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The right wing has lost the election of 2012.
The evidence for this is overwhelming, yet it is the year's best-kept secret. Mitt Romney would not be throwing virtually all of his past positions overboard if he thought the nation were ready to endorse the full-throated conservatism he embraced to win the Republican nomination.
It is yet another sign that the narrative power brokers that once were aren't quite aware that their old model of repeating something until they make it stick doesn't work well at all now. This despite the recent spectacular misfires regarding binders and Big Bird. That Dionne chose that particular title for the piece also shows that the death of the movement they haven't been able to make go away remains one of the more fervent dreams of the main stream media.
One of the more peculiarly annoying habits of almost all modern journalists is that while acknowledging candidates play to the base during the primaries then move to the center during the general election, they then get a case of the vapors when it happens.
Of course, it's a bit amusing to most conservatives to read that Mitt Romney is moving away from some purportedly rock hard far right position. Proceeding from a false premise is, however, a favorite of many on the left when making a point.
As one of the original organizers of a Tea Party group in Los Angeles back in February of 2009, I've been reading stories like this for nigh on four years. After the resounding victories for the nascent movement in 2010, the media doubled down on its fantasy and kept writing them (Google "tea party is dead" and take a look, but only if you have a lot of time).
Romney's nomination was supposed to be the final nail in the coffin, which is absurd. The movement is, after all, still relatively new in the grand scheme of American politics. And it is far easier to have a quick impact on a congressional race than a presidential race.
Tea Party activists, with the help of grassroots organizations like FreedomWorks, have quietly transitioned from protesting to doing the thankless behind the scenes work necessary to be an actual movement. The goals are long term. True, Mitt Romney wasn't a Tea Party darling but the movement is being pragmatic for the 2012 race, as most successful political movements have to be from time to time. When faced with a choice between losing one's little toe or being decapitated, a sane person will immediately wave goodbye to the toe.
The Tea Party movement has already had some success stories with Marco Rubio and Mike Lee in 2010, and Richard Mourdock and Ted Cruz this year. Should Republicans prevail in two weeks, the focus of the movement will become one of accountability for those it helped get to Washington. The movement will use its now functioning political apparatus to find primary opponents to face those who fail to measure up once they are in power. It's a process that doesn't hinge on a win here or a loss there.
The continued "please make it go away" journalistic pleading of the left media is rooted in the fact that they don't want to admit that the "extreme" ideology of movement isn't extreme at all.
Rather, it represents a growing number of Americans who simply would prefer that the representatives in this representative republic adhere to some basic budgeting principles that we all learned in high school.