Four Republican-leaning groups with close ties to the party’s leadership in Congress — Crossroads and its “super PAC” affiliate, the Congressional Leadership Fund, and Young Guns Action — raised a combined $7.7 million in 2013. By contrast, four conservative organizations that have battled Republican candidates deemed too moderate or too yielding on spending issues — FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth Action Fund, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Tea Party Patriots — raised a total of $20 million in 2013, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed on Friday.
“This is by far the biggest nonelection year we’ve ever had,” said Matt Hoskins, the executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund. “It shows how committed people are to electing true conservatives and to advancing conservative principles.”
The golden rule of politics is, of course, “whoever has the gold, makes the rules”. How long can the establishment GOP really retain control of the party when the non-establishment part of it is pulling in more money?
Democrats have been gleeful ever since 2008 over the GOP “civil war” – I haven’t viewed it in those terms. It believe that what is happening is that the Republican Party is becoming a party of Jacksonians. This would, no doubt, surprise and amuse that old Whig Lincoln who helped to build the Republican Party, but I don’t think he’s be dismayed by it, either. We are a long way, after all, from the Republican Party of the 1860’s, just as we are from the Democrat Party of that era. Things change and ever since FDR routed the Civil War era GOP in 1932, there has been no political party which has broadly expressed the old, Jacksonian principals of limited government. Both parties have been broadly in favor of government, with just different ideas about just whom is to benefit the most from government largesse – though with both parties tending, in the last 20 years, to favor the rich and the poor over the middle class.
Jackson, it should be recalled, was for States’ rights…but not in an absurd sense, as shown when he smacked down South Carolina over nullification. Jackson was in favor of free enterprise, but not to the idiotic limit of just allowing the rich to grind the poor. Jackson’s power emerged out of the State militias rather than out of the traditional financial (in the North) or planter (in the South) Establishments. Jackson would fight a man to the death to preserve his rights, but then adopt that enemy’s son and raise him as his own – this neatly encapsulates the American ideal. Our modern Jacksonians – even if they don’t know they are – are also for States’ rights; for free enterprise (but getting more and more disgusted with crony capitalism); and for the right of the individual to live his or her life however they wish. These are the general political ideals which are fueling the new forces in the GOP – and the forces which now look to take over the whole enterprise.
To be sure, the final part of this battle for the GOP might result in handing the Democrats just one more victory in 2016 – but the bottom line is that the old GOP Establishment will have to knuckle under to the TEA Party (broadly defined), or go over to the Democrats. I think most will knuckle under – after all, any group which can raise $20 million in an off year is a force to be reckoned with…and a force which is probably going to win it all, in the by and by.