National Review's "The Corner" disgorges one of the more extraordinary misreadings of the nation's political environment that has ever been my pleasure to behold. Its key points, as observed by "strategist" Michael Walsh:
The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side.
[C]onservatives understand that rather than form a third party, their only hope is to seize control of the corrupt, rotting hulk of the GOP, which they now can do with the help of a reinvigorated Tea Party.
Granted the larger GOP is corrupt and rotting. But that's mostly because it harbors a vulgar malignancy: the Tea Party--which Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and their tumorous faction in the House have been furiously exposing to swelling segments of the electorate as the hideous political disease it is.
Did Cruz's pretend, Nazi-defying and Seuss-mauling filibuster excite the bombthrowing base? Of course it did. But the base's excitement scarcely reflects "the popular reaction," as Walsh frames it, for that base is not "the public," which in May of this year gave the Tea Party a mere 37 percent favorability rating. Unfavorable opinion stood at 45 percent, making a net negative of 8. And that was "a marked improvement" (largely because of the IRS "scandal"), as the Washington Times put it, "from a 28/48 favorable/unfavorable split in March and a 31/51 split in August 2011 at the height of the debt ceiling crisis."
Thus in early Spring (when the debt ceiling loomed in May) as well as the first time the Tea Party pulled a savage, boneheaded stunt like it's doing again now--threatening the country's economic recovery and international credit--its net negatives soared to 20. Is that the "public rally" Walsh anticipates?
Stunningly, he still doesn't get it:
Win or lose, the battle is now joined: First the struggle for the GOP and then the battle for control of Congress and the presidency.
Gerrymandered seats in the House are one thing. And given Democratic vulnerability in midterm elections, one can even conceive of a GOP Senate. But the Oval Office? Walsh and his ideological ilk dwell in such a dark, epistemic grotto they seem to genuinely believe that the flamboyantly offensive likes of a Ted Cruz would outperform a "squishy" Romney or McCain. Such is the far right's obliviousness since 1964. They just can't let it go.
And that Senate thing I mentioned? Walsh & Friends is intent on killing its possibility, too.
Cruz just struck at the kings he could reach--the Republican "leadership"--and has most likely dealt them a fatal blow. Now the Tea Party hordes must back him up by eliminating his opponents ... through the primary process wherever possible.
That is the Dems' best chance at offsetting their vulnerability. Thank you, Michael Walsh.
Update ... from Gallup, on that anticipated public rally!
Fewer Americans now describe themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement than did at the height of the movement in 2010, or even at the start of 2012. Today's 22% support nearly matches the record low found two years ago.
On the upside for Walsh, he did get one thing right: reaction was "immediate and noticeable."