Republican Moderates Sure Are Tired Of All Those Tea Partiers Getting Their Way

by John Hawkins | July 31, 2012 8:38 am


So says: Buzzfeed[2]: for whatever that’s worth.

First, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Rep. Steve LaTourette had abruptly decided to retire. That decision shocked many Republicans, in part because LaTourette — who like Boehner is from Ohio — has had, at least until recently, an extremely close relationship with the Speaker.

At the same time, Syracuse Republican Rep. Hanna harshly criticized the GOP, arguing leadership has gone too far in deferring to the demands of conservatives.

“I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we – I mean the Republican Party – are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,” Hanna told the Post-Standard.

According to Republicans, moderate members of the House GOP conference feel that Boehner, who has struggled with an often raucous and openly defiant right wing, has forced them to go along with conservative demands but has provided them little in return.

One Republican familiar with the dynamics within the GOP argued part of the difficulty for Boehner has been the fact that conservatives – and not moderates – have been the “squeaky wheel” within the conference, which has forced him to focus on them for much of the 112th Congress.

Rather than work with his entire conference Boehner has had to “prove to conservatives constantly that he’s advocating for them and not screwing them behind their backs,” the Republican said.

Boehner remains deeply popular within his conference, and despite the frustration of moderates he faces virtually no chance of an effort oust him as Speaker.

Although a spokesman for Boehner declined to comment, one Republican lawmaker privately downplayed Hanna’s complaints, noting that pushing back against leadership is a favored past time of lawmakers in swing districts like Hanna’s.

Nevertheless, Republicans acknowledged that unhappiness with leadership amongst the moderate ranks has been growing for months. Earlier this year LaTourette and the chamber’s “Old Bulls” — a group of old-line appropriators and other dealmakers — openly broke with Boehner over his efforts to reshape federal transportation spending.

To begin with, Steve LaTourette is no great loss. For that matter, Richard Hanna wouldn’t be either. Hanna is basically a Democrat with a (R) beside his name running in a Republican district. If he switched parties, I’m not sure anyone would notice the difference. You can’t run as Jim DeMint and win in every district, but it’s not acceptable to run to the left of your district like LaTourette or Hanna either.

Let me also note that you can be a Republican who’s in favor of big government and more spending, just like you can be a Republican who’s pro-abortion or in favor of gun control. But, don’t kid yourself: Deficit spending is no longer a conservative vs. moderate issue; it’s a Republican vs. Democrat issue. If you’re in favor of more spending, you’re not just out of step with Tea Partiers, you’re out of step with Republicans.

That has actually been the case for a long time, but now the Tea Party and organizations like the: Club for Growth[3]: are playing the same enforcer role that groups like the: NRA[4]: and the: Family Research Council[5]: do on other issues.

That means there are some teeth being applied on fiscal responsibility for the first time since the Clinton era – and that’s a good thing. In fact, the economic survival of the United States depends on it because we can no longer afford to have two parties full of politicians spending our tax dollars like kids in the world’s most expensive candy store. If there are moderates who don’t like that, sorry, but conservatives provide most of the GOP’s voters, funding, volunteers, and intellectual firepower. Moderates are certainly welcome to come along for the ride, but if the Republicans need conservatives to have a chance to win, then it’s time the Right starts calling the shots.

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