Republicans Aren’t Happy With Their Party Leadership, But Why?
Republicans aren't happy with their leadership. The reason why is also the reason why Republicans are in trouble politically.
Is this due to moderates who think the GOP leadership has become a captive of the tea party? Or is it due to tea partiers who think the leadership is selling out to the moderates?
Since there were no follow-up questions to this poll question, it’s hard to say for sure, but I would suggest that we can come up with a pretty good idea of what it might mean just by looking at the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Republican Party base over the past several years. If you listen closely, or heck even not that closely at all, the complaints coming from that sector of the party aren’t about a leadership that is “a captive of the tea party,” it’s the complaint that the leadership is far too apt to compromise. We heard it during the debate over the debt ceiling two years ago this summer, during the debates over various budget measures, during the debate earlier this year over the relief bill for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. More recently, we’ve seen the same reaction to efforts to lessen the impact of the budget sequester, and the Senate’s immigration reform bill. Looking into the future, there are already signs of similar reactions occurring based on how the GOP leadership in both Chambers of Congress deal with the impending Fiscal Year 2014 budget battle and the approaching need to raise the debt ceiling. Throughout the past four years, the message from the base to the leadership has been consistent and clear. No compromise. No work on actual legislation. Don’t do anything that doesn’t involve “stopping Obama.”
That’s not to say that there isn’t a segment of the Republican Party that is frustrated with the manner in which Senate and House Republicans are behaving. We hear from them from time to time, and they do include some notable voices of Republican eras past. You’ll also find them among the high-dollar business-oriented donors that have long financed Republican campaigns in the past. They are, however, a diminishing voice of influence inside the Republican Party itself thanks to the rise of the Tea Party and its hard-right conservative allies.
So, to answer Drum’s question, I think it’s a safe bet to say that the reason behind the poll number he points to has much more to do with the Tea Party crowd thinking that the GOP leadership is too accommodating than it does with those Republicans who, though they might not admit it publicly, recognize that the party is harming itself by becoming captive to a hard-right conservative “Tea Party” movement more interested in scoring ideological points and fundraising than in actual governing.