Tag Archives: crazy caucus

John Boehner and the GOP’s Alternate Reality

There has been no lack of punditry–much of it inane–in the wake of John Boehner’s resignation. But I encountered one of the more thought-provoking analyses at the progressive website Daily Kos. After detailing the gleeful reactions emanating from the more reactionary precincts of what used to be a political party (and is now some sort of cult), and accusations from people like Mike Huckabee to the effect that Boehner had “given the President more power on Obamacare,” the poster ruminated:

After total legislative obstruction, a government shut-down, more than 50 votes to repeal Obamacare, an ensuing presidential election, two Supreme Court lawsuits, and other pending litigation – – Republicans are livid with the belief that John Boehner has worked with the President to strengthen Obamacare.

No sane political observer could think that.  So, what gives?  As Jonathan Chait explains, we are witnessing a sort of collective Republican denial where they cannot accept that they are not the ruling party, not the “deciders” (to use a former president’s phrase):

To understand the pressures that brought about Boehner’s demise as an ideological split badly misconstrues the situation. The small band of right-wing noisemakers in the House who made Boehner’s existence a living hell could not identify any important substantive disagreements with the object of their wrath. . . . The source of the disagreement was tactical, not philosophical. Boehner’s tormentors refused to accept the limits of his political power. . . .

The “crazy caucus” continues to occupy an alternate reality. It exists merely to throw sand in the gears of government, refusing to accept anything less than everything it wants–and increasingly unable even to articulate what “everything it wants” is. (Anyone who has ever parented a cranky two-year-old can recognize the behavior…)

That said, the real problem isn’t that a minor, albeit significant faction of a major party is arguably insane. The real problem is, voters elected them. And non-voters abetted them.

That’s what is so frightening to contemplate….

 

Send in the Grown-Ups

Don’t bother to send in the clowns. They’re here. What we need are the adults.

For the past twenty years, I’ve been predicting a schism in the Republican party–or at the very least, a “smack down” of the extremists on the right by the establishment-types (aka the “country club” Republicans).

I was so certain the day of reckoning was close that I hung in as the GOP got weirder and wilder–reluctant to leave a party to which I’d given so many years, and unable to make sense of the zealots who’d displaced the rational, prudent folks I had worked with for so long.

But the day of reckoning never came, and in 2000 I left–or more accurately, I acknowledged that the party had left me. I watched from the sidelines as the GOP continued its seemingly inexorable trip into Tea Party fantasyland. I kept expecting the people who occupy reality and care about the party’s long-term prospects–the people whose own interests are tied to the viability of the national organization– to step in and say “enough.”

It never happened.

As Jon Lovett recently wrote in The Atlantic,

The Republican elite caught a ride on the tiger. But the tiger got sick of waiting for the gazelles it was promised, the gazelles that were always one election away. The tiger was hungry and angry and tired of being used and the longer it waited the more appetizing the elite on its back became. So the tiger got a radio station and a news channel. The tiger got organized and mobilized. And finally the tiger realized it didn’t need someone kicking its sides telling it which way to run and who to eat and when to eat and why it wasn’t time to eat and the time to eat would come, don’t worry, you’ll eat soon enough.

So the tiger ate its master and now here we are.

If the recent disastrous behavior of the so-called “suicide caucus” doesn’t finally precipitate the appropriate response by the sane remnant, nothing ever will.

When GOP figures like John McCain and Peter King (Peter King, for heaven’s sake!) place blame for the shutdown and the damage it caused squarely on the crazy caucus–when The Economist (hardly a leftwing organ) profiles Ted Cruz as a pandering “Cruz missile” promising the impossible and doing real damage to his fellow Republicans–when Michelle Bachmann (who welcomes the damage as a sign of the “End Times”) and Louis Gohmert (who threatened to impeach the President if Congress caused default) remain the face of the GOP along with the feckless John Boehner…

Surely it’s time for the grown-ups?

If any grown-ups are left…..