I have a column in today’s London Times. It’s behind the Times paywall, but some extracts here:
‘I don’t know what effect they will have on the enemy, but by God, they frighten me.’ So Arthur Wellesley is reputed to have said on meeting the army he would lead through Spain. Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell may be thinking the same thought as they assess the influx of new Republican representatives and senators. …
Again and again, right-wing insurgents contested – and bested – the party leadership.
In the battle for the Republican Senate nomination in Colorado, the candidate endorsed by the US Chamber of Commerce lost.
In the Delaware Senate contest, the candidate preferred by Karl Rove and the Republican National Committee lost.
In Nevada, the candidate supported almost unanimously by the state party leadership lost.
In Utah, a well-entrenched incumbent endorsed by Mitt Romney lost.
Most amazing of all was the contest in Kentucky ….
[where Senator Jim] DeMint’s candidate prevailed in the primary, brutally humiliating [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell.
If the winners of these party nomination contests — and others like them — prevail in Tuesday’s general election, they will arrive to reinforce an informal, unelected parallel leadership structure.
John Boehner may be Speaker of the House – but flamethrowing Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann raised more money for her political action committee this cycle than Boehner raised for his.
Likewise, Jim DeMint has $5 million cash on hand – and a much better win-loss record than Mitch McConnell.
Bachmann and DeMint may be content to leave Boehner and McConnell their titles and offices. But the latent power of Bachmann and DeMint shapes the environment in which Boehner and McConnell operate. And behind both Bachmann and DeMint are even more powerful forces: the big radio talk show hosts and Fox News – media organizations that thrive on anger and conflict.
When you hear John Boehner announce there can be “no compromise” with President Obama – when Mitch McConnell declares that his supreme legislative priority is to make Obama a one-term president – you are not hearing the voice of authentic radicalism. You are hearing the voice of second-hand radicalism. …