In May, the tea party movement successfully toppled long-time Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) in a wave of anti-establishment sentiment that is “altering the nation’s political landscape.” This tea party tide carried Trey Gowdy to victory over the “reasonable Republican” Rep. Bob Inglis (SC) and now may push tea-party-backed Senate candidate Joe Miller (R-AK) to a win over current Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in “one of the biggest political upsets of the year.” As President Bush’s former speechwriter Michael Gerson points out today, the Republican party now faces an uphill struggle to rein in the “untested ideology” of these new candidates that is “clearly incompatible with some conservative and Republican beliefs” and may prove “toxic to the GOP.”
But Gerson’s concerns are falling on deaf ears at the Republican National Committee. Today on ABC’s Top Line, RNC spokesman Doug Heye enthusiastically embraced the radical views of GOP candidates like Miller. In opening the discussion between Heye and DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse, Top Line host Jonathan Karl “wanted to see how excited” Heye was about “[his] man” Miller. He aired a previous interview on Top Line in which Miller said unemployment extension benefits are “not constitutionally authorized. I think that’s the first thing that’s got to be looked at so I do not favor their extension.” When Karl asked whether Heye embraces that view, Heye responded “we embrace whatever candidate needs to do to win”:
KARL: Ok, so you have a candidate who thinks that unemployment extension is not constitutionality authorized…uh…First of all, do you embrace that?
HEYE: Well we embrace whatever candidate needs to do to win. Every candidate campaigns in a different manner, every governor is a different governor, every senator is a different senator. But we look for candidates who can win.
KARL: Is that a mainstream Republican position that can win?
HEYE: Its certainly one that we have a lot of people in this party who have talked about. And certainly the Constitution is a key talking point for our party, it’s something that we do everyday.
Miller, whose constitutional challenge of unemployment extension benefits on Topline “went further” than other tea party candidates, also said that “we’ve got to transition out of the Social Security arrangement and go into more of a privatization,” insisting that “it’s not that radical of an idea.”
If Heye’s party is willing to embrace whatever tea party candidates like Miller believe, the Republican platform may also soon reflect Miller’s denial of “man-made global warming,” Sharron Angle’s (R-NV) espousal of the Church of Scientology’s prison rehabilitation program, Ken Buck’s (R-CO) no-exception abortion in cases of rape and incest, and an outright overthrow of the Constitution over birthright citizenship. However, as Ian Millhiser reports, the GOP is well on its way to embracing that mentality.