Don’t underestimate the chances that people who think like Bob Rucho might control Congress a year from now.
Behind Rucho’s tweet and the budget battle in Washington is a death match between the Tea Party and the GOP Establishment. If the Tea Party wins that war, and if Obamacare sinks Democrats in November, the Tea Party could end up in charge. Compared to what will come after that, the Gingrich-Clinton battles of the late 1990s will look like a, well, tea party.
So if you’re tempted to dismiss today’s right-wing rants and tweets, heed the warning signs.
Yes, Rucho’s tweet was condemned by Establishment Republicans like state Chair Claude Pope (one TAPster said: “He reads your blog!”) andSenator Jeff Tarte, who is Speaker Thom Tillis’ friend, neighbor and political ally. But Tea Party leaders leapt to Rucho’s defense, and what he said is right down the Tea Party-Fox News party line.
Then there is the PPP poll finding that Kentucky Republicans say they like Rand Paul (Tea Party) better than Mitch McConnell (Establishment) by a 59-27 margin.
Then there is Senator Richard Burr’s flip-flop on the bipartisan budget compromise. Politico reported that “North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a close friend of (Speaker John) Boehner’s, said last week he’d vote to advance the deal, but on Monday he changed course and decided to sustain a filibuster, a spokesman said.”
Democrats underestimated the Republican right wing before: After the Goldwater debacle in 1964. Then Ronald Reagan came along and almost derailed Nixon in 1968. Eventually, the right wing took over the GOP and then the White House and Congress.
It can happen again.