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July 16, 2013 6:02 PM Treason!

By Ed Kilgore

To tie together this morning’s hot topic of filibuster reform with my last post on the unusual perspective of the people who actually drive conservative politics, let’s have a look at how the deal that averted the “nuclear option” looks to gabbers on the Right. Here’s RedState’s Daniel Horowitz with his usual mild-mannered reaction:

Once again, Mitch McConnell outsourced his leadership position to the McCain-Graham duo. He tapped them, along with Bob Corker and Roger Wicker - all from solid red states - to negotiate a compromise with Reid and Schumer over the filibuster and executive nominations. What could go wrong?
The outcome produced a compromise similar to the deals the Israelis cut with the Palestinians.

At this point I must pause to make sure the reader understands that to Horowitz every negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians is at best a self-betrayal, and at worst an offer by a sheep to dine with wolves. This is a J’accuse, not a measured assessment.

It’s time for Republicans to call Reid’s bluff and shoot the hostage. They can create chaos. They can shut down the Senate and refuse to accede to any unanimous consent request. They should stand and fight. Remember, there are more red states than blue states, and certainly more red districts than blue district. All things equal, Republicans will be favored to hold the House for a while and Democrats will lose the Senate at some point. The battleground of 2014 will be fought in Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Arkansas. If he wants to blow up the filibuster, let’s use it against them and repeal Obamacare with a simple majority in 2015.
Unfortunately, capitulation is the only thing these people know.
This is yet another vivid illustration of how we need to elect new Republicans in the upcoming Senate primaries, and that includes members of leadership.

I don’t know if some Digital Outreach staffer from McConnell’s office will email Horowitz to point out that any Republican majority would effectively repeal Obamacare via reconciliation, just as they were poised to do this year had Romney won and the GOP taken back the Senate, but whatever. The lesson here is that for all the attention we often assume conservatives are paying to the general election implications of GOP behavior in Congress, they’re actually much more focused on primaries. Moving the GOP to the right is more important to them than ensuring the GOP wins general elections, because it crucially affects the ideological payoff for victory. It’s not irrational; it’s just a different way of looking at the exercise of political power.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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