Juan Williams (isn’t he a TV guy?) wrote a piece that appeared in The Wall Street Journal today about what has led to the irrelevance of Republicans in the U.S. Senate. After noting that John McCain and Lindsey Graham can huff and puff all they like, but won’t be able to blow Susan Rice down, Williams says of Senate Republicans in general:
They have only themselves to blame. Six months ago, a GOP takeover of the Senate was plausible. Yet in the Nov. 6 elections, Democrats expanded their hold, to 55-45, from 53-47. (Two independents caucus with the Democrats.) By any pre-election reckoning, Democrats should have lost seats. They had to defend 23 seats while the GOP had to defend only 10.
In the aftermath of the vote, there is no better place than in the U.S. Senate to observe the current war over the future of the Republican Party.
The 2012 vote was the second cycle in a row when the GOP had a clear shot at winning control of the Senate but blew the chance by nominating ideologues. Conservative activists who dominate the GOP primaries selected hard-line, right-wing candidates without any regard for their ability to win the general election and increase the number of Republicans in the Senate…
This, of course, is what Jim DeMint and his ilk have wrought, running about the country pushing extremists.
And as we all know, one of the prime targets of such efforts is our other U.S. senator:
And now conservative and tea party activists look to be doubling down for 2014. They are already talking about primary challenges to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican; to Maine Sen. Susan Collins; and to Mr. Graham in South Carolina…
Mr. McConnell is far from alone in this fight for the future of Senate Republicans. Sen. Graham is known in Washington for his battles with Mr. Obama over everything from budgets to Benghazi. But the head of the conservative group Club for Growth, Chris Chocola, said in September that his group “has a lot of interest” in finding a more conservative candidate to take the Senate seat for South Carolina. “Our first focus is open, safe Republican seats,” Mr. Chocola said. “Our second focus is incumbents behaving badly. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you scare the heck out of the rest of them.”
Scaring incumbent Republicans from the right wing of the political spectrum is proving to be effective at keeping them in line. GOP senators know the danger of moderating their views—there is a political penalty attached to any political compromise with Democrats…
That seems to be a major pastime for extremists on the right — scaring people. Nikki Haley has referred to making mainstream pols afraid as “a beautiful thing.”
The column doesn’t mention Tom Davis. I guess he’s not quite on the national radar yet.
One wonders what they think they are accomplishing. It must be a terrible thing for one’s mind to be in the grip of an ideology. Sort of like the fable about the scorpion and the frog. That’s just what scorpions do, even if it means drowning themselves.