All three of Miami's Republican representatives staved off Democratic challengers in the election, but the brand of Republicanism they represent is losing influence in their own party.
While last week's Republican Governors Association conference didn't come to a clear conclusion on which ideological shifts the GOP should make, the Republicans in Congress selected staunch conservatives for new leadership roles. Conservative John Boehner will continue as minority leader, but his two deputy chiefs (including Florida's Adam "Howdy Doody" Putnam) resigned and were replaced by two members from the Republican Study Committee, the House's conservative Republican caucus. Mario Diaz-Balart is a member of that committee, although his brother Lincoln and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are not.
To give you an idea of just how significantly their version of Republicanism strays from current leadership, Mario and Lincoln each had a conservative rating in 2007 from National Review that rounds off to 61. Ileana's was 59. John Boener has a score of 93.3, tying for the most conservative member of the house (note: other analyses show Mario more to the right than Lincoln).
Isn't it ironic, then, that the two moderate members who handily won re-election are now on the weaker side of the losing party, while the most conservative of the three, who barely held onto his seat, is in the same ideological caucus as the new power players? Kind of says something about how wise this decision to take the party even more to the right really is.
At least Lincoln doesn't seem to care much, telling CQ: "It’s very civil in there" -- indicating that moderates, or anyone else, didn't put up much of a fight.
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