The conventional wisdom after Tuesday’s primaries was that the GOP establishment fended off the Tea Party from nominating extremists to run for the House and Senate, thereby making the races competitive. No more Todd Akins of Missouri and his unique take on gynecology or Sharron Angle of Nevada and her Second Amendment solutions. Whew; Mitch McConnell and John Boehner dodged those bullets, didn’t they?
It’s all relative, though. The so-called establishment Republicans have basically become the Tea Party without the funny hats and Rascal scooters. The difference between the spittle-flecked demonstrators and small-town sheriffs and the RNC is that they don’t use the N-word out loud. House Speaker John Boehner basically says so:
“I think the tea party has brought great energy to our political process,” the Ohio congressman said when asked about Tuesday’s contests.
“You get in these primary elections – they are hard-fought battles and sometimes – listen, there is not that much, not that big a difference between what you call the tea party and your average conservative Republican,” he said, pointing to the GOP’s near-unanimous opposition to Obamacare, tax increases and an overbearing federal government.
Easy for him to say that now.
Meanwhile, the Tea Partiers who tried and failed to win the Senate primary in Georgia are stepping aside to be replaced by folks who make them look like gay Kenyan socialists.
One of the most common Twitter-memes early last night was that no matter who won the ultimate Senate prize, Congress would be rid of Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, two of the members most likely to say very crazy things.
Before celebrating their departure, you might want to take a look at the contests to replace these two men in heavily Republican districts. In both cases, the top finisher last night was someone I had singled out in the past to exemplify the scary “bench” being built by the GA GOP.
In Broun’s district, the leader of the pack and a runoff finalist is the Rev. Jody Hice, a raging homophobe and long-time opponent of church-state separation, who became nationally famous in an earlier campaign for putting up billboards featuring the legend “Tired of Obama’s Change?” with the “c” in “Change” turned into a hammer-and-sickle. He faces a wealthy trucking executive in the runoff, but if the turnout is as low as I think it will be, Hice should be considered the front-runner.
Meanwhile, in Gingrey’s district, a big well-funded field was trounced by a former state senator named Barry Loudermilk, who is a classic, teeth-grinding “constitutional conservative”…
It’s a token of how far things have gotten out of control in the Georgia GOP that Loudermilk’s runoff opponent, Bob Barr, will be the RINO in the contest.
For those of you who don’t remember, Bob Barr used to be in the House. He was an impeachment manager against Bill Clinton, he still harbors doubts about Barack Obama’s birth certificate, and in 2008 he ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket. Only in the meshuggeh Tea Party world could Mr. Barr be considered a RINO.