from Mona Charen at National Review Online, Republican Self Sabotage:
For the past several years, leading voices of what Matt Lewis has called “con$ervative” media, along with groups like Heritage Action, and politicians such as Senator Ted Cruz, have ceaselessly flogged the false story-line that the Republican “grassroots” have been betrayed by the Republican leadership in Washington.
Rather than aim their anger at President Obama and the Democrats, commentators such as Ann Coulter and Mark Levin, right-wing websites, and many others have instead repeated the libel that “Republicans gave Obama everything he wanted.” There has been a flavor of the “stab in the back” to these accusations. But for the treachery of the Republican party, they claim, a party too timorous or too corrupt to stand up to Obama, we could have defunded Obamacare, balanced the budget, halted the Iran deal, you name it.
Aiming fire at your own side can be very satisfying for radio wranglers, et al. They have zero influence on Obama, but they can take down Eric Cantor. They can’t do much about Eric Holder, but they can dethrone John Boehner.
This is not to say that Republican leaders were perfect or that they couldn’t have done more in some instances to put bills on Obama’s desk — even if only to force vetoes and lay down markers for the next election. But the list of Obama initiatives Republicans thwarted is very long (universal pre-K, gun control, “paycheck fairness,” higher taxes). Moreover, the bloc of conservatives in the House that refused to vote for any budget made it that much more difficult for leadership to exert pressure on Democrats. Lastly, who believes it makes no difference that Republicans control the Senate in the wake of Justice Scalia’s death?
So congratulations to those conservatives who’ve been preaching the “betrayal” of the base by the establishment. You’ve won. You’ve convinced 70 percent of the Republican primary electorate (per the CBS poll) that the most important quality in a candidate is that he will “shake up the political system.”
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Mitch Daniels wrote in Keeping the Republic:
I have come to identify another species in our political ecosystem, the RIMO. It stands for “Republican in Mouth Only” and it describes that fairly numerous class of people who have never cut a dollar of spending , never lowered real taxes by a single dollar, never effected even one reform in the size of government or the way it serves taxpayers, or made any other actual change in the real world. They just …. talk- except that occasionally their talk, aimed so often not at opponents but at their nearest allies, winds up blocking real progress in protecting or promoting the very freedoms they claim to believe in.
The fellows who carp from the sidelines are the fantasy football players of our public life. They sit in the relative safety of their homes, at their computers, rating and often denigrating the real combatants, those who take the hits and get the bruising pushing for actions that really matter. The fantasy fans are more interested in the individual statistics of the real combatants, who, by contrast must often be willing to sacrifice their ideological and personal reputations in pursuit of the only result that matters to the fans: team victory.