Ben Sasse and the Persistent Stupidity of Analysis of the Tea Party

by Rich Lowry

As has been noted in here, Ben Sasse won resoundingly last night. He gave a victory speech that honored Jack Kemp as a solutions-oriented conservative. And his advisors put out a memo saying,

Conservatives will be thrilled with Ben Sasse as a US Senator if they are looking for a leader who will propose and fight for conservative solutions from a constitutional perspective, but they shouldn’t expect him to adopt an instinctual reaction of ‘no’; nor should they expect that he will go out of his way to annoy establishment GOP leaders. There are certainly times he will take them on as Senator Coburn did a decade ago over earmarks, but he will also choose his battles carefully.

This has been interpreted by some as Sasse taking a shot at Ted Cruz and other tea-party conservatives immediately upon winning the nomination. It is more properly understood as Ben Sasse being Ben Sasse, and as push-back against the thoughtless narrative of tea-party conservatives as substance-less tactical extremists. From the beginning, Sasse has made it clear that he’s an unapologetic policy wonk who is not just going to say “no” to Obama folly, but work to come up with better solutions. Anyone who thinks that any of this is necessarily in tension with the Tea Party hasn’t listened to a Mike Lee and Marco Rubio speech lately.

The memo, by the way, is excellent and worth reading in full.

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