There has been real change in Washington with the Republican Party. The party is going through a re-evaluation of its moral compass and core philosophy. There are two factions struggling for the right to direct the course for the future.
The leadership during the past few years in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are old, crafty politicians who know Washington inside and out. This group likes to maintain a comfortable status quo with the Democrats in Congress. John McCain, Orrin Hatch and others in this group are content with the Democrats running the Senate as long as their political careers continue unobstructed.
The new crew, who have started appearing in Congress the last few years are trying to force the party to turn right and return to the principles of the Founding Fathers. This group developed with the support of the Tea Parties that have sprung up across the country. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are the new faces of this movement. They campaigned as candidates that wanted to reduce the size and scope of government. When they came to Washington, they actually supported their campaign oratory.
I witnessed this in the 1960’s. Barry Goldwater split the Republican Party much like Cruz and Lee are doing now. Goldwater’s movement laid the groundwork for Ronald Reagan in 1980. The new guard is doing the same today. These men ran with the support of the Tea Parties. These grassroot groups sprung up because they felt government wasn’t listening to the people anymore. Their policies reflect those of the Founding Fathers, and they hit a chord with a large segment of the population. They are very big supporters of the “original intent” of the Constitution. Many in Congress don’t even know the Constitution, let alone try to follow it. So far, the Tea Parties can claim credit for electing about 30 or 40 House Members and maybe a dozen Senators. That number will probably grow with the mid-term elections in 2014. The crowds for their events are usually quite large, so their support seems to be growing.
The growth of these groups is changing the power structure in Congress. As the Democrats continue to move further left, the Republicans are moving further right. With the two houses of Congress split between the parties, there is plenty of ammunition for both sides to expand their ranks. So far, the Tea Parties are the ones gaining influence. If momentum doesn’t change, in a few more election cycles, the Tea Party candidates will be in control.
The “old media” is strongly opposed to the conservatives. Their opposition is so strong they are considered to be part of the Democrats campaign apparatus. Even so, the Tea Party folks will continue to grow in number.
The Republicans aren’t just fighting against the Democrats. They are fighting to clean their own party. The moderate members want to see the conservatives replaced by more moderates. The conservatives want to replace the moderates. Right now, it appears the conservatives are winning. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are leading the way. When they gain leadership positions we will know they are completing their takeover.