Does the Tea Party have a right “edge”?

Is there any such thing as “too conservative” for Teabaggers?

I shall be with you on your wedding-night. – Frankenstein’s Monster

You may have noticed that a new “bipartisan budget compromise” has emerged on Capitol Hill, largely brokered by conservative darling Paul Ryan and “pragmatic liberal” Patty Murray. The howls of outrage from the Tea Party wing commenced on cue. Which is why, earlier this morning, I found myself joking that I was looking forward to seeing Ryan primaried from the right.

There’s been a lot of talk about this subject of late. Yesterday’s Pravda Washington Post indulged a round of hand-wringing from the GOP mainline that the teabag fringe was handicapping their efforts to retake control of the Senate in 2014.

“They’re really undermining everything we’re trying to do here,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who stands to chair the powerful Finance Committee if Republicans win the majority, said of the independent groups that are providing financial and other support for the challengers. The path to conservative victories is through defeating Democrats, Hatch said. “You can’t do it by destroying sitting [GOP] senators.”

I’m not here to offer a screed or a rant, merely an observation: America is a nation where a substantial portion of voters consider the likes of Orrin Hatch, John Cornyn and Thad Cochrane to be dangerously liberal and if you’ve paid the slightest bit of attention over the past few years it shouldn’t be hard to imagine this crowd rounding on Congressman Ryan for selling out their values and obstructing their attempts to, as Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller puts it, “pass a fiscally conservative agenda.”

My question is this: is there a right edge to American politics? That is, are there more or less viable candidates that it would be impossible to attack from the right? Put another way, is “conservative” a fixed point or is it a moving target that continues receding deeper into the weeds – perhaps a sort of ideological proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity, where “conservative” constantly moves away from us at the speed of light? For righteous Tea Partiers, social conservatives and Club for Growthers, is there any such thing as too conservative?

Damned if I know. But if they do, in fact, turn on Ryan all bets are off. I’m trying to imagine the craziness four years from now when the wackadoodles they’re unleashing on Cochrane and Cornyn are deemed too liberal. If you’re currently institutionalized and have political ambitions, you might think about getting your résumé into the system now….

6 replies »

  1. Whenever I think about the limits of ideology, I’m reminded of this clip from Bowling for Columbine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uOY6x_K8Ms

    To the question of whether Americans should have the right to bear weapons grade plutonium, a hard core 2nd amendment rights activist said that there should be some restrictions. “There’s wackos out there,” he says with a crazed look in his eyes.

    Slippery-slope arguments seem to trip up those on the fringes of either side of the spectrum.

  2. Well, all I can say is that the rest of the world will be able to sit back and watch some more Reality TV in a few years.

    At least with the budget compromise, US creditors won’t be looking to send in Peacekeepers between the Democrats and Republicans (http://justjigglethehandle.com/2013/10/10/it-would-at-least-solve-the-salmon-fisheries-question/).

    By the way – if the Washington Post is being compared to Pravda, which US paper would be Искра?