Floundering Republican Elites Lose Control of Party, Ask “What Civil War?”

Ask the elites of the Republican establishment in Washington about the civil war within their party, and you’re likely to be met with feigned bewilderment. Well golly, I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about!

It’s a strategy that has been an almost religiously adhered to by the so-called adult types – the John Boehners and Paul Ryans in Congress, and George Wills and Charles Krauthammers of the punditry class – who are grasping at straws in an effort to keep the party from coming completely unglued.

But now, even the most wide-eyed supporters must now see through this guise of unity. This week House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who boasts a 95 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, was tossed aside for Dave Brat, an unknown ultra-conservative Tea Partier. That’s right, the same Eric Cantor who has been long-considered a young star of the party, known for being a constant thorn in the President’s side for his refusal to compromise his conservative values, was toppled by the Tea Party in the blink of a primary. He became the sitting first majority leader in history to lose a primary since the position was created in 1899. Just hours later, extreme Tea Partier Chris McDaniel, who is running to unseat incumbent conservative Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran in another nasty and drawn out intra-party fight, sent a fundraising email with the subject line “We Just Beat Eric Cantor.”

Now that the Tea Party has killed the narrative of its decline with a single swift victory, what will be their next target? The American people can only await complete and utter government gridlock in the coming months.

Background:

John Boehner: “There’s Not That Big A Difference Between What You Call The Tea Party And Your Average Conservative Republican.” According to the Washington Post, “House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to erase suggestions Tuesday of an ongoing divide between traditional Republican Party members and tea party-backed insurgent candidates as voters head to the polls to cast ballots in several states with contested GOP primaries. ‘There’s not that big a difference between what you call the tea party and your average conservative Republican,’ he said. ‘We’re against Obamacare, we think taxes are too high, we think government is too big. I wouldn’t continue to sing that same song.’” [Washington Post, 5/20/14]

Rep. Paul Ryan: “I Don’t Think There’s Really This Vast Civil War In The Republican Party.” According to a transcript of an interview with Rep. Paul Ryan by Charlie Rose on CBS’ Face the Nation, “Paul Ryan: They’re within a big tent. That’s my– that was my point in my speech in the– in the Republican Party. We are not having disagreements with each other on principles or even policies.Charlie Rose: There is. Ryan: –have had occurred have been really over tactics. And so I think we should all put it in perspective. I called the Battle of Ideas, its creative tension. And I don’t think there’s really this vast civil war in the Republican Party that like many in the left like suggest there is.” [Paul Ryan Interview, CBS Face the Nation, 3/9/14]

Rep. Paul Ryan On GOP: “We Are Not Having Disagreements With Each Other On Principles Or Even Policies.” According to a transcript of an interview with Rep. Paul Ryan by Charlie Rose on CBS’ Face the Nation, “Charlie Rose: Let me take you back to CPAC in– in vigorous debate. On the one hand, there was Governor Chris Christie who talked about an inclusive party, on the other hand there was Senator Ted Cruz who talked about, you know, a different message. I mean what’s happening in terms of those two polls of the Republican Party? Paul Ryan: They’re within a big tent. That’s my– that was my point in my speech in the– in the Republican Party. We are not having disagreements with each other on principles or even policies.” [Paul Ryan Interview, CBS Face the Nation, 3/9/14]

Joe Scarborough: “There’s No Civil War In The Republican Party.” According to a clip from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said, “We talked about it after the government shutdown blew up, you can all of these groups have felt pressure since then from republican donors and government think tanks saying ‘we want Harry Reid out as majority leader.’ Boy you saw it last night. There’s no civil war in the Republican Party, at least from what we saw last night.” [MSNBC Morning Joe, 5/21/14]

Charles Krauthammer: “There Is Much Less Division Among Conservatives Than Some People Pretend.” According to the Daily Caller, “Charles Krauthammer says the objectives of the tea party and the so-called ‘GOP establishment’ are essentially the same. […] ‘My argument is there is much less division among conservatives than some people pretend and that the left-wing media, the liberal media, would like us to believe…They love running stories on the great civil war among Republicans. The great civil war right now is happening on the Democratic side where there is this massive rebellion of Democrats against Obama, Obamacare and the liberal elites that shoved it down their throats.’” [Daily Caller, 11/18/13]

George Will: Media Discussion Of A GOP Civil War Is “Perfect Nonsense.” According to the transcript of an interview with George Will on Fox News Sunday, “Look, the Republicans have been fighting with one another since 1912, when a former Republican ran against an incumbent Republican, Teddy Roosevelt against William Howard Taft. And the conservative movement can’t win in this argument because if they are harmonious, the media says stultifying, monochrome, oppressive, no diversity. And then when they argue with each other, they say cry havoc and slip the dogs of civil war in the Republican Party. It’s perfect nonsense.” [Fox News Sunday Roundtable via LexisNexis, 3/9/14]