Will the last of the primary season mark the end of an electoral temper tantrum or just a step on the way to a bigger one in November?
Light bulbs are going on for traditional Republicans who, after feasting on opinion polls and relishing a takeover of both houses of Congress, are beginning to see the steep price of a Tea Party free lunch.
On Fox News, conservative intellectual Charles Krauthammer smacks down Sarah Palin’s backing of a Delaware Tea Party Senate candidate, calling it “disruptive and capricious. Bill Buckley had a rule that he always supported the most conservative candidate who was electable, otherwise the vote is simply self-indulgence.”
But GOP alarm goes beyond electability in November. Even in victories, what will they have in new officeholders coming in on a tide of anger, with no legislative experience and only fervent promises to block government and dismantle it?
“If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom,” predicts David Brooks, “then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition and exiling it from the G.O.P.”
In such a know-nothing tide, Brooks foresees political, fiscal, policy and even intellectual tragedies: “Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven. If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think. A pall of dogmatism will settle over the right.”