 50 years ago or the Watergate disaster of a decade later did the Republican Party face such daunting problems. To make matters worse, there are no signs of better times for the GOP on the horizon. There is no Ronald Reagan waiting in the wings, ready to ride to the rescue. Rather, the party’s most talked-about personality these days is Ted Cruz, whose charms and style are reminiscent of the late Joe McCarthy.
But, hey! Don’t just take my word for the daunting dilemma Republicans are now facing. Consider THIS STORY from the right-wing website Newsmax:
Movement-conservative icon, author, and direct-market pioneer Richard Viguerie threw down the gauntlet to establishment Republicans and the GOP leadership Tuesday, charging that conservatives “have been betrayed, abandoned by our leaders, and that includes Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, [and] Reince Priebus at the Republican National Committee.”
Viguerie and other grass-roots conservative leaders are warning that Republicans who voted to end the shutdown on terms favorable to President Barack Obama and the Democrats will face major primary opposition in 2014.
Asked in an exclusive Newsmax interview Tuesday whether Republicans who went along with ending the shutdown will face a political bloodbath, Viguerie replied: “Oh, absolutely. It’s a war that’s been going on for 101 years, but limited-government conservatives have not been fully engaged. But now they are engaged.”
Viguerie had no hesitation in naming who will be challenged, either.
“We need to primary every single one of these big-government Republicans,” he said, “including Lamar Alexander, Mitch McConnell, [and] Thad Cochran down in Mississippi is being challenged.
“I hope John Cornyn in Texas is primaried,” he said, “and of course John Boehner is going to be primaried. I predict Eric Cantor will receive . . . [a] limited-government, constitutional-conservative challenge, [and] maybe [House Majority Whip] Kevin McCarthy, a key person there, [and] Pete Sessions from Texas.”
Thanks to the shutdown vote, Viguerie said, “it’s black and white who’s on our side and who’s on the big-government side.”
The ConservativeHQ.com founder’s blistering broadside reflects the growing backlash on the right over how the shutdown ended.
On Monday, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told radio talk host Steve Malzberg:
“You now have 87 members of the House and 37 members of the Senate that you know caved in. And the first thing I would be doing is, in every one of their districts, in every one of their states, I would activate the political activists in those districts and states to let those people know that they need to stand strong and they need to represent their constituents.”
The Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Madison Project are among the organizations pledging to support grass-roots candidates willing to toss their hats into the ring against establishment, incumbent Republicans.
And then there’s THIS REACTION to Viguerie and company from the somewhat more civilized Rod Dreher writing in the American Conservative:
This is astonishing, and can only be driven by an ideological mindset so impervious to reality that it would rather destroy political conservatism’s chances of actually running the country than succumb to the least impurity in the ranks. The movement types really do believe that the GOP lost because it was stabbed in the back by its own people
at Versailles on Capitol Hill. The GOP tribalism is devolving into a Lord’s Resistance Army conservatism, after the fanatical Ugandan cultists who believe that shea butter and their confidence in God makes them impervious to bullets.
The thing about this dynamic is that the purer the activists make the GOP, the weaker the party becomes, and thus the less likely to achieve policy goals. Which just drives the forces of purgation harder. Ted Cruz rules the Jacobin Republicans now, but he should remember what happened to Robespierre.
Yeah, the next few years are going to be a lot of fun as the GOP tears itself apart.