. . . the conditions of 2012 – specifically, the now-certain nomination of Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for president – call for conservatives to take a harder line than ever in supporting Operation Counterweight (William Jacobson’s term), in particular to seek in Senate races what David Freddoso has called “an un-bossable Senate.” Party insiders expect conservatives, Tea Party-style outsiders and single-issue social conservatives to show up to vote anyway for a party whose leader is a man many of us distrust on nearly every issue. Politics, they remind us, is compromise. And that’s precisely my point: it is exactly because one side of the party got Romney that the other can less afford to swallow Romney-like figures in the Senate. That doesn’t mean backing the most conservative candidate in every single race without considering any other factor – but it does mean giving more than usual preference to the more conservative and/or less establishment option in Senate races. It’s not about demanding absolute party purity – it’s about recognizing that Romney has sopped up most of our tolerance for impurity already. If you want a Senate that will hold Romney’s feet to the fire, you have to start by replacing men like Dick Lugar and, in Utah, 78-year old Orrin Hatch.
The GOP has a real shot at taking back the Senate this year -- out of 33 races, only seven feature a Republican incumbent. And the goal is not just a Republican Senate, but a conservative Republican Senate. And if that would be an effective counterweight to President Romney, it hardly needs to be said that it would also be an effective brake on a President Obama.