When the John Birchers had to be kicked out of the Republican Party, William F. Buckley Jr. effectively excommunicated them from the GOP. When the “smoking gun” Watergate tape came out, it was the late Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) who urged Richard Nixon to resign. And when Pat Buchannan’s views could no longer be called anything but anti-Semitic, it was Buckley who called him out.Read the rest here.
If the GOP has one big problem now it is that there is no Goldwater, no Buckley to tell Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and his ilk that enough is enough. The Republicans interested in governance are now participants in the political scrum. The biggest of the conservative magazines, whose editors should know better, are too timid. They poke and prod here and there, but really stand up to the destructive right wing? No. They fear a full throttle debunking would put at risk their place in the conservative cosmos. They mistakenly believe that their role is to rebuke only liberals.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page or a conservative eminence like George Will or Charles Krauthammer can call the tune of charlatans, but the Cruz crowd dismisses even them as pawns in the Great GOP Sell-out. They are thought leaders, but, by definition, influence only those who prize rationality. These days that is but one faction of the conservative movement.