|Oh, you merry band!|
Progressives everywhere, take notice! After years of outrage and disbelief, your reward is here.
Sit back, relax, and watch it unfold --this beautiful thing that is unfolding. The GOP is coming apart at the seams.
Newt does his Newt thing
Newt Gingrich, on Meet the Press last Sunday, called the vaunted Paul Ryan budget plan "right-wing social engineering." (Ya gotta admit, the man has a flair for offensive rhetoric.) This is the very plan which Speaker Boehner dutifully passed through the House to show Tea Party people that he's really (wink, wink) listening to them.
Immediate condemnation from various right-wing panjandrums (Charles Krauthammer all the way down to Rush Limbaugh) was so strong that Gingrich was back-pedaling within 24 hours.
Paul Ryan got to play martyr (a delightful role for any politician) on Laura Ingraham's radio show, plaintively crying: "With allies like that, who needs the left?"
(Let's be real, though. Newt has a lot of enemies in the GOP. Guys like Dick Armey were laying in wait, ready to jump Newt as soon as he said something stupid.) Oh, and I just love this video:
But here's the bigger problem: Conservatives are burning Newt at the stake for attempting to move the party off a politically suicidal position! Polls consistently show that the Ryan budget is reviled, even by Tea Party people. But see if any Republican will ever have the courage to speak out against it after seeing what is happening to Gingrich.
Newt did Democrats a big favor with his Meet the Press remarks. All but four House Republicans voted for the Ryan budget. Now they get to defend it while Democrats run adds of Newt calling it "right-wing social engineering."
Speaker Boehner in the hot seat
Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner delivered some unwelcome news to the Tea Party. At a meeting in his home district in Ohio, the Speaker was asked if Republicans would raise the national $14.3 trillion debt limit. "Yes," he replied. "And we're going to have to raise it again in the future."
Ouch. That is not bound to sit well with Tea Party rank and file who are already seeing red because of the compromise Boehner made with Democrats over the budget resolution last month.
Boehner's in a tough spot. He knows that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would lead to economic calamity. But try convincing Tea Party folks of that. If Boehner can't get enough of his own caucus to go along with him, he'll have to make a deal with Democrats and the GOP will be riven cleanly in two. Sharpen your claws, Nancy!
The GOP has big, big problems: the natural consequence of stoking insane rhetoric for all these years. Xenophobia, anti-gay bigotry, "American exceptionalism," Christian zealotry --all of it has led to this. The Republican party may not be racist, but it is #1 with racists.
Apart from poor, deluded Mitt Romney, and puny Tim Pawlenty, no sane person wants to get in front of this band of yahoos. Who would blame him?