Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, Charlie Crist in Florida, and Mike Castle from Delaware all lost their bid in the Republican primary to non establishment or "Tea Tarty" candidates, and all have either refused to support their party's candidate or have remained in the race either as write ins or as third party candidates. If the Republican party leadership had a shred of respect for its constituents they would censure these candidates and remove them from any leadership position.
In the long run they have exposed the tumor in the Republican party; the tumor is power. They prefer power to ideology. They prefer power to smaller government. They prefer power to respect for the voters.
They are part of the very bipartisan Ruling Class that Professor Angelo Codevilla wrote about in The Ruling Class. (This article in American Spectator has been expanded into a book by that name.)
Can you imagine the uproar from the GOP if the Tea Party candidates who lost by a narrow margin maintained a position in the race? This broad refusal by the GOP establishment to respect the will of their voters is a clear incentive for future tea party candidates to also refuse to accept the primary results. This is why it is essential for Republican leaders to squelch this arrogant and elitist effort to hold on to power even at the cost of severely damaging their party. This damage could persist beyond this campaign.
The best of the Tea Party candidates simply want a smaller government and a return to common sense economic policy, and respect for constitutional restrictions on government action. The very fact that this is now considered an extreme position is the reason that the tea party exists. The Republicans have so failed to restrain the growth in government that now even trying is perceived to be extreme.
Yes, there is the chance that the Tea Party will degenerate into a populist movement or be hijacked into positions other that limiting the power of government; but at least they are still willing to fight for that position the Republican establishment surrendered long ago. The left is unable to see them as anything other than wing nuts or racists because they have gone so far to the left that the middle now looks that extreme.
The Tea Party candidates that were given no chance in the primaries are now given no chance in the general election, but starting with Mark Rubio we are seeing that even those wishful predictions are coming unglued.
By comparison even Arlen Specter had the decency to switch parties rather than stay and destroy the one that elected him several times. Perhaps Republicans who stubbornly try to hold onto their positions in the Ruling Class think they can pull off the same success Joe Lieberman enjoyed when he ran as an independent and won after losing the Democratic primary, but there are two distinct differences. First the dynamics in Connecticut were different and the combination of Republicans, independents and blue dog Democrats allowed Lieberman to remain electable.
Secondly, Lieberman stood for something besides mere power; he was marginalized because he had supported Bush's war and was deemed too conservative to represent the Democratic voters. He remained in the race to represent positions he felt were important. By comparison the Republican establishment candidates were rejected because the primary voters deemed them too liberal. By contrast they seem unable to articulate important positions they want to fight for; they just do not want to give up the power.
This stubborn quest to retain power at all costs is a tumor that is killing the Republican party; the Tea Party is acting like the painful yet necessary chemotherapy that may save the GOP.