The long anticipated split between Tea Party and Establishment is upon the Republicans.
Not that it's a surprise. When the GOP decided that Mitt Romney would be the nominee, it permanently mined it's return route. Inspite of protests and warnings of a revolt, Establishment placed everything on a November victory. This one dimensional thinking concluded that "with Obama's defeat, the contention would die."
They didn't count on Romney losing. In fact, even party stalwarts such as Karl Rove and Dick Morris predicted a landslide. Post election shock turned to blaming the Tea Party for bad candidates who lost winnable Senate seats. More specifically, Missouri and Indiana. Never mind that the Republicans also lost Virginia, Montana and North Dakota with Establishment candidates.
The focus turned to John Boehner and the House. Tea Party Nation described them as "waiving the white flag of surrender." Many Tea Party Congressmen were replaced on key committees.
Then Karl Rove came out with his plan.
In fairness, the Tea Party may be done. It's rise was based on returning fiscal sanity to Washington, D.C. There were high watermarks, most notably the 2010 midterms. However, what began as a drive to curb reckless spending became a forum for social issues. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdoch clearly blew their Senate races with non-fiscal conservative blunders. It lent credence to Karl Rove's position.
Can the original argument return?
Not likely. Through the past four years America has seen a widening divide in the party. It has exposed the basic ideological contrasts between different kinds of conservatives. We have the social conservatives. We have fiscal conservatives. We have those who call themselves conservatives, who may be nothing more than imposter's. Spearheading the entire opposition movement are self serving, career politicians.
Try to imagine a building with major structural damage, beginning with a cracked foundation. While the exterior can be made to look good, the problem rests with the unseen. Those who know the building conclude that to continue throwing money at it for repairs is fallacy.
The Republican Party has lost credibility with the very people who put it over the top, in 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2004. It has resisted change.,especially during the past ten years. Some are slowly coming to the realization that it's finally time to broaden the tent. It may be too little, too late!
Democrats, while proffering a questionable economic direction, disorganized foreign policy positions and a growing culture of corruption are still united. They have an agenda. And they have dedicated disciples to carry it out. Even though the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with them, they are hanging on only due to the division across the aisle.
Are we past the point of no return?
Perhaps. If we stay on the current horse, probably. However, if we come to the conclusion that "conservatism begins and ends with a strict constructionist view of the constitution," the cleansing can begin.