Senate Republicans continue surge to the right

2012-08-02 11:41


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New York - On Tuesday Ted Cruz beat David Dewhurst in the Republican primary for the open Texas Senate seat that will be vacated by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for this year’s election in November.

Due to Republicans’ virtual overall control of Texas, and Democrats bare-boned operations in the state, this means Cruz is virtually certain to win the seat when he takes on Democrat Paul Sadler in the general election.
There are ramifications to this decision, with the biggest one being that the Republican party in the Senate, which could very well win a majority come November, is continuing its surge to the right.

Bear in mind that all legislation needs to pass through the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives, to get to the president’s desk and be enacted into law.
Hutchison was regarded as one of the more moderate Republicans during her tenure in the Senate.

For example, she voted against her party’s efforts to stall the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation) in the Senate, while also backing state spending under Bush as stimulus – a decision which has hurt many incumbent Republicans.

Backed Patriot Act

However she’s not exactly constantly rebellious: She has voted against expanding abortion rights, against gun control, for more oil drilling, against funding for solar and wind energy projects, against gay marriage and against post-recession financial reform.

She also backed the Patriot Act (which circumvents civil rights when investigating terrorism suspects), voted for a fence along the entire southern US border with Mexico and against raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Not exactly a squealing pinko. However, she looks like one when put up against the man who is due to take her seat.
Ted Cruz is kilometres further to the right of Hutchison, and his primary campaign launched into his main opponent, David Dewhurst, for not being conservative enough. In fact for the last two months both men tried to prove they were to the right of the other.

Cruz’s policy positions outflank almost all of Hutchison’s as more conservative, including a highly important election factor – the aforementioned Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – which Cruz has sworn to fight against.
This isn’t the first time recently we’ve seen a major establishment-backed Republican displaced by a Tea Party right winger.

Becoming ideologically concrete

In May Indiana Senator Richard Lugar (who incidentally wrote the bill which caused the US to divest from South Africa during apartheid) lost his 36-year old seat in a primary to the highly conservative Richard Richard Mourdock.
Both Cruz and Mourdock were verbose during their campaign about their ill-feeling towards compromising with Democrats on just about anything.

But this is historically how major legislation has been written, edited and passed through congress. Moderate Republicans and “Blue Dog” Democrats have been legislative keys, particularly when the chambers of congress are held by different parties (such as at the moment).

Mourdock has previously claimed that his idea of compromise is Democrats crossing the aisle and agreeing with Republicans, while Cruz lambasted his primary opponents for being willing to compromise with opposition politicians.
What this means is that Republicans in the Senate are becoming ideologically concrete. And with two-thirds of the Senators up for election in November being Democrats, there is every chance Republicans could win the Senate.
Should that happen, and President Barack Obama clings onto the White House, severely conflicting ideologies in an age of no compromise could turn Congress into an even bigger circus. 

Read more on:    barack obama  |  simon williamson  |  us  |  us elections 2012

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