Albert Hunt: Tea Party Remains Challenge to Republican Establishment

Sunday, 13 Jul 2014 11:29 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

The Republican establishment beat back most challenges from its movement right in this year's primaries, including a play to fill the House majority leader slot.

Some business interests and entrenched congressional politicians argue the party's right wing is in retreat. Not so.

Many of the more establishment Republicans who prevailed in primaries had moved decidedly to the right. The Republican agenda on Capitol Hill largely is framed by the most conservative of the conservatives.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

"The movement right is as strong as ever," says Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action, a leading conservative advocacy group. "We're out front on ideas and technology."

The movement right isn't easily defined. It includes anti-immigrant activists, social-issue fundamentalists and the economic right, where conservative intellectuals are trying to fashion new ideas. It is less enamored with big business than more traditional Republicans.

Jeb Bush, John Boehner, the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove, a former top adviser to George W. Bush, are in the establishment camp. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, along with the Tea Party, belong to the diffuse movement right.

The right wing suffered a series of visible primary election defeats. Most prominently, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell easily beat back a challenger in Kentucky, and Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran survived a brutal battle. (The surprising defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was attributable to his falling out of touch with his Virginia constituents.)

But many of the victors have been veering sharply to the right. McConnell's campaign manager is Rand Paul's top political operative. The Republican Senate candidate for Iowa, Joni Ernst, embraced the possibility of impeaching President Barack Obama; North Carolina's Senate nominee, Thom Tillis, trumpeted his opposition to same-sex marriage; and the veteran Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, facing a primary challenge next month, has voted against raising the debt ceiling and against the farm bill.

"I have no problems with some of these candidates," says Sal Russo, a Reagan Republican who is chief strategist of the Tea Party Express political action committee.

While the leadership in Congress is establishment, there's a starboard tilt in party caucuses. In the House, the Republican right killed immigration reform, a top priority of the business community.

Now it wants to kill the Export-Import Bank, which assists U.S. companies exporting overseas.

This issue crystallizes the divide. Much of the right considers the bank's aid a form of crony capitalism. Needham calls it "Boeing's bank," a reference to the subsidies it provides to the U.S. aircraft manufacturer.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a top trade and budget official in the George W. Bush administration and one of the most respected members of the Republican establishment, calls the Export-Import Bank an invaluable tool for U.S. companies "to be able to succeed in the international marketplace."

The bank, which in fact turns a small profit for taxpayers, may survive, but the fight has laid open a party schism. A leading indicator: The new House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, hoping to avoid a challenge within his conference in the next Congress, switched positions and now opposes reauthorization of the bank.

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential contest, all the vitality is on the right -- with Cruz, Paul and perhaps former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the mix. There is no Republican establishment favorite.

Activists say this will energize Republicans to offer voters a vibrant choice rather than an uninspiring echo.

Conservatives in and out of Congress are coming up with a lot of ideas to help craft a more positive agenda. The aim is to appeal to more independent-minded and younger voters; the danger is the ferment gets lost in internal struggles over national security, the priorities of hot-button social issues and, as always, immigration. The Mississippi Senate fight this summer, with its ugly racial overtones, isn't a good harbinger.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Ex-Obama Counsel Ruemmler Exits Attorney General Consideration

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 17:11 PM

Former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler took herself out of the running to become the next U.S. attorney general, pa . . .

Travelers to New York Area Airports May Face Quarantine

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 16:58 PM

New York and New Jersey will bolster screening for Ebola beyond federal requirements for travelers from West Africa arri . . .

Foundation Run by Kerry's Wife Funds Anti-Israel Eatery

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 16:58 PM

A foundation chaired by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, is funding a radical anti-Israel, ant . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved