Leave it to The Washington Post. Today’s front page proclaims “A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right“. Nonsense. “A Voter Rebuke From the Right” would be more apt.
“[T]he Republicans … would not allow moderates a voice in their party,” the Post quotes Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Of course, Sen. Reid wants Republicans to believe that insufficient kowtowing to moderates cost them the House and possibly the Senate. He wants us to keep losing.
But it’s not true. Two of the first Senate seats to fall belonged to Republicans who angered conservative voters.
Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), so liberal that he admits that he didn’t even vote for President George W. Bush in 2004, has long been a fly in conservative ointment. So what did the Republican Party do earlier this year when Sen. Chafee faced conservative primary opponent Mayor Stephen Laffey? Not only did the Party back liberal Sen. Chafee, but it even announced that it would not support Mayor Laffey in the general election if he won the primary. The strategy backfired; the Chafee seat went to the Democrats last night.
A similar scenario played out two years ago in Pennsylvania. Liberal Senator Arlen Specter, more of a roach in the ointment to Sen. Chafee’s fly, faced Pat Toomey, a conservative challenger who ran a promising campaign. And what did the Republican Party do then? Backed the liberal. As did Senator Rick Santorum, who complained that Mr. Toomey was “too conservative” to win in Pennsylvania. Last night, Pennsylvania conservatives proved that Sen. Santorum was too treacherous to win re-election.
The results of yesterday’s elections are a lesson in what happens when the GOP offends its conservative base, or takes us for granted.