From my column on the alleged conservative civil war:
Time will tell which side will lose that debate, but one thing is already clear: The tea parties won (thank goodness).
It takes two to tango, and it takes two to fight a civil war. What seems lost on a remarkably diverse group of observers and political combatants, on the left and the right, is that there are no worthy Republican opponents to the tea parties.
Among the Republican leadership or the “conservative establishment,” you will not find a single full-throated critic of the tea parties.
To borrow from an old Jim Croce song, the message out of the primaries is this: You don’t tug on Superman’s cape; you don’t spit into the wind; you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger; and you don’t mess around with the tea parties.
If the spat over the Delaware primary were truly a sign of an ideological civil war or power struggle, you would expect the “establishment” to oppose tea-party types in other races too. That hasn’t happened.
Both the GOP leadership and the major conservative outlets enthusiastically support Marco Rubio in Florida, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Sharron Angle in Nevada (after some initial concerns), and Joe Miller in Alaska. Even John McCain — an exemplary RINO to many on the right — won not by vilifying the tea parties but by claiming to join them, an approach more sincerely and consistently followed by other GOP candidates across the country.
Meanwhile, Rubio and Toomey chased moderates like Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter clear out of the Republican party. And now Miller has pretty much done the same with Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, who in a sad attempt to cling to power has announced that she will run as a write-in candidate come November. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, immediately moved to excommunicate Murkowski, stripping her of her leadership position.
In all three cases the “establishment” has said to the moderates, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” And how have they responded to the allegedly barbaric, uncouth, tea-fueled hordes storming the Beltway castle? “Lower the drawbridge!”
Still, I do think a civil war on the right may be coming, but it will be after the election and only if the GOP takes the House and/or Senate. Then we will likely see the battle between the transformers and the
decepticons appropriators. My hope is that there will be enough Republicans with tea in their veins to win those battles.