To fully understand the state of play in the Republican party, look no further than Sens. Mike Enzi (WY) and Pat Roberts (KS). Both are reliable, mainstream conservatives, yet neither have a record of seeking a fight or standing on principle. Think Orrin Hatch, without the tab-collars. Both, however, stood with Ted Cruz in the fight over ObamaCare. Not coincidentally, both face serious primary challengers.
Sen. Mike Enzi is being challenged by Liz Cheney, who criticizes his “go-along-to-get-along” approach to government. Sen. Pat Roberts, who helped guide HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius through the nomination process, is being challenged by doctor, and Obama cousin, Milton Wolf. Nothing in their legislative record suggests they would have sided with Sens. Cruz and Mike Lee but for these primary challenges.
While most of the media and the GOP establishment try to pin blame for the recent fiscal stand-off on conservatives and the Tea Party, in reality the debate shows how bankrupt the GOP establishment has become. Senators, who serve six-year terms, spend most of their time in office immune from voters. They often get caught up in the world of DC salons. As the ballot box approaches, however, they affect a more conservative posture.
We all remember how Sen. John McCain, a vocal advocate now for amnesty, took a decidedly different tact when running for reelection.
Safely reelected, McCain led the establishment Republican charge against Sen. Ted Cruz. Just moments after Cruz ended his epic 21-hour speech against ObamaCare, McCain took to the Senate floor to trash the freshman Senator. This came just months after McCain and his doppelganger Sen. Lindsey Graham attacked Sen. Rand Paul for raising legitimate concerns about the Obama Administration’s use of drones.
Every Republican in office was elected, in part, because of their criticism of ObamaCare. But, when the issue was in dispute, they didn’t “have the strength to force the moment to its crisis.” The establishment GOP spent more time criticizing Cruz and fellow Republicans than they spent criticizing Obama. They have exposed themselves.
In the words of TS Eliot:
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;Am an attendant lord, one that will doTo swell a progress, start a scene or two,Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,Deferential, glad to be of use,Politic, cautious, and meticulous;Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;At times, indeed, almost ridiculous, Almost, at times, the Fool.
The GOP establishment is definitely the Fool in this drama. Its eagerness to attack the Tea Party and conservatives betrays how far it has fallen.