Much of that suspicion has burnt off, the reward for fighting the good if unsuccessful fight against Obamacare.
All of the good will would be lost if the GOP is seen to partner with any expansion of the federal government at this juncture, or with any erosion in the Constitution's basic structure.
Thus the absolute necessity of stopping cap-and-tax and of opposing all but the most carefully-worded immigration reforms from emerging out of the Senate.
There is zero room for "negotiation" on the former subject, and the continued dalliance of Senator Lindsey Graham with Democrats on the so-called "sector-by-sector" approach on emissions controls threatens not only the economy but also the prospects for Graham's long-time ally John McCain who has been working to repair relations with conservative voters in Arizona in advance of his primary contest with former Congressman J.D. Hayworth. In recent weeks the feeling has been growing that Hayworth's momentum and peaked and that the GOP standard bearer from 2008 was beginning to solidify his standing as a stalwart of the Senate GOP on any number of issues but especially those related to national security. McCain's skepticism of the recent nuclear arms treaty was just the most recent of his high-rpofile and effective statements of opposition to President Obama's agenda. McCain is clearly running as a conservative, and that is a winning approach.
A Graham-led "deal" on cap-and-tax, however, could easily snowball into a full-throated rejection of the D.C. GOP elite, including Senator McCain. This is the message that Mitch McConnell and GOP Whip Jon Kyl have to deliver again and again to the caucus: The electorate is judging us a whole, and they are not in the mood for Beltway compromises and insider deals.
This is probably understood on the subject of immigration as the memory of disaster that was the 2007 push for reform without border security is still fresh enough to warn off would-be deal-makers.
But it is unclear if all GOP senators understand that the same revulsion is waiting any bargain on banking and cap-and-tax.
This is the season for loyal, full-throated opposition and a referendum in the fall on the huge lurch left led by the president, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Let's hope that all 41 members of the Rebublican understand the basic dynamic of this election.
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