Charles C. W. Cooke:
As during last October’s shutdown, much of the current griping from the right is predicated upon a false dichotomy of precisely the sort that those of a Burkean disposition are supposed to abhor. When a progressive stands up and compares the status quo to his best intentions — or suggests that anybody who disagrees with his preferred tactics must be against his aims, too — conservatives rightly roll their eyes and sigh knowingly. Alas, of late a number of us have fallen into precisely the same trap as tends to ensnare our friends on the Left — comparing difficult reality to promised (often wholly imagined) future victories, and celebrating how brave we are for opposing the way things currently are without outlining a workable means of changing it.
There is, I’m afraid, a touch of Occupy Wall Street about much of the Right’s insurgency — an unlovely propensity to believe that if a small group just wishes hard enough for a particular outcome, it will be able to achieve it. The most risible thing I saw during my time in Zuccotti Park was the participants’ perpetually misguided belief that they were representing a silent majority. “The people united shall not be defeated,” they would cry, without doing anything at all to indicate that they were indicative of anything of the sort. I have recently encountered a similar tendency among people with whom I politically agree.
“I’d be willing to risk losing the Senate if we could keep America,” Mitch McConnell’s primary challenger, Matt Bevin, told Glenn Beck this morning. What an astonishingly incoherent and misguided sentence that is.
If this is what we are to expect from the revolution — a host of nihilistic, suicidal, performance artists who would rather be outside of the control room screaming than inside and in charge — then give me the cynical calculations of a Mitch McConnell any day of the week.
“Any time, you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders,” Ronald Reagan complained in 1964, “we’re denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we’re always ‘against,’ never ‘for’ anything.” Could this sentiment not be applied currently to some slices of the Right? After all, pretty much every single Republican agrees on the question of Obamacare. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on taxes and spending and the size of government. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on the debt. They disagree, however, on tactics. And tactics matter. Make no mistake: For all the bluster, the Democratic party and the wider progressive movement is absolutely terrified of Obamacare, which has been a liability for almost five years now, and which is not going away. As I noted yesterday, the majority of the elections this year are going to yield fights between a candidate who wants to repeal the law completely and a candidate who is critical of it in at least one way. There is nothing that the president would like more at this moment than to play last October over again — to paint the GOP as an extreme, risk-taking, rump party holding the country hostage. McConnell and Boehner were right to recognize that handing him that opportunity this year would have been a disaster.
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Isn’t there anyone else running against McConnell? Are the only choices pick a RINO?