There has been a lot of speculation this week about why the GOP rolled over in the Senate on virtually every issue. From Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal to START to you name it — the GOP became the party of capitulation. So much so that even Lindsey Graham is blasting the Senate GOP "for a 'capitulation ... of dramatic proportions' to Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the lame-duck Congress."
In his statement about why the GOP folded like a cheap suit, Graham gives away the game. He says, "I can understand the Democrats being afraid of the new Republicans; I can't understand Republicans being afraid of the new Republicans."
As I've said for a while, with many people disagreeing, the 2010 election was about moving the Senate GOP right, not moving the Senate to the GOP. This past week makes my case for me.
The Senate GOP is decidedly mushy on many fronts and unwilling for really tough fights except in odd circumstances. The Senate GOP understands that Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, and Marco Rubio are headed to the Senate as reinforcements for Jim DeMint. They are deeply worried because of it.
Why worry? Because the Senate GOP wants to cut deals with the Senate Democrats and they know that just Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Jim DeMint will be able to force deals much more conservative than the Senate GOP is.
So Senate Republicans decided to roll over on big issues now knowing that next year they will be forced further right than they might be comfortable.
Here's a golden truth some of you won't like, but is true nonetheless: Mike Lee and Rand Paul are worth ten regular Republican Senators any day of the week. They'll fight. And they'll win.