What is scary for the Republicans is that they are setting a precedent for coming across as extreme, defiant, unreasonable and harsh.
Let’s look at the math on the two other pieces of legislation that were given a vote on the House floor without a majority of Republican support. (Contrary to the so-called “Hastert rule,” named after former Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.), who held that you should have a majority of your caucus to bring legislation before the full House.)
The legislation to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy was rejected by 179 Republicans. Efforts to avert the disastrous “fiscal cliff” in December were rejected by 151 Republicans.
If you begin to examine the “Tea Party problem” you soon discover that the Republican caucus is full of members who pride themselves in their extremism. There are currently 49 members of the official Michele BachmannMichele BachmannGOP operative Ed Rollins joins pro-Trump super-PAC Michele Bachmann trolls Clinton on NYC subway Michele Bachmann breaks out dance moves MORE Tea Party Caucus.
That is over 20 percent, with many more supporting the rigid ideology. Really, you want to follow Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)?
Despite the last election, where they were beaten so decisively by female voters, Republicans remain adamant in their opposition to legislation to help women.
They also insist on opposing policies that have strong support among a majority of all voters: helping Sandy victims, a balanced approach of revenue increases and spending cuts to reduce the deficit, preventing a sequester that will harm large numbers of Americans.
To the vast majority of the Republican caucus, compromise is a four-letter word. They will oppose even reasonable legislation if it is not to their total liking.
As Rep. Tom CoburnTom CoburnGOP faces existential threat Sanders tops 2016 field in newly deleted tweets The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Okla.) put it in the upcoming New Yorker article on House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorWis. Republican launches long-shot bid to oust Ryan Republicans who vow to never back Trump NRCC upgrades 11 'Young Guns' candidates MORE (Va.): “If this were football, some of these guys would know only one play, and that’s to throw deep every time.”
It is policy suicide and it is political suicide.
To stay with the Coburn analogy, it does not move the ball down the field. It is very easy for the other side to play against, and it shows no imagination or creativity. Sadly, for the Republicans, the voters get that. And sadly for the country, in most instances it prevents us from solving our most difficult problems.
Unfortunately, I am afraid that House Republicans may be hard-pressed to shed that image.