NAC but I will posit that it could be a plus in the shorter term but a negative in the longer term. The fear of being primaried or labeled a RINO is very real and just has to be one of the major factors driving legislative behavior. But Im inclined to believe it will negatively hurt the party's image as well as hurting with candidate recruitment as Plain Blog has often noted. I also think it feeds more generally into the dynamic of right-wing hucksters creating outrage/sowing discord for profit (and sometimes out of sincere ideology). Their success in defeating some moderate candidates and in driving others rightward has probably emboldened them and should produce negative effects in other ways for the conservative movemennt.Another way to look at this question is to ask what is a conservative policy outcome? Is it being able to defeat any possibility of compromise, even when a compromise might give you some of the things you want? Is it defeating a UN treaty on disabilities? Blocking non-controversial executive branch and judicial nominees? If greater influence of the right-wing of the GOP is inherently a plus for conservative policy outcomes, then yes this push is probably a good. But does the conservative movement sometimes now know what it wants policy-wise? Or know waht it wants but have mistaken ideas about how to get there? These are very real possibilities that cloud the question somewhat.
A net plus so far, as fear of primary opposition has kept many Republican Senators from supporting anmesty for illegal immigrants; the primary defeats of amnesty supporters Bennett of Utah and Lugar of Indiana has helped keep amnesty from passing the Senate so far. If that changes in 2013-14, then that would diminish the success of that strategy.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect