Like some of you, I am eager to see the Tea Party radicals subdued within the GOP. But anybody who thinks it would be a good thing to kick them out of the party, if that could be done, should read Daniel Larison, who says that to lose the Tea Party voters would be doom for the Republicans. More:
For all the mistakes that Tea Partiers have made in the last few years, they weren’t the ones that drove the party into the ditch. Indeed, much of the party’s current toxicity with the public is the legacy of the last era of united Republican government. The Bush era was the political disaster from which Republicans have been recovering. Cruz isn’t helping to get the party out of the deep hole where the Bush administration put it, but driving his supporters out of the party would be even more politically self-destructive than the tactics that Cruz has been employing this year.
Similarly, Ross Douthat continues to point out that while the Tea Party populists have been the source of disastrous errors, they are also the only source of innovative post-Bush policy thinking. More:
Yet at the same time, to the extent that policy differences are driving the current intra-G.O.P. fight, the populists tend to have 1) decent ideas and 2) a better sense than their establishment rivals of how to brand the party as something other than just a tool of rich people and business interests. Their strategy is disastrous, but their substance has something to recommend it. Which is part of the reason why it isn’t enough, for the Republicans to escape their current cul-de-sac, for the party leadership to “win” and the populist base to “lose” — let alone for the leadership to somehow jettison the base. Instead, somebody, somehow, has to both integrate and purge — leaving the Tea Party’s baggage by the roadside while continuing to speak to populist impulses and taking up populist ideas, and folding both into a strategic vision that’s more connected to political reality than what we’ve seen these last few weeks.
Who can be the Great Uniter? Who can be the person who can take the best of the populists, and combine it with the prudence of the GOP old guard to target all that energy toward accomplishing something?
I’m without a party because I cannot abide the GOP Establishment that brought us Bushism. The Tea Party has a point. But at the same time, I cannot abide the scorched-earth craziness that animates the populists. And I’m not going to become a Democrat because I’m not a liberal. Frustrating!