GOP Establishment Concedes Tea Party Will Not Retreat, No Longer Views Movement as 'Fad'
Even after thinking the Tea Party would be just a "fad" after the historic 2010 midterm elections in which the Tea Party put House Republicans back in power, the Republican establishment reportedly has finally realized that Tea Party is not going to retreat and the battle for the "soul of the party" will continue into "next year and beyond."
The Washington Post's veteran congressional reporter Paul Kane, who has always had a gauge on the mindset of the permanent political class establishment, wrote that the Republican establishment hoped that Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli would lose badly enough that the Tea Party brand would be forced "into some kind of retreat."
But after Cuccinelli lost by just two percentage points in a race that many thought he would lose by ten, nobody in the Republican establishment believed the Tea Party would be on the retreat.
And now the establishment is redoubling its efforts to strike back.
According to the Post, those "results convinced some establishment Republicans that they need to confront the GOP’s conservative base more aggressively."
Groups like the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) will reportedly try to "knock out" conservatives they believe will be lesser candidates than those preferred by the establishment. Big-business interests have also signaled they will wage war against Tea Party conservatives in the primaries to take out those opposed to comprehensive immigration reform legislation that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of working class Americans.
"This counterinsurgency effort emerged recently after the party’s establishment spent the past three years tolerating the tea party movement on the assumption that it was a fad that would fade away," the Post writes. "The expectation now is that the long-running internal battle for the soul of the party will continue deep into next year and beyond."