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GOP Senators Blaming Tea Party for Failure to Capture Senate

 
 
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GOP senators are playing the blame game over Republicans' failure to gain control of the Senate, bringing public attention to some long-standing tensions within the party.

In one corner, we have a group of prominent senators and operatives who argue that far-right Republicans like Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint were foolish to push nominees too conservative to win, pointing to the bitter losses of Tea Party-backed candidates in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada.

Referring to the debate within the right about whether the party was better off losing the Delaware seat than winning with a moderate Republican like Rep. Mike Castle, who lost the GOP primary to Christine O’Donnell, [Sen. Lindsey] Graham was...blunt. “If you think what happened in Delaware is ‘a win’ for the Republican Party then we don’t have a snowball’s chance to win the White House,” he said.

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott put it plainly: “We did not nominate our strongest candidates.”

Another high-profile senator went even further, placing the blame for the Senate GOP’s failure squarely at the feet of Graham’s South Carolina colleague, DeMint....This Republican senator said that the tea party was the “big winner” by helping bring enormous energy behind GOP candidates Tuesday, but he said that “Sen. DeMint was the big loser.”

“It’s like you’re on the five-yard line ready to score and the quarterback calls the play and some member of your team tackles one of your members and keeps you from scoring,” the senator said. “We came tantalizingly close to a majority.”

 

The other camp, made up of the party's most conservative members, has fired back, accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of squandering millions in California instead of offering extra support in places like Colorado, Nevada and Washington state.

 

“If the establishment is doing finger-pointing this morning it’s because their $8 million gamble in California didn’t pay off,” jabbed a source close to DeMint. “That money could have been used in Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Alaska where the races were much closer and much more winnable. That was a huge fumble.”

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at November 4, 2010, 6:25am