Charles Pierce: The Tea Party, Minus Its 'Raving Loon' Nominees, Is Now the GOP Establishment
Two prominent lefty bloggers wrote in separate Wednesday posts that even though the Tea Party label might have taken a hit in Tuesday's Republican primaries, the Tea Party ideology is riding high within the GOP.
Charles Pierce of Esquire opined that "[t]he basic lesson of last night's primary elections...is not to nominate morons" and that "this time around, being a crackpot seems to have been something of a liability."
In other words, Republican voters didn't nominate any flaky-fringy, Christine O'Donnell-Todd Akin types.That said, Pierce contended that the Tea Party seems to have completed its long march of influence through the GOP (emphasis added):
This is a mutually co-opting dynamic that is becoming smoother. The "establishment" adopts uniformly extremist policies that would have been unthinkable for a national Republican party two decades ago. The "Tea Party wing" contents itself in the knowledge that the party declines any more to nominate raving loons for election to the national legislature. My guess is that this modus vivendi will provide some empty conflict entertainment over the next two election cycles, but it all will be moon pigeons for the punditocracy to marvel at. The radical conservative philosophy has captured the infrastructure of the Republican party, root and branch, local and national. It's just wearing shoes again now.
Jed Lewison of Daily Kos argued that, contrary to the MSM narrative that the establishment GOP is routing the Tea Party, what's actually happened is that "Republicans who won [recent primaries] did so by moving so far to the right that they denied oxygen to tea party challengers."
Lewison went on (emphasis added):
I mean, let's not forget than in the past nine months alone, Republicans have shut down the government, refused to extend emergency unemployment aide, voted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare, held hearing after hearing on tea party conspiracy theories, created a new committee to uncover the nonexistent Benghazi conspiracy that the other committees were unable to find, forged a consensus that global warming is a hoax, and blocked votes on equal pay, employment nondiscrimination and the minimum wage. The list could go on.
So they literally gave no opening for anyone with any semblance of sanity to challenge them from the right...
If these guys suddenly start rejecting tea party policies, then it might be time to start asking how they managed to pull it off. But for now, it seems pretty obvious: They "beat" the tea party by joining it.