Rand Paul may be the vanguard of a new Tea Party politician, which should cause one party to get down on its knees and give thanks: The Democrats. The Republican Party has been infected by frustrated Libertarians, Fox-frenzied white angsters, white supremacists, and more nuts than you can cram into a can of Brazil mix. You do not need a political MRI machine to see the cancer in the GOP body politic.
When Jim DeMint, who has a special set of loafers for putting his foot in his mouth, is disavowing you, and the Dark Lord of Republican politics, Karl Rove, is mum, you know that you've sounded out a politically untenable idea. Such was Rue Paul's comment that the Civil Rights Act should not have allowed the government to tell shopkeepers and businesses that they could not discriminate against people of color if they so chose.
Paul is not a racist, but his completely unbalanced view of the role of the government of which he hopes to be an elected member has created a kind of logical tollway by which extremists can run their mouths at television news cameras. The Tea Party "movement" is a last paroxysm of Ronald Reagan's injection of right-wing zealotry into American politics.
When they were controlled by puppet masters like Lee Atwater or his disciple, Rove, these disparate groups that make up the Tea Party were manageable. They were fronted by silver-tongued devils like Falwell and Ralph Reed, not political bumblers like Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams, whose "monkey-god" reference this week to the prophet Mohammed was not only morally wrong and politically tone deaf, but which drowned out the GOP's hope that the political buzz would be that they were taking back Washington.
That little bit of smoke and mirrors is hard enough for Michael Steele to pull off in a normally Stalanistically dogmatic Republican party. With guys like Pennsylvania senate candidate Pat Toomey, who was sliding blank checks under George W. Bush's pen along with the rest of the Republican House majority, as your top candidates, as Ricky Ricardo once opined: "You gotta lotta 'splainin' to do" to the American people.
That is the problem for the Republicans. Claims of kumbaya moments by the Party's spin apparatus aside, the GOP has lost control of the know-nothings, who, with the help of a few angry fence-straddling Libertarians have morphed into the Tea Baggers. They do not trust not only that "socialist" Obama, but they have not forgotten that the GOP under Bush ran up one of the biggest spending sprees in American history.
The result is that they want their "own" candidates, an amalgam of loose cannons shooting off at irregular intervals all over the deck of the S.S. GOP and sending her to the political Davey Jones Locker.
Moreover, I contend that they lose the vast number of former Republicans who say they're independents because it will be easy to point out that while they were telling everyone who would listen what Democratic initiatives they were against, the Party of No was not floating any really good ideas. The ones that they did put up for a vote were included in bills from Health Care to Wall Street reforms. Then they voted against them.
Let us not forget the shocking exercise in hypocrisy that dozens of senators and congressmen engaged in, voting down the emergency Stimulus bill, then trying to take credit for projects in their districts or states that were funded by stimulus money.
Which is why I've always wondered about the journalistic integrity of everyone from Chris Matthews to Wolf Blitzer who allowed that unadulterated spin to come out of the GOP talking heads on their shows about a November Surprise for Obama.
From J.D. Hayworth, who is forcing John McCain to make more Right turns than NASCAR has lefts, to the Libertarian suicidal melt-down of Rue Paul on the Rachael Maddow Show, with all of the racist, xenophobic, and just downright bizarre behavior between, the clowns are definitely in control of the Republican Big Top.
Without even the ghost of Ronald Reagan to glue together the risible Right, the traditional Republicans, who lose votes to the Independent column by the day are going to continue to bleed sensible voters as long as they cater to people whose views are so extreme that Republicans on the Hill would welcome anonymous letters filled with Anthrax faster than a phone call from Rand Paul. Their vote will split, or, where people like Paul have already won the nomination, they will make the lives of campaign staffers for the Democrats that much easier.
One day, long after John Boehner has retired to run his chain of tanning salons, and Newt Gingrich marries another two or three women between failed presidential bids, and the hand-wringing moralists of the Family quit getting caught having sex with everyone but their spouses, the Republicans will have some hope of being a mainstream party once again, and a force to be reckoned with.
Until anyone associated with the Bush Era congress is gone from the GOP, don't count on them getting much forgiveness from those angry, ignorant, rudderless folks who are looking for a gourd or a shoe to follow, to lead them out of all of this minority-induced "change" in the wilderness and back to the Promised Land of the mythic White America that Ronald Reagan told them to love as he rode off into the sunset with a nuke in each holster and his white Stetson.
Right now, the Right, Tea Bagger-filled clown-cars and Libertarian pie throwers included, are pushing for new, even more dogmatic candidates like Paul, who will drive even more socially moderate and fiscally conservative Republicans out of the party. They are now living in the same no-mans land of not being Democrats, but not having a voice in a real party, that the Libertarians and other other states rights splinter groups enjoyed for 200+ years.
My shiny two.
Follow Brian Ross on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mlnsports