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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 
Working for The Big Change

by digby

Ed Kilgore speak, you listen:

What a lot of political observers seem to miss about today’s “constitutional conservatives” is that they view the utility of elections strictly in terms of how far they take the country towards a fixed agenda of radical change. Losing while maintaining one’s “conservative principles” is acceptable so long as the GOP is maintained as a vehicle for The Big Change once Republicans seize total power. From their point of view, it’s essential that candidates in the most favorable red turf are as ideologically pure as is possible.

This is why someone like Kevin McCarthy, the money machine, is seen as a safer bet being from a blue state than being from a red state. The most immediate, dangerous threat to the GOP establishment players comes from the right. Ed's full piece, interestingly enough, is how the Arkansas Republicans may have made a misstep in assuming that their state was now red enough to accommodate one of their crazies.

There is nothing going on in politics today as fascinating (and potentially horrific) as the prospect of what Kilgore calls "The Big Change" ever happening. Every day the crazy seems little bit more normal.

Update: Thomas Frank has a predictably good piece up about this too. This so so right:

“We got what we had coming,” wrote Rep. Eric Cantor in his book “Young Guns” in 2010. He was referring to the drubbing his party took in the 2006 Congressional elections.

Back in 1994, he reminded readers, his fellow Republicans had taken control of Congress on a platform of high idealism. Once in power, however, “too often they left these principles behind.” The Republicans in that Congress, Cantor continued, “became what they had campaigned against: arrogant and out of touch. There were important exceptions, but the GOP legislative agenda became primarily about Republican members themselves, not the greater cause.”

These Republican backsliders abandoned their free-market ideology for an orgy of earmark spending, Cantor charged, and as a result they were rightfully punished at the polls. “The fact is,” the high-minded young gun declared, “we had our chance, and we blew it.”

Given what happened to Cantor himself last week — shot down in a Republican primary by an even younger gun promising an even more zealous dedication to free-market ideals — these passages seem highly ironic and more than a little bit prophetic.

In truth, however, both Cantor’s attitude circa 2010 and his sudden downfall last week were part of a long-running and basically unchanging Republican melodrama. The clash of idealism and sellout are how conservatives always perceive their movement, and what happened to Eric Cantor is a slightly more spectacular version of what often happens to GOP brass. That right-wing leaders are seduced by Washington D.C., and that they will inevitably betray the market-minded rank-and-file, are fixed ideas in the Republican mind, certainties as definite as are its convictions that tax cuts will cure any economic problem and that liberals are soft on whoever the national enemy happens to be.

And so the movement advances along its rightward course not directly but by a looping cycle of sincerity and sellout in which the radicals of yesterday always turn out to be the turncoats of today; off to the guillotine they are sent as some new and always more righteous generation rises up in their place.

And the Democrats generally toddle along behind wondering why "the country" seems to be lurching ever rightward.

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