The episode has left conservatives on and off the Hill deeply frustrated that they had missed what is likely the best chance they’ll ever get to remake the leadership team.
“Shame on all of us. Here’s the conservative movement, and we were all asleep at the switch. We did not galvanize behind a guy, or a person, and we waited until the die was cast. If conservatives are going to do more than throwing mud in people’s eyes, if we’re going to actually win some battles, then we damn well better get on our game,” one conservative lawmaker said.
It’s not that they didn’t try. Cantor’s abrupt downfall threw the House into chaos, prompting a flurry of meetings and intrigue. On the right, small groups of members held dozens of impromptu sessions to draw up a gameplan.
The problem was, as it has been for some time, they didn’t have a candidate.