After the Democrats took the House in 2006 in a response to Republican corruption and the Bush Administration's mishandling of, well - everything, the Republicans should have taken notice. After the Democrats took the Senate and the White House in 2008, the Republicans should have taken notice. Instead, they decided the best defense was a good offense and approximately 1.3 milliseconds after President Obama took office, the Tea Party was born, along with their outrage over the debt, budget deficits, and uncontrolled spending that President Obama had not yet had any part of.
The Tea Party had the advantage of skilled messengers (Luntz, Rove, Norquist, Armey) and a media outlet to deliver that message 24x7 (FOX "News"). They were relentless, and it paid off. The 2010 mid-term elections saw the Republicans retake the House and narrow the gap in the Senate, despite some Tea Party candidate losses that should have been easy wins for a Republican senatorial candidate.
In 2012, despite gerrymandering districts at the state level, Democrats drastically narrowed the gap in the House, increased their numbers in the Senate, and retained the White House. Once again, Senate seats that should have been easily won by Republicans were lost to Democrats because of extreme Tea Party candidates.
This time, the Republicans are taking notice. FOX News let hockey mom Tea Party leader Sarah Palin go. They also just let Dick Morris go
after incorrectly predicting big wins for the Republicans. Karl Rove's infamous meltdown on FOX over Ohio has not yet led to his departure, but we'll see.
Meanwhile. he's praising President Obama
, and trying to "reform" the Republican party by ensuring they nominate senatorial candidates that can win state-wide elections
. Those Tea Party candidates easily win the Presidential nom, but fail miserably when the moderates of the state decide they'd rather have a reasonable Dem than a whack-job Rep. Naturally, the Tea Party sees him as a Judas that is part of the establishment problem. Karl just wants to keep his investors happy so the money keeps flowing.
Ground zero for this moderate -vs- extreme battle is Iowa. House Rep Steve King (R-IA) is the Tea Party favorite and well-known extremist freak
. Also running for the seat is the more moderate Tom Latham (R-IA). The oncoming train wreck is one that Karl Rove would like to prevent
Two polls released Tuesday — one by GOP pollster Wenzel Strategies for the conservative group Citizens United and another conducted by Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling — show King holding a clear lead over Latham in a hypothetical primary showdown.
The PPP poll also shows that Latham would be a much stronger general-election candidate in the swing state. He comes within 4 percentage points of Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), whom many expect to run. Braley leads King by 11 points, according to PPP.
King told The Hill that he “absolutely” believed he could win in a statewide general election.
And therein lies the problem: The Tea Party lives in their own fantasy world, unperturbed by things like polls and election results. Karl Rove got religion on election day - his epiphany was painful and hilarious to watch.
Other Republicans have learned the lesson as well. Suddenly, Eric Cantor is talking like a moderate. He's talking up
the ideals of the Dream Act again. He's calling for bipartisanship
to break the gridlock in Washington.
Of course - once you scratch the surface, the "new ideas" sound an awful lot like the old ideas:
Asked if Cantor now supported the DREAM Act, a source close to the House majority leader clarified that Cantor “did not endorse” a particular policy to deal with children of illegal immigrants.
On Medicaid, Cantor suggested that giving states "more flexibility" is the answer.
It's all just fluff on top of the same tired proposals
On Capitol Hill this week, Republicans have dedicated themselves to passing symbolic legislation that, if signed into law, would force President Obama to submit a budget that eliminates the deficit. They’ve likewise committed themselves to passing a budget that balances the budget within 10 years, via spending cuts alone, which in effect will require slashing federal programs — from health care to transportation to border security to scientific research — even more deeply than they proposed in their previous budgets.
Meanwhile they’ve never seriously grappled with the harm that axing the federal government would cause the economy, and remained unmoved Tuesday when the Congressional Budget Office, in its annual outlook, warned that the austerity measures already on the books will snuff out most of the country’s economic potential this year.
In order then, replacing the sequester with cuts to food stamps and Medicaid would be preferable to letting the sequester take effect, but both would be preferable than any sequester replacement that includes even a thimble full of tax revenue wrung from closing loopholes that benefit powerful interests.
So despite their outward appearances of trying to moderate their views, they are only shifting as much as absolutely necessary to win. Perhaps Steve King should
be the Republican nominee for that Senate seat in Iowa. At least he's being honest about what the Republican party truly represents.