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A lot of the political blogs I read have been concentrating on this Congressional race in upstate New York, which has turned into a three-way race between a Democrat, a socially liberal Republican chosen by the party leaders, and a a rogue Republican running on the Conservative party ticket.

Between this and the Marco Rubio brouhaha down in Florida, where the NSCC has unwisely gotten involved in the primary fight between "moderate" governor Charlie Crist and firebrand Florida House Speaker Rubio, you have to wonder who's running the GOP and why. The habit of the Washington politicians of supporting RINO incumbents like Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist against conservatives is one of the things that feeds the "a pox on both their houses" strain in the populist Tea Party movement and encourages some folks to talk about a Perot-style third party movement, which I have every reason to believe will be just as successful as the last one was.

I have reflected before on the fact that the GOP is more of a feudal, personalistic party made up of individual politicians rather than an alliance of blocs like the Democrats. There is no organization in the GOP that wields the clout of the labor unions or gay lobby inside the Democrats - although given the disinterest/disdain expressed by Democratic pols toward last weekend's march, perhaps we can discount the influence of gays in this new age of post-racial Chicago-style politics. In any case, the populist strain in the GOP is strong, and very much in evidence these days as columnists and talk show hosts alike rage at the stupidity of John Cornyn and the NRCC/NRSC supporting candidates with questionable conservative bonafides. From where I sit, momentum and numbers are on the side of the Tea Party movement, and they smell blood in Flordia and NY-23. If either or both of those contests go to the rogue conservatives (as I expect they will), Cornyn and company had better watch their asses. It will be an unmistakable symbol that the GOP is ready to renew itself in a much more hardcore form, one far less willing to go along to get along and play the Washington insider game. Money isn't everything in elections, and it seems clear that it's not the party regulars who have the boots on the ground in either of these races. We shall see what we shall see, but next year could be 1994 all over again.

If nothing else, perhaps our Senators will be emboldened/frightened away from pulling shit like this with the defense appropriation bills.