The worm turns, as they say. Now Tea Party members in the House of Representatives who supported the government shutdown will have to increasingly worry about primary challenges from traditional Republicans.
National Party News
In the coming two to four years, the Republicans seem ready to engage in a battle royal for the soul of their party. And it sure will be ugly.
I have to confess that I was not a huge fan of the TV show “Lost,” certainly not nearly as addicted to it as my kids. But the current state of the Republicans, particularly in the House, strikes me as the political equivalent.
The report of a not-so-secret meeting last night at the Tortilla Coast restaurant between Ted Cruz and about 15 to 20 of the most outlandish Republicans from the House was like the crew from “Lost.” The long-abandoned island resembles where these members of the suicide caucus may soon end up, complete with bickering, intrigue and increasingly bizarre behavior.
Actually, many reasonable Republicans would probably just as soon exile this crowd to a desert island somewhere far, far away.
Like virtually every Democrat, like most independents, like a strong majority of Americans, I am fed up with the bullying anarchism of the Tea Party right in the House of Representatives, which could, as I charged in my latest column, drive America into a default that would crash the markets.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Majority Leader who acts like a majority leader, is mad as hell and not taking it any more. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker who does not always act like a Speaker, and who is goaded and bullied by the junior senator from Texas and Tea Party anarchists in the House, has so far submitted to the blackmail of the bully and caused a shutdown of the government of America.
Not so for Harry Reid. He is fighting back. I stand with Reid. America should not negotiate with terrorists, and Democrats should not negotiate with Tea Party radicals and anarchists who practice the legislative blackmail to shut the government down and threaten to drive the nation into default. No way.
There is always a tension between the practicality of winning elections and the desire for ideological purity.
But for many conservatives across the country, in recent years we have been asked to support mainstream candidates who talk a good game but then don’t fight for conservative principles.
The litany of failed mainstream presidential candidates on our side of the aisle tells the tale: President George H.W. Bush (reelection), Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney. These are all honorable men, but they are all middle-of-the-road, mainstream, losing candidates.
In my humble opinion it is cruel, barbaric and vile for House Republicans to force through a $39 billion cut in the food stamp program, as they did in dastardly fashion on a dark Thursday in Congress.
As I wrote in my column in The Hill, before the roll was called I was honored to stand with Catholic bishops, and faiths and charities of many stripes, and decent people whose names are far too long to list, against this outrage.
Have they no decency on the Republican side of the House of Representatives? At least a handful of Republicans voted against this disgraceful act. Shame on all the rest. Shame on them for a callous and partisan attack on the poor. Shame on them for — literally — taking food from the mouths of hungry children. Shame on them for hurting poor moms and dads, for punishing poor children and babies, and for disgracing the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, who would disown them for this dastardly deed.
In a new Gallup poll considering the approval rating for Secretary of State John Kerry, he received sky-high favorable ratings of 60 percent and disapproval ratings of only 31 percent.
My guess is that many out there are thinking that I am sounding like a broken record (what an anachronism that is).
I have been constantly amazed at the “shoot themselves in the foot” Republican caucus. In the past we have watched as they embarrassed themselves on the Violence Against Women Act, aid to Hurricane Sandy victims, government shutdown efforts, killing the farm bill and then voting to completely gut food stamps for 48 million people.
All sentient observers can see that the body politic is ill and dysfunctional. The poison that caused its condition has many sources. One is Congress’s misuse of the filibuster practice.
The romantic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" perception of the filibuster is not how it works, though Texas legislator Wendy Davis's on-her-feet, substantive talking filibuster dramatized how the practice can win, even by losing, through highlighting issues and generating support.
Recently Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) made offensive and ludicrous comments, including his charge that radical Islamists are training future terrorists to act like American Hispanics.
These comments should be denounced and repudiated by leading Texas and national Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Cornyn, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus.
The Gohmert comments are offensive to all fair-minded and decent Americans and Texans.