GOP Goes Completely Off the Deep End


    Last night’s Republican primary results, particularly in Delaware but also in other states, confirmed what many of us had been thinking for months now — the GOP has gone completely off the deep end into John Birch Society cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs land.  As James Zogby writes over at Politico, “With Palin and Co. at the helm and Beck and Rush directing traffic, the GOP no longer looks like the Party of Lincoln (hell, it’s not even the party of Reagan).”  

    That’s an excellent point, as Ronald Reagan expanded the federal government, raised taxes multiple times (including a gas tax increase and an increase in corporate taxes), exploded the deficit, expanded Social Security, negotiated with the “Evil Empire,” etc., etc. Also, I’d point out that “cap and trade” originated in the Reagan Administration as a conservative, “free market” idea.  In today’s Republican Party, in other words, Ronald Reagan – or someone with the same views not named “Ronald Reagan” – would be ridden out of town on a rail as a liberalliberalliberalliberal.  Today, the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan has become the de facto John Birch Society — extreme, wildly irresponsible, insane. Let’s just call them the “American Taliban” Party.

    Democratic consultant Peter Fenn explains it well when he writes:

    Poor Republicans. They are beginning to resemble the bar scene from Star Wars. They are purging the conservative voices in their party who have any sort of pragmatic perspective and substituting true kooks. These are not just candidates with hard right views — they took over the Republican Party in the late ’70s and early ’80s — these are candidates who, as the Republican chair in Delaware put it, don’t deserve to be dog catcher. Serious ethics issues. No record of accomplishment. Little of any substance on the issues. They are, pure and simple, vessels for anger and unbridled simplicity. The Grand Old Party is fast devouring itself. Political tsunamis do wash up a lot of dead fish on the beach — it happened when Republicans captured 12 Senate seats in 1980. It appears to be happening again, only worse.

    That about sums it up. The only other thing I’d add is that, although I’m happy this morning as a partisan Democrat to see the Republicans self destructing, I’m worried as an American at the future of my country.  Is having one of our two major political parties go completely off the deep end a good thing for America? I’m not convinced. How about you?

    UPDATE: Another way to put it is that the Republicans “are being subsumed by the Tea Party,” and that the “mainstream Republican party is dying or already dead.”

    …the Republicans thought they could co-opt [the Tea Partiers] and use their anger to fire up their dormant base. The joke is on them. Like HAL in 2000 A Space Odyssey, the master suddenly has become the slave and the Republicans have lost control of their party. They thought they had a tiger by the tail but the tiger has them now. The question is, will there be any Republicans left?

    UPDATE #2: Here in Virginia, the partisan Democrat in me shouts go Sideshow Bob, while the rest of me worries for my country’s future.

    • The real GOP will see this as an opportunity to get a true Republican Party in place; a pragmatic, fiscally conservative, socially moderate party (along the lines of a Tom Davis-type politico). The wingnuts have hijacked the party, and the rational Repubs (yes, there are some) are going to be on the outside looking in.

    • kindler

      The Tea Party is certainly proving to be a force for change within the GOP — so much so that what had been looking like a disastrous year for Dems could turn around as it begins to sink in how radical and reactionary these people really are.

      What’s interesting is that the Repub base has legit reasons to be angry with the leaders, as they certainly have been a bunch of hypocrites, claiming to be fiscal conservatives when they’re constantly blowing up deficits, claiming to be paragons of virtue while they’re boinking pages of both sexes behind closed doors.

      But revolutions have a way of getting out of control and causing anarchy more than anything else. The Tea Party is fueled by nothing more than anger, and anger is not a healthy, relaible force to build on. Their main legacy, as you say, is likely to be the destruction of the Repub party as we know it.

      But leaving what in its place? I shudder to contemplate.  

    • jack russell

      right now it looks like the moderates will have to find a new home – the crazies seem to have a death-grip on the Republican brand name.

