The gall of the far right never disappoints. Republican Ken Cuccinelli II is heading for a loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race, so right-wing supporters are marshaling their excuses. The newest: The GOP establishment didn’t support him. Well, that is rich.
The right wing has spent the last few months excoriating, vowing to primary and seeking to undermine the “establishment.” The hard-right crowd has at times suggested leaving the GOP. Jim DeMint argues he’d rather have 30 “true conservatives” than a Senate majority. And now they discover that their fringe is incapable of winning elections without the center-right. Perhaps they need all those RINO’s after all.
Then there is Cuccinelli himself. He began the campaign with a book tour, treating audiences to his highly partisan, ultra-conservative musings. He’s given voters no assurance that he would eschew hot-button social issues once elected. He refused to repudiate the homophobic rantings of E.W. Jackson, the candidate for lieutenant governor. He has every right to run as who he is — in fact it’s admirable in a way — but when then confronted with an electorate out of step with his own sentiments and rhetoric, he and his supporters can hardly blame the voters.
Blaming the voters, the “establishment,” the party and the media is the last refuge of losing right-wingers. You recall they blamed the “establishment” when their shutdown strategy failed to drum up Democratic support. They blamed the “establishment” (and all those voters, I suppose) who nominated Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and then Mitt Romney in successive presidential elections, failing to acknowledge that the more conservative candidates were deeply flawed, unprepared and/or too extreme even for the GOP electorate.
For a group insistent that we all take responsibility for our lives the right wing — at least its most arrogant elements — never has been big on self-examination. They discount evidence they are out of step with voters. They pursue unattainable goals. They ridicule compromise and moderation. But they are surprised when they fail to win outside of deep-red states? Alas, the fault lies not in the establishment, but in themselves.