He’s almost left the party before, to the extent that he was ever formally in it (it’s complicated), but he’s out now, he says. And who can blame him after the big cave on executive amnesty? Remember, the DHS funding debacle wasn’t just a Republican capitulation to Obama on separation of powers. It was a sham from the beginning, a bogus fight the GOP set up to show conservatives that they’re pretend-serious about resisting Obama but don’t quite have the numbers to force a meaningful confrontation on the issue … even though they now hold a majority of seats in both chambers. How do you keep a party together when the leadership disdains its own base and their priorities and the base knows that and disdains them right back? Is there anything holding it together at this point beyond the simple math involved in coalition-building? GOP minus tea partiers equals President Hillary, right?
I take Beck at his word, but as for the millions of grassroots righties who’ll be pumping their fists and shouting “yeah!” as they listen to this, let me tell you what I’ve learned from blogging two presidential election cycles. Not only will they not leave the party, even if Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee, by next summer they’ll consider it treason to the cause of conservatism if a RINO like me decides that I’m staying home in November because it doesn’t much matter which royal family’s princeling actually assumes the throne. Team Blue will smear Team Red many times in many ways during the campaign and Prince Jeb will say all (or most) of the right things to convince righties that we could do worse, just like we could have done worse than McCain or Romney, and that combination of partisan anger and ideological interest will gradually transform the next election into The Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes, a contest in which no true patriot can remain neutral. It’s happened twice before, it’ll happen again. And then, two years later, the 2018 election will become The Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes, even though the only thing at stake will be a narrow majority in the Senate. (Supreme Court confirmations!) Conservatives like to give Boehner and McConnell grief, not unfairly, for forever postponing brinksmanship with Obama over core priorities like spending: We’re going to fight for smaller government … just as long as we don’t have to risk a backlash from a shutdown, and we’re going to fight for separation of powers … just as long as we don’t have to risk a backlash from defunding DHS. But righties practice their own version of that: We’re going to leave the GOP … just as soon as the next election is safely won and Democrats revert to a more centrist party whose leadership poses less of a threat to the country. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Hillary Clinton is about as centrist as it gets in the Democratic Party these days, at least among viable presidential options. If you’re waiting for a low-stakes election to bail, a Clinton/Bush match-up is as low as the stakes get. Why not go full Beck?