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National Review to GOP: 'there aren't enough conservative voters

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leaves the Senate Chamber after speaking at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. On the 16th day of a government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that they have reached to an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling and reopen the government. Credit: Getty Images

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National Review editors Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru write on the Republican Party's infighting:

[The government shutdown] was the latest and most consequential expression of an apocalyptic conservative politics.

It is a politics of perpetual intra-Republican denunciation. It focuses its fire on other conservatives as much as on liberals. It takes more satisfaction in a complete loss on supposed principle than in a partial victory, let alone in the mere avoidance of worse outcomes. It has only one tactic — raise the stakes, hope to lower the boom — and treats any prudential disagreement with that tactic as a betrayal. Adherents of this brand of conservative politics are investing considerable time, energy, and money in it, locking themselves in unending intra-party battle. ...

A bigger problem than the insufficient conservatism of our leaders is the insufficient number of our followers. There aren’t enough conservative voters to elect enough officials to enact a conservative agenda in Washington, D.C. — or to sustain them in that project even if they were elected. The challenge, fundamentally, isn’t a redoubling of ideological commitment, but more success at persuasion and at winning elections. ...

While not working, this [denunciation] approach increases the amount of bad blood among allies. The elevation of tactics to the level of principle means that there will always be new turncoats to purge. In recent weeks, Senators Ron Johnson and Rand Paul, both previously tea-party favorites, have been denounced for not being sufficiently committed to defunding. Constantly generating new turncoats is not a sign of a workable strategy.

One last thing…
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