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Hullabaloo


Monday, February 10, 2014

 
The Very Serious Ted Cruz?

by digby

Does this make any sense to you?
When Speaker John Boehner declared in December that conservative groups like Heritage Action for America had “lost all credibility,” Washington was stunned.

For years, the powerful organizations had pushed congressional Republicans further and further to the right, keeping score of every vote — even if a “no” vote meant shutting down the government.
But Heritage Action is now rolling out a less confrontational approach by holding its first-ever Conservative Policy Summit on Monday to celebrate ideas from conservative stars like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, and Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho on everything from health care to education. It’s a sign that the conservative wing of the party heard Boehner loud and clear. Heritage Action is willing to adapt — but it isn’t going away...

The question: Will a gentler and more proactive Heritage Action pull the same weight on Capitol Hill, where it has often shaped the priorities of House Republicans by trying to block bills, not pass them?

So, according to Politico "celebrating the ideas" of Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Raul Labrador is "kinder and gentler?" Really? These were the very same congressional members who agitated for the government shutdown.

I don't know if anyone in the GOP believes that having a Conservative Policy Summit let by the Tea Partiest or the Tea Party can be considered some sort of capitulation to the party establishment, but it would appear that Politico, at least, has decided that these "conservative stars" are legitimate mainstream players with important policy ideas.

The article goes on to explain that Heritage was previously highly valued in the GOP for its policy guidance but since Heritage Action became a right wing grassroots lobbying arm, they are no longer so popular. Which explains why they are back in the "policy" realm. With Cruz, Lee and Labrador leading the way. I guess they're now officially Very Serious People. With a Very Serious game plan:

Though he doesn’t like incremental change, Needham realizes the limitations of his role in a divided government. He wants House Republican leaders to adopt Heritage’s sweeping brand of conservative legislation in a host of policy areas and pass it with all GOP votes to draw a sharp contrast between the Republican House and Democratic Senate.

Needham argues that will help Republicans retake the Senate, leading to a GOP-controlled Congress that forces Obama to veto conservative legislation. And he thinks that raises the odds that a Republican will win the White House in 2016.

Despite its status as an explicit political arm of the storied Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action does not play in elections or endorse candidates, leaving that to allies like Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservatives Fund. Needham says Heritage Action is filling a “market niche” that is necessary to eventually enact conservative laws.

“Establishment politicians think about this … as a sequential thing: So, we’re going to win elections, and then, once we win elections, we’re going to do all sorts of stuff to change the status quo in Washington, … and then once we do that we can advance bold policy,” Needham said. “The only way for conservatives to win is, we have to figure out how to do all three at once.”
It occurs to me with all this reminiscing about the 60s going on these days that the one thing these Republicans really have going for them is the fact that they wear suits and ties and look like traditional white leader archetypes. If they looked as radical as they are, they'd put the establishment's irrational fear of hippies in the grave once and for all. Maybe we could persuade them that they really need some nice spiffy uniforms?

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