Is the Tea Party poisoning the Grand Old Party?
Republicans have never been particularly good at governing, but the Tea Party makes it impossible.
Life has become difficult for the Republican Party as their base -- mostly old, Fox-watching white people -- is fading into oblivion. A base easily stirred up over third rail issues and easy to convince to vote against their own best interest.
The advent of the Tea baggers in 2010, "The Madhatter's Tea Party," made things even worse. The political train is racing past Republicans and they don't have a ticket to climb on board.
Where do they go from here?
After reading the tea leaves the answer becomes pretty clear. The GOP is in trouble and, as Speaker John Boehner once put it, "destined for the dust bin of history," which is a good thing.
Their brand -- conservatism, obstructionism, intransigence, bigotry, and animosity -- has become stale, lost in a past that no longer exists. Thinking and demographics have changed and the right-wing is unable to change with them. They seem incapable of the transition to contemporary ideas and ideals.
Republicans have long been short on compassion, but the Tea Party has pushed them even farther into the proverbial corner with their dispassionate exclusionary angst.
Tea Partiers like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Tim Griffin, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, and Trent Franks show absolute disdain for poor people; disabled people, including veterans; gays; women; immigrants; seniors who rely on Social Security; and students who rely on loans to get through college, are poisoning the already conflicted party. Their detachment and ruthless attacks on the vulnerable infects the entire country.
The Republican Party was bad enough pre-tea with politicians like Michele Bachmann, Darrell Issa, Marsha Blackburn, Steve King, Joe Wilson, Virginia Foxx, and Jim DeMint but the people who have invaded Washington since the 2010 election are downright crazy.
Collectively, without the help of the Tea Party, these inept Congressmen and women were able to screw up the political system, slow progress, destroy the economy, and denigrate the Constitution.
But the crazies have gone even further -- redefining ineptness and political dysfunction. and the Republicans are starting to feel the rancidness of their actions.
Talk of shutting down the government or 40 votes to repeal all or part of Obamacare is not a judicious use of government time. Filibustering every bill that comes before the Senate or blocking nearly all high-level administration appointees -- judicial and administrative -- is not good governing. Refusing to bring passed Senate bills to the floor of the House for a vote is equally destructive.
But, this is what Republicans do. This is how they govern. And it has gotten even worse with the election of these far-right nuts whose lies and ideologies are even more egregious than the long-time prevarications of the Republicans.
Acceptance has always been the part of the Democrats' platform that has eluded the Republican Party who, instead, choose a tunnel-visioned ideology that alienates most Americans. Republicans used to be good at masking their hatred and bigotry, but the Libertarian/Tea Party faction of the party has been unable to restrain their new, if only brief, power and their brashness is threatening to bring down the entire Republican Party.
A divisive party before, but since the Tea Party began holding the Republicans hostage, they've become a party that thrives on alienation. This abhorrent behavior has been boiling just below the surface for over 30 years but the fugue state the right finds themselves in now leaves them spiraling out of control and even sane Republicans seem unable to stop it.
Whether they're acting out of complete ignorance or deceit the party is in disarray and is having difficulty determining which positions to support as their popularity continues to decline. They're even beginning to lose seniors -- for years their base -- as the seniors realize that the Republicans' care nothing about them, their children, or grandchildren.
Republican primal instinct is to lie and repeat that lie in lock-step until enough voters believe their canard. But now, even though Fox News continues -- without conscience -- to pass these prevarications on to their viewers, their message is falling on deaf ears.
RNC Chairman, Reince Preibus, should explain to the Darjeeling arm of the party that vitriol, lies, and obstruction alienate voters. More bees are attracted with milk and honey.
But the Tea Baggers seem to be focused on hemlock.
And hemlock may be the answer to most of our problems.