Open Thread: Is There a GOP Establishment?

The race toward 2012 has cemented the idea of a Republican "establishment." Some call former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the establishment, having spent most of his career inside the Beltway. Others call former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the establishment, pointing to his lack of success at capturing the support of Tea Party voters.

Do you think a Republican establishment exists that can make or break a candidate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

According to the Daily Caller:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has accused “the establishment” of rallying behind his chief rival for the Republican nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Governor Romney has the money, he has the establishment, he has the internal structure,” Gingrich recently told Fox News. “He’s clearly way ahead of us in all the things that an establishment brings you.”

Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators echoed the charge, suggesting that the “establishment” is working against Gingrich and the other GOP presidential contenders in support of Romney.

Some political commentators, like Pat Buchanan, would argue that the Republican establishment is an antiquated term of the 1940s and 1950s. “What exists of it is really less an establishment than basically the Washington based party, the leaders in both Houses of Congress, the K-Street lobbyists, many of the big fundraisers," but the ability to impose nominees on the party as a whole have evaporated. However, many disagree.

Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin scoffs at the notion that there is no such thing as the Republican establishment.

“It is interesting that no one wants to be characterized as part of the establishment, even when they run the instrumentalities of the GOP and have never endorsed a single tea party candidate out of the gate,” he said.

“Besides, if there was not an establishment, there would be no need for the tea party.”

Do you think the Republican establishment still exists?

2012 Presidential Campaigns & Elections Open Thread