Last week's announcement by Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), that she is no longer interested in the House GOP Conference Chair isn't really much of a surprise. The meaning and ramifications of her move however are open to much conjecture and prognostication. That said, perhaps the two biggest questions to be answered in light of this development are: Will RINOs become an endangered species, and how conservative is too conservative?
Representative Bachman clearly was instrumental in the Republican rout of the U.S. House, state legislatures and a number of Governorships. Many vocal supporters strongly believe she deserves the leadership position for her efforts. However recent events in the House indicated that Bachman was running an uphill battle against Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a more mainstream member of the House.
This is not to say that Representative Hensarling is a weak Conservative. His voting record shows a commitment to Conservative ideals, and he has been an ongoing critic of the Obama administration and Democrat Congress. Rather we are seeing a preview of how establishment Republicans may regard the new "upstart" outsiders who will join them in January.
The first skirmish of the new GOP House seems to have been resolved by Bachman's acquiescence, but will Tea Partiers continue to quietly take the back seat? Already many are talking about 2012 and threatened consequences for RINOs. Or, alternately, will we see a softening of Conservative ideals and a relaxation of Party purity in the interest of combined strength and broad voter approval?
The Republican Party has its work cut out for it. During the next two years we will expect strong movement on jobs creation, fiscal responsibility and holding the Obama agenda in check. In addition, the GOP will have to figure out how to bring the more right leaning members into the fold, and avoid splintering the Party along ideological lines. Will 2012 see a final sweeping of liberal and moderate Republicans from the chambers of Congress, or will we see rejection by the electorate of Conservative purists who in the end, turn out to be as intolerant as Progressive Liberals?
Originally posted on 11/14/2010 at ConservativeCompass.com