Why did Republicans lose? Republicans can debate that all they like, but the L.A. Times news editors have decided the only theory worth mentioning is that it’s the fault of the Tea Party:
As a subdued John A. Boehner started to lay the groundwork for compromise with President Obama to avert a year-end tax and spending crisis, the House speaker also began a delicate dance around the deep divisions in the Republican Party.
As Congress returns Tuesday, the Ohio Republican must contend with the tea party wing, which helped the GOP retain the House majority as many conservatives won reelection, but which also contributed to its losses in the Senate.
Republican leaders are reevaluating their relationship with the tea party, a political marriage that has fueled gridlock and, some believe, played a role in the GOP’s dismal outcome at the polls.
Some others believe that Romney was not a strong enough candidate and didn’t articulate a Tea Party message strongly enough. But that message does not appear in the story. “Some” might be right and “some others” might be wrong. But it is not for news editors to decide — any more than it is their place to conclude that voters want a deal that is the opposite of what the Tea Party wants:
“The president and his team have made clear they believe his reelection is a mandate for his tax plan,” Boehner told rank-and-file Republicans on a conference call after the election. “Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is not the case.”
On the call, Boehner characterized his House majority as “the line of defense” against the Obama administration, according to a GOP source who was not authorized to discuss internal party matters publicly.
“For the next two years, that will continue to be our role,” Boehner said.
This is the complicated courtship the chain-smoking speaker must undertake in the next 50 days as he attempts to satisfy his right wing while meeting Obama across the aisle for the deal that voters — and the stock market — have signaled they want.
Why couldn’t we say that the voters signaled that they wanted to hold the line by re-electing a Republican majority in the House?
Again, people can debate these issues, but having them decided as a matter of Conventional Wisdom and articulated on news pages (as opposed to opinion pages) is wrong. We have to fight against that mentality and point it out when we see it.