March 19, 2013

 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at CPAC. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at CPAC. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

Ed Rogers says it’s time for the Republican Party to stop indulging in necrophilia. Actually he didn’t put it quite that way; he said the party needs to move on from its obsession with why it lost, let the recent Republican National Committee post-mortem be the final word and get on with it.

The RNC report recommends reforming the presidential nominating process by having fewer debates, fewer caucuses and more clustered primaries, all in service of getting a stronger nominee more quickly. The Republican establishment wants to make sure that Dobby stays locked up in the bedroom, and doesn’t ruin their party. (For those of you who aren’t Harry Potter fans, Dobby is the mischievous house-elf who wreaks havoc on the young wizard’s muggle family. In this analogy, Dobby stands for those spoiler conservative candidates.)

Anyway, the party’s activist base is outraged. It’s one thing when Republicans try to disenfranchise Democrats; quite another when they try to do it to their own members. Social conservatives know this is an attempt to marginalize them because the establishment blames them for pushing Mitt Romney, and potentially the next nominee, too far to the right in primaries to win the center in the general election. Years ago, one wing of the Republican Party, the plutocrat, corporate-welfare wing, made a Faustian bargain with the other, the tea party, social-conservative wing. The plutocrats’ terms: Work with us and we’ll pursue your anti-abortion, pro-gun, etc. agenda. But then, at the federal level, the social agenda would always be ignored in favor of the real agenda: cutting taxes and eliminating regulation.

In recent years, the party’s social conservatives have grown into a grass-roots rebellion, joining forces with tea party economic conservatives who believe establishment Republicans have been complicit in allowing government spending to run rampant.

The Republicans have a real mess on their hands, and the new party activists, the millions who supported Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, won’t go quietly. So, apologies, to Ed, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.