Fascinating. Literally just after I had finished my previous post about Obama and the Democrats blaming various segments of their own base for costing them so many seats in Tuesday’s election, came this news from Politico (via kos), that the GOP is also engaging in open intra-party warfare in public:
Long-simmering tensions within the Republican Party spilled into public view Wednesday as the pragmatic and conservative wings of the GOP blamed each other in blunt terms for the party’s failure to capture the Senate.
With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.
Movement conservatives pointed the finger right back at the establishment, accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of squandering millions on a California race that wasn’t close at the expense of offering additional aid in places like Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, where Democratic Sen. Patty Murray holds a narrow lead as the votes continue to be counted.
I don’t have much to add to or say about this, except that it’s exactly what I predicted would happen sooner or later, as the teabaggers became more and more closely aligned – officially, anyway, though clearly not always in principle – with the GOP. Even while some pretty bitter recriminations ring through the ranks of the progressive/liberal/Dem/left right now, it’s instructive and even cheering, oddly, to be so vividly reminded that it’s at least as bad on the other side of the fence. Most of the progressive let-down, the so-called “enthusiasm gap,” is a function of progressives being disappointed that Dems, specifically Obama, didn’t do more to lead a fight and call out the bad actors in the opposition, to galvanize the troops and get more accomplished.
But on the GOP side, there are real, fundamental, intractable divisions of ideology, and of direction. The teabaggers (both the elected ones and the voters who organized for and elected them) are conservative fundamentalists – dangerously so in many cases. They’re all about doing whatever it takes to make things the way they think things ought to be – heck, they even say so. But established, traditional Washington GOP is about power: about getting it, and keeping it. Sure, they’re conservatives too – mostly – but when the chips are down, they’re about power, and about rewarding their friends. Those two things are irreconcilable, and they will come to a head some time in the not-too-distant future. Either the newly-minted teabagger reps and senators will stage an insurrection from within the party, or the old power-brokers in the establishment GOP will co-opt them and the teabagger base will furiously turn the same confrontational townhall-style tactics they used on Democrats last August on their own party.
Either way, it’s going to be fun to watch…and it’s comforting to know it’s not just us fractious Democrats and progressives who are like herding cats, sometimes. 🙂