Irony: Tea Party likes Senators; Establishment prefers Governors

Matt K. Lewis | Senior Contributor

“Forget the GOP divide between tea party members and establishment Republicans,” writes Joe Scarborough at Politico. “If you want to see where the fault line runs in the Party of Lincoln look at the difference between Washington Republicans and other GOP leaders across America.”

He was specifically talking about the dichotomy between Republican Senators “who ignorantly followed a self-serving freshman senator over the cliff straight into a government shutdown without an exit strategy” and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (who met with these aforementioned Senators yesterday).

In what has become a trend for many observers since the defund strategy and the shutdown, Scarborough went on to praise other GOP governors like Susana Martinez, John Kasich, and Scott Walker.

Indeed, as I (and others) have noted, governors (and I think, particularly Christie) have benefited greatly from the obvious dysfunction in Washington.

But while his goal is to transcend the “tea party” vs. “establishment’ paradigm, this whole situation also brings up an incredibly interesting situation: Grassroots conservatives find themselves rooting for members of the most exclusive club in the world — the U.S. Senate. Tea party folks suddenly love these new denizens of Washington. Meanwhile, ironically, DC and NY-based conservative opinion leaders find themselves longing for the serious, common-sense conservative approaches championed by governors who live and work outside the beltway.

This isn’t entirely surprising. As one person told me on Twitter, some of this comes down to whether we want our politicians to be a fighter or a “governor.” Still, for a populist movement that rails against Washington elites, this is an interesting development.

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