Right now, the Conservative Movement is at a Crossroads (no, not Karl Rove's). On the one hand, we have made significant gains in races across the country. Our own Tea Party favorites, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, successfully filled the narrative void over the course of a summer and made Obamacare defunding not only a talking point, but made it more of a possibility than ever before thought possible.
Their narrative was successful, and it enraged the leaders of the Republican Elite, all of whom wanted to cruise along with a "lie and wait" approach to the inevitable 2014 showdown. Now, 2014 is here, and the party is getting louder on some key issues, but they are still incredibly hostile toward the conservatives who have been fighting the entire time.
The conservatives, the most significant and active members of the Republican party voting base, know all too well that they are ignored. Every day, it seems, we see that hostility. The latest slap in the face is Thad Cochran's campaign bringing out a large Democratic turnout to vote for him. He most certainly would have lost otherwise. Haley Barbour, who saw this, held nothing back, and he and his lobbyist pals dealt a significant blow to a Tea Party candidate who had enough of a headwind to take victory.
Unfortunately, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were nowhere to be seen. As Erick has mentioned, their reluctance is understandable, but still disappointing.
As with the victory of Mitch McConnell, the victory of Thad Cochran has raised calls to sit out the vote, go third party/write-in, or vote for the Democrat in the race. And, these calls do get one thing right. There is a need to punish the GOP for so arrogantly slapping their base across the face. There is, however, a danger in this line of thought, and it's not the first time I've posted something like this. Nor, do I think, will it be the last time.
The goal of 2014 is (or should be) the removal of the Senate from the hands of the Democrats. Conservatives have to fight two battles here - against the opposing party and against their own. And, we can most certainly fight both if we want, or we can side with one against the other. Ultimately, I think we should go with the latter, and I don't mean side with the Democrats.
As terrible as the Cochran victory is, as much as it stings, as much as it reeks of corruption, it is not beneficial to conservatives for Harry Reid to have a chance to remain the leader of the Senate. As much as it pains me to say this, let us punt this off for two years.
The conservative politicians sit back and wait. Washington seems to suck the fight out of a lot of them. I am not saying we should be sluggish in our response, but I do feel like we should be smart in it.
Add to the threat of Reid retaining control of the Senate the fact that Cochran, if he makes it another full term, will very likely be unable to muster another run. His age and decrepitude almost ensure that he can't. It is not as though we're stuck with another McConnell, who has a couple decades left to drive us insane if we fail to defeat him.
I am just as upset and just as done with Thad Cochran as a lot of you, but I am not yet convinced that fighting against him in a crucial election cycle like this is the way to go.