Let me finish with the clear signs that the right wing of American politics is not happy with the established Republican Party. The Grand Old Party is its house politically; it is not its home.
Ask yourself the obvious questions.
Is John Boehner part of the conservative base – or apart from it? Is Jeb Bush part of the Republican base – or apart from it? And, finally, were it not for history – 19th century history – would anyone call the current conservative-dominated GOP “the party of Lincoln?”
The facts are right there in front of us. The strength of what constitutes the Republican majority in the Congress is centered in the south – centered in the very geography that opposed Lincoln’s candidacy, believed that his election was reason itself for civil war.
Where is it weak? Where has it lost its base of belief? It is no longer the party that voted overwhelmingly for civil rights and voting rights in the mid-Sixties. In fact, it’s most consistent ambition these recent years has been a relentless push to limit voting rights – especially of minorities – by the imposition of new voter ID requirements. With this, it is doing what the Jim Crow enforcers did with poll taxes and outlandish “literacy tests.”
The question is how is this movement going to end up. Will the right-wing bolt the Republican establishment – the Bush-Boehner club – or will the establishment one more time put the right in its place, taking their votes while bouncing their slate of candidates – the Cruz’s, Huckabees, Carsons – well into the back seat.
Everything we see – the spectacle of CPAC, the Speaker’s defeat on homeland security, the weakness of Bush in the polls – all points to a coming division.
For the first time in a half century, I can see the right doing the bouncing – and overthrowing the Bushes and the Boehners and heading for the wild political horizon unconcerned about the usual notions of political advantage, not caring whether it loses it all to honor the single dazzling prospect that, given all the anger in the land, it could just win it “all.”
So what’ll it be: a walk-out by the right, or a take-over not seen since Goldwater days?