Nine months after a decisive loss in the 2012 elections, the battle for the soul of the Republican Party—or whatever’s left of it—has begun.
I’m not talking about a battle between moderates and conservatives. The conservatives won that fight a long time ago. Our children may never believe thatmoderate Republicans once roamed the Earth, advocating policies that would limit carbon pollution and invest in scientific research, reform our schools and build new roads, promote national service, reduce the influence of money in politics, and require individuals who can afford health insurance to take responsibility for buying it. Soon enough, these politicians will exist only in the minds of ’90s-era pundits and Aaron Sorkin’s writing staff.
The conservatives have finally purified the Republican Party, dispatching moderate infidels in primary after primary, demanding fealty to their agenda of huge tax cuts and drastically lower spending. They have used their sizable numbers in Congress to help realize that agenda, with periodic assists from a president who has always been more fiscally responsible than his enemies would admit.