NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Has the Establishment really defeated the Tea Party in the battle for control of the Republican Party as most media—liberal and conservative—are saying after last week’s Super Tuesday primaries? Most of the media say they did, but Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wassermann-Schultz disagrees. She says the civil war is over and the Tea Party has completely swallowed the Establishment.
Both are wrong.
The center right (Establishment) and the far right (Tea Party) elements of the Republican party will continue to disagree from time to time as they have for decades. The Tea Party has not defeated or swallowed the Establishment but they have become a significant part of the Establishment. The Establishment, having been appropriately reminded that they need to pay more attention to the voters, has moved somewhat to the right. The Tea Party, consisting mostly of people who were political novices until recently, has learned a lot of real world realities and moved somewhat toward the center. And they are both making progress in working together.
Republican voters have also learned a lot. They have learned not to necessarily vote for the first politician they see who can say “vote for me because I’m the Tea Party candidate,” without falling off the platform.
Many of the races characterized “Establishment vs Tea Party” were really more like “Andy Taylor vs Barney Fife.” Remember the old Andy Griffith TV Show? Andy Taylor was the competent, level headed County Sheriff whose life was complicated by the gaffes of his well meaning but inept deputy Barney Fife.
In the most notable of these races U. S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), backed by a couple of Tea Party organizations and Kentucky’s Junior Senator Rand Paul, defeated his Barney Fife Tea Party opponent, backed by a couple of other Tea Party organizations, almost two to one. McConnell’s skill and experience as the party’s senate leader will be highly beneficial if Republicans control the next Senate.