Honest Abe Lincoln must be rolling his eyes in heaven watching Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Republican politicians: Let OSHA do its job O'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report MORE call each other chronic liars, bad Christians and dirty politicians unfit for office in the latest example of aggressive fratricide that defines the modern GOP.
From the Republican Congress to the presidential campaign, the intraparty carnage within the GOP is so extreme it resembles the plot of “I, Claudius,” in which various contestants to be emperor of Rome removed one another through back-stabbing, scheming and an occasional dose of poison.
The Speakership of Newt Gingrich ended in 1999 when his Republican colleagues forced him out. His heir apparent, Bob Livingston, withdrew his candidacy for Speaker after a scandal that inhibited his ability to impeach Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonVirginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE, who ultimately finished his highly successful presidency while Livingston vacated his seat in the House. After Livingston, House Republicans turned to Dennis Hastert, whose career in the House then ended when Democrats regained control of the chamber in the 2006 elections and he resigned his seat. His lobbying life ended when he copped a plea to a crime.
More recently, Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorBottom line Virginia GOP candidates for governor gear up for convention Cantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' MORE, who served as House majority leader, was defeated in his 2014 primary by economist Dave Brat and immediately resigned his seat in the House. John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE was hounded from the Speakership by right-wing House Republicans, whereupon he abruptly resigned. BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE’s heir apparent as Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, ended his candidacy unexpectedly after he bragged that the partisan persecution of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE was a major achievement of the GOP House.
Following this cacophony of chaos and fratricide engulfing GOP leaders in Congress, the battle for the Republican presidential nomination features a bully, who gave a sick impersonation of a disabled person and has a history of calling various women fat slobs and bimbos, battling against one of the most despised senators in Republican history, who launches attacks against his own party’s leaders and whose only claim to legislative fame was causing a government shutdown.
Compared to the fratricidal fanaticism the GOP offers the nation, Clinton looks like Mother Theresa and Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war Congress must address the looming debt crisis MORE looks like Franklin Roosevelt.
In the never-ending GOP fratricide, liberal Republicans have been chased out of their party. Moderate Republicans have become persona non grata. Even some center-right Republicans are derided as Republicans in name only.
The GOP establishment may soon be force-fed a presidential nominee who in the past made big campaign donations to support Democratic leaders Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE and Nancy Pelosi and spent 20 of the last 24 years heaping extravagant praise upon Bill and Hillary Clinton because, he claims, as a businessman he had to dish dollars to peddle influence in Washington.
The Trump brand of GOP mega-fratricide involves what he calls his politics as war against both the Republican establishment and the conservative movement, a truth well told in the National Review about a candidate who now offers high praise to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin while blaming the last Republican president for the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
In another example of the fratricide that could destroy Republicans in 2016, my colleague Dick Morris, agreeing with certain other conservatives, wrote yesterday on this page that the GOP cannot nominate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Milley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE, its most electable candidate!
Republicans are now poised to force what Democrats will call a government shutdown of the Supreme Court. GOP fratricide has become so ugly that Republicans virtually need a food tester when they dine together. Many GOP candidates in close races may soon be forced to decide whether to defend or disown a nominