Does the ‘no’ crowd matter?

Sen. Jim DeMint (R- S.C.) may not have many legislative accomplishments and may have backed some losing conservative candidates, but there is no one better at getting headlines. HIs latest effort is a blast at House Republicans for their offer of $800 billion in new revenue, asserting it will destroy jobs. (Well, not as many as President Obama’s plan or the recession would, nor if the 1986 tax reform is any guide.) A House GOP aide in a tone barely betraying annoyance told Right Turn: “Senator DeMint openly admitted that tax revenues would need to go up before the election, and now he’s saying it’s irresponsible? Republicans have made a fair offer to reform the tax code, lower rates, and generate additional tax revenue, and it’s one that will lead to more economic growth and more jobs in our country.” 

Sen. Jim DeMint (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Indeed, it was just this September  when DeMint was saying, ““You can’t get a deal with Obama without raising taxes on the producing class of folks. We might as well cut a deal. If Republicans want to maintain the defense, we’re going to have to give tax increases to Obama.”

A plugged-in GOP fundraiser close to GOP leadership waves off my question about DeMint and other conservatives who would oppose any revenue deal. “ At a time like this, when the party is engaged in high stakes legislating on key issues that will affect the lives of millions and decisions that affect the future of our party politically, attacking other Republicans and conservatives is the farthest thing on my mind. Republicans are most successful when we fight with and for each other, not against each other.”

That sentiment is entirely foreign to the usual screechers in the right-wing who are threatening to primary everyone from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Oh, puleez.

 First off they are a year and a half late. The GOP’s offer of more revenue was first made in the summer of 2011. Republicans offered revenue again in the supercommittee. And if the no-to-everything crowd is going to primary people they should include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and dozens of other solid conservatives who have supported this approach for more than a year. When primarying incumbent conservatives, full disclosure would require that those doing the primarying acknowledge their other brilliant challengers included Richard Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin and Ken Buck — losers all.

Smart and sensible conservatives should ignore the drivers of the right-wing loony train and carry on. In a vote, if we ever get that far on a fiscal cliff, the votes of DeMint et al are irrelevant since they are permanent no votes. As for primaries, donors may have qualms about defeating virtually any but the most extreme Republicans. 

The joke here is that the mainstream media love the loony express. The engineers on the train to nowhere are useful props for liberals to convince the public that this is what conservatism is. The mainstream media parade the loonies around as the talking heads for the right, as if they represented a majority or even plurality of the party.

As I have written before, the all-or-nothing radicals are not conservatives if we take William F. Buckley Jr., Russell Kirk and other conservative thinkers seriously. But those folks don’t. It is good business running the loony express. Whatever damage the screechers do to the GOP is besides the point from their perspective.

For now, back to the real world and the very real possibility that the White House may prefer recession over a counteroffer to the GOP proposal. Now that is something too get irate about.

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