Pick any three defining issues of conservatism — say, smaller government, low taxes, and opposition to abortion, or a strong national defense, entitlement reform, and gun rights — and you’ll be hard-pressed to find the supposedly liberal Republican “establishment” on one side and the tea-party faithful on the other.
Even on the policies that are splitting Republicans these days — say, foreign policy or immigration — the rift does not neatly divide the establishment and the “real conservatives.”
Such a statement will no doubt infuriate many conservatives who believe that the establishment is insufficiently committed to conservative principles. And that is an entirely fair complaint. But that criticism is about efficacy and passion, not policy or philosophy. And this is a hugely important distinction that has been deliberately airbrushed out of the picture painted by groups like Heritage Action and FreedomWorks. The inconvenient truth for these groups is that the current GOP establishment is more conservative than it has ever been.
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