After Republicans failed to take control of the Senate in last week’s election, losing key races in Colorado, Nevada, and elsewhere, “a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.” While most party insiders were reluctant to call out DeMint or Palin by name to reporters, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) did not mince words. Quoted in the Shelby County Reporter yesterday, Bachus — who will likely play a key role in the new Congress as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee — laid the blame for GOP’s Senate loss squarely at the feet of momma grizzly Palin and the tea party movement:
“The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware,” Bachus said. “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate.”
He said Tea Party candidates did well in U.S. House races, but in the U.S. Senate races, “They didn’t do well at all.”
Bachus is by no means a liberal and his comments reflect a growing rift within the conservative movement about how much ideological purity should guide the GOP’s agenda. Bachus and his colleagues will soon vote on whom to elect as the House GOP Conference chairman, a race highlights this rift and — like the GOP primaries last Spring which Bachus referenced — pits an establishment pick against a Palin-backed insurgent in Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).