      I found this earlier this morning: Modern Whig Party.

    • blue bronc

      I think it is important to remember the origins of the “Tea Party”. It consisted of paid organizers to “protest” Obama and Dems.  The paid participants were bussed from event to event, or as the teabaggers like to present, protest to protest.  The anger was a scripted act, promoted by much of the media, designed to get coverage.

      While the professionals did their play the people who should not be allowed out in public showed up and got involved.  Those people added real anger and hate, the signs they make and carry are the very signs Beck would not allow near his “I am god” revival meeting.

      I am very sure the brains, Koch and Rove, did not imagine their very own candidates would start losing to the fruitcakes. They had to be completely unprepared for not being able to control the act and action. It will be interesting to read the books that will come out next year.

      Some how theirs was a bad reading of the fringe R’s and the hate stirred up. I will hazard a guess that Rove did not take in to account how deep racism is in the R party. By playing up the birther crap, the Muslim lies, and the black guy destroying the U.S. with screwy economic/political concepts (most of which the teabaggers can only try to pronounce) Rove took the lid off the pot, and it was not the stew pot.  

      It was a very cynical ploy to stir the chamber pot trying to create a diversion away from their own candidates, who are far right and freaky enough on their own.  Now that their chosen candidates are falling to the wayside to the absolute Rove and friends must be getting scared. They have to be busy trying to come up with a new strategy to save the remnants of the far right McCain type Republican party.

    • Teddy Goodson

      For some time it has been obvious that “conservative” is a mis-nomer when referring to Republicans and their party. I believe reactionary is far more accurate.

      I would urge Dmocrats not to count their chckens yet. Several things might happen to ruin revived Democratic hopes:

      1) the Republican Establishment manages to muzzle the more freakish Tea Party candidates, and manufacture a pretend move to the middle, or otherwise tone down the dissidents so as to fool enough moderates and regular Republicans into voting for them (don’t underestimate the racism present, which may trump reactionary Tea)

      2) An October surprise can demoralize Democrats and, with media help, bring otherwise uneasy voters back into the anti-Democrat fold of the Republican Party; this could be any number of black swan contrivances like a major terrorist attack on the US homeland

      3) The economy can take an unexpected double dip—–

      and so on.  

    • Glen Tomkins

      “Is having one of our two major political parties go completely off the deep end a good thing for America?”

      It’s a good thing if they are rejected by the voters for going off the deep end.  If that happens, the extremists don’t get to actually run things, so the country isn’t harmed.  And, if that happens, the party in question will predictably respond by drawing back from the brink of that deep end in time for the next elections.  The system works.

      This is only a long-term or big problem if the voters go off the deep end with the party in question.  If that happens, we all suffer the consequences of whatever misrule lies at the bottom of the fall off that deep end.

      There is a middling possibility that seems more plausible this year, that the voters don’t really agree with the crazy the Rs are offering this year, but that what is really a vote against the incumbents in a very bad economy will be misinterpreted, especially by the deep-enders, as an endorsement of diving off the deep-end.  

      After last night, it look like they’ll only get the House, at most.  So they would only get to do the limited damage that control of only the House would give them.  The risk to that situation, though, is that these deep-enders, because they control only the House, but are crazy enough to think that these are the End Times, and they have to do something decisive, will go in for a season of constitutional hardball.  

      In politics as usual, control of just the House means all you can do is obstruct.  The deep-enders may not settle for that, but to get more, they have to change the rules.  The particular rule they seem bent on changing is the idea that you need the same both chambers plus the president (or veto-proof majorities in both chambers) that you need to pass a law in the first place, to repeal that law.  They are already talking publically about effectively repealing the ACA by denying it funding next year, even though they will almost certainly not be able to actually repeal the law, and thereby get rid of the obligation to spend the money that they will refuse to authorize.  That would give them, and us, the season of hardball that they want, because that would raise all sorts of constitutional issues.