The 2014 GOP Primary Cycle in a Nutshell

This brief exchange (reported by Politico) from the first (and last) debate of the GA GOP SEN runoff tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the dynamics of the Republican primary cycle this year, and more than the usual effort to slot candidates into “Establishment” or “Tea Party” boxes:

Kingston attacked Perdue, a first-time candidate, for his associations in the private sector.

“You called for a national solution for the uninsured, which to me is basically an endorsement of Obamacare,” he said.

Perdue argued that Congress passed Obamacare and Dodd-Frank because Republicans failed to pass their own conservative reforms when they controlled the White House and a majority.

No matter what the topic under discussion, or where the candidates are supposedly pre-positioned, virtually all of them (with the exception of Thad Cochran, obviously) have sought to tie their talking points to a theme of superior fidelity to conservative ideology. The fact that a time-serving career appropriator like Kingston has managed to seize the ideological high ground in the GA runoff is a tribute to how badly GOP “base” voters want to hear their pieties repeated, and the rewards they will bestow on whoever most loudly signs hymns of praise to The Movement.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.