Knee-jerk House tantrums hit new comic highs as the Wily E. Coyote party continues its madcap leap to self-destruction. Can’t zealots who hate government find more imaginative ways not to govern? The latest cartoon antics only dramatize what happens when the party of stupid slides further:
1) How will the TP-GOP compete nationally after this laughable “rebranding” boomerangs?
2) Will not election penalties accrue to hostage-taking poseurs “begging America to fail,” in Bill Clinton’s phrase?
3) What if Obama is the second worst Washington negotiator, bowing to the Boehner Follies?
Oblivious to shame and ridicule, Republican extremists appear to learn nothing either from the failed ’96 shutdown or the humiliating ’11 payroll tax fiasco. Why should today’s cliff-leapers not incur equally severe reprimands from partisan insiders? Karl Rove conceded his party “lost the optics on it,” Charles Krauthammer groused the GOP had “been entirely outplayed,” and the WSJ bemoaned they “thoroughly botched the politics” and turned the payroll tax gambit into a “fiasco.” Ouch.
And yet over-the-top federal obstructionism represents only one side of the GOP’s most compelling contradiction. To wit: right wingers implode in Washington while still running roughshod not just over conservative bastions but centrist battleground state houses in MI, WI, PA, and FL. What works in backwater Wisconsin or Michigan thus strikes out under prime time, national scrutiny. Can big money, bad ideology, and sleazy marketing dominate locally (with whiter populations) but strike out in Congress? Where is any historic precedent for such a dramatic schizophrenic split, where one party commanded writ small yet imploded writ large. No wonder Tea Party fanaticism shrinks its popularity, and the latest bottom feeding will add dishonor.
Aiding & Abetting the Enemy
Analysts have yet to explain this paradoxical mystery: why haven’t crushing national defeats, many self-induced, impeded extremists from commandeering states Obama won more than once? Why do pitchforks and spittle work in battleground regions but fail miserably in Washington? And why would Tea Partiers exacerbate their infamy with losing, rearguard battles against health reform? Remember, only once since WWII has the same party won three presidencies in a row. Imagine the irony if extremists end up boosting candidates, like Hillary Clinton, they can’t stand?
To that end, loud-mouthed Tea Party con artists, like slick Ted Cruz, suffer not from shyness, nor from sneering contempt that will only further offend centrists. Apparently, the right reckons that endless hissy fits will obscure the constant lies they scatter like confetti. Notably, as Obama lately revs up his own deception meter, Tea Bagging hustlers call and raise to new limits: Obamacare becomes a tsunami of death panels drowning America. How can elected politicians not have a glimmer of risk-reward formula outside districts? Enough revulsion against a right wing lurch that surpasses stupid will lower scores of right wing boats.
Right Wing Manifesto: Wrong is Right
Democratic blunders aside, huge majorities discredit Tea Party stances, perceived as wrong on zero jobs stimulus, shielding unfair taxation, governance by blackmail, defying immigration reform, and certainly impervious, racist Birtherism. No majority endorses privatizing Social Security, attacks on women’s rights or abortion absolutism, let alone infrastructure negligence, rampant crony capitalism, or more “dumb” neocon wars. Don’t values (and elections) eventually punish such wrangles of wrongheaded rigidity? Other than adding a fuzzy sense that government is “too large,” what Tea Party mantra has won wider support in four years?
Understandably, against weak-kneed Obama, dogmatism is defensible, but not when you’re holding on by your fingernails. A few days of corporate wailing will shred House defiance, and sham budget/debt belligerence will disintegrate like the payroll tax disaster. No doubt winning Republican ploys (the sequester, historically low taxes, blunted regulations, Citizens United, and status quo for Wall Street) foster the TP bleating to nullify Obamacare, if not Obama. Of course, government must be hateful when it’s evil “Obama’s government.”
Whither Beyond Stupid?
So, the new “party beyond stupid” holds center stage in its three-ring circus, parading like willful inquisitors scouring heretics to be burned alive. How long before it matters that rival right wingers have upped their rhetoric against each other, with Cruz clashing with McCain, Limbaugh with GOP leadership, and O’Reilly putting down Mitt Romney for not wanting “to be president of the United States, and that’s why he lost.” Right, squishy conservatives aren’t just wrong, nor bad campaigners, but vacuous nincompoops who don’t know their own mind.
Apparently, Republicans don’t worry that battering their own might undermine their ultimate goal: to find any way to impeach Obama’s legitimacy. Yet Democrats who welcome the shutdown must be chuckling as the rabid right lifts their 2014 election chances. If House zealots believe what they say — that suicide missions against Obamacare are good strategy — they are fools further jeopardizing what remains of their national competitiveness. If they don’t, they are cynical knaves turned domestic terrorists indeed begging America to fail.
Economist Mark Zandi projects that any government closure will hurt, but an impasse stretching over months “would likely precipitate another recession.” Nothing like worsening hard times to let Democrats pin the tail on that sick elephant. Will the party beyond stupid, translating their insatiable wrongs into divine rights, escape a return to the asylum? Who says politics isn’t more amusing, and far more suspenseful, than any humdrum cable sitcoms?