With just about every poll and pundit predicting Republican success in Tuesday’s elections, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh told listeners the outcomes wouldn’t even have been close if the GOP paid more attention to its tea party base.
Limbaugh was reacting to a Politico piece posted Monday, “Mainstream GOP Sees Tipping Point vs. Insurgent Candidates,” that aimed to explain Republicans expected successes Tuesday as a victory for the party’s “establishment,” structure.
National Republicans managed this year to snuff out every bomb-throwing insurgent who tried to wrest a Senate nod away from one of their favored candidates ….
The confrontational approach — by both party committees and outside super PACs — represented a sharp departure from the GOP’s cautious strategy in the 2010 and 2012 cycles, when cartoonishly inept nominees aligned with the tea party lost the party as many as five Senate seats.
So it was the Republican national party turning its back on the tea party that set the table for victory on Tuesday?
Wrong, Limbaugh said.
It was the tea party – vast and unorganized but deeply committed — that kept the conservative cause alive and thriving long before the rest of the country or the GOP establishment got a handle on the results of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory and liberal Democrats control of the House, Senate and White House.
And if Republicans win the midterm electoral victories that are being predicted, it will be in spite of the national party’s efforts to distance itself from the base that kept it alive in the first place. Had the national party been even open to what Politico describes as “insurgents” in the GOP ranks, it would have been seeing even more success, Limbaugh said.
And if the Republican Party had embraced the most amazing political event of our lifetime, and that’s the rise of the Tea Party … — ah, you might want to say the fall of the Berlin Wall, but that also had foreign policy connotations. But out of nowhere this massive political movement rises. Out of nowhere in 2010 it arises precisely because of its opposition to the Democrat president, the Democrat Party, and what they are doing to the country, and to this day the Republican Party has refused to embrace it. In fact, it’s the opposite.
They’ve attempted to diminish and impugn the Tea Party to the point now we’ve got a Politico story, which says that the real thing the Republicans are gonna celebrate if they take the Senate is not taking the Senate but vanquishing the idea that the Tea Party is needed for Republicans to win.
As usual, Rush is right.
Of course there were primary fights between Republicans – that’s what primaries are for. But none of the Republicans in competitive races Tuesday had the luxury of turning their backs on the tea party movement.
Nor should they, even if election politics were different this year. The goal, after all, is not winning intra-Republican disputes. And it’s not winning elections just for the sake of winning elections in 2016. The goal is repairing some of the damage wrought over the past six years by the victory of “hope and change” illusions in 2008.
And that’s going to mean the tea party movement is more important even than it was before – no matter what GOP sources might be telling lefty news website reporters inside the Beltway.
“It’s not about stopping the tea party, for crying out loud!” Limbaugh said. “It’s about stopping Obama.”
It has been since Day One. And the tea party knew it long before the “mainstream” GOP did.