Strassel: Another Misguided Cruz Missile

In addition to Mr. McConnell, conservative groups are targeting senators John Cornyn (Texas), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.). While the primary challengers aren’t likely to win (Mr. Bevin is trailing by 25 points), the attacks are hurting incumbents’ general-election prospects.

None of this is about substance. If political principle were at stake, one would assume these outside groups—so keen on purity—would have already dropped Mr. Bevin. It came out recently that he had once praised the very bank bailouts that he has been slapping Mr. McConnell for supporting.

Mr. McConnell holds the same positions as Mr. Cruz on spending, ObamaCare, gun control, etc. His sin? He has refused to ask Republicans to run into the Obama fixed bayonets, a la the Cruz shutdown. Groups like SCF and Heritage Action want to replace the leadership with more of their own kamikaze caucus. They also understand there are far more fundraising dollars and media attention in attacking fellow conservatives.

Republicans have fumbled their last two Senate takeover chances, mostly thanks to infighting. But this latest movement—to take down incumbents over tactics—is a new low. If the GOP remains a minority, this will be why.

WSJ
2/20/14