E.J. Dionne explains why the Republican party’s populists and social conservatives never seem to gain traction in his column, “So Much For A Populist GOP:”
Members of the tea party insisted they were turning the GOP into a populist, anti-establishment bastion. Social conservatives have long argued that values and morals matter more than money. Yet in the end, the corporate and economically conservative wing of the Republican Party always seems to win.
Thus was Mitt Romney so confident of victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary that he left the state briefly on Tuesday for a fundraiser in New York City. And why not? The power of big money has been amplified in this campaign by the super PACs let loose by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and lax regulation.
You cannot watch the morning news shows in this state without confronting an intricately confusing blitz of ads, some paid for by candidates, others by the supposedly independent PACs. One kind is indistinguishable from the other.
And the nature of the ads shows why it would be a major upset were Romney to lose here. Although Romney’s opponents direct some of their fire his way, they are spending a fortune tearing each other apart. Rick Perry’s backers take on both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Ron Paul assails Gingrich and Santorum, too. Romney’s supporters have piled on with ads against Gingrich.