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December 18, 2013 9:57 AM Boehner’s New Enemies

By Ed Kilgore

I’ve spent quite a bit of time mocking the extraordinary Beltway joy over House Speaker John Boehner’s rebuke to “outside” conservative groups, as representing the millionth decisive setback for the Right in the so-called “civil war’ in the GOP.

But how’s about the grassroots membership of the “outside” groups? Are they in disarray?

Doesn’t much look that way, based on Stephanie McCrumman’s profile of Americans for Prosperity members meeting for dinner in Greenville, SC. If the Kochs continue to provide the money, activists seem to have the time. Here’s my favorite passage:

Dean Allen, who is writing a book called “Rattlesnake Revolution: The Tea Party Strikes!,” said it was people like him who are the future of the party.
“You’ve got to have people in this room excited,” he said, waving a biscuit. “It’s who will open their checkbook, who will put the signs on the road. . . . When we are demoralized we get crap like Obama in the White House.”

Reading this piece, you get the sense that Tea Folk are largely unaffected by attacks from Boehner and other “Establishment” Republicans because they view themselves as perpetually being abused by GOP leaders even as they continue to provide most of the people power and much of the money essential for Republican electoral efforts. They’ll keep on keeping on, despite the general disbelief among political journalists that it’s possible to constantly launch primary purges against elected officials you plan to support loyally in general elections.

All Boehner’s outburst probably means is that grassroots wngnuts will feel invested in the next conservative challenge to the Orange Man’s leadership. And if he does indeed retire at the end of next year, his remarks about conservatives last week won’t represent much of anything at all other than a temporary speed bump in the rightward movement of the Republican Party.

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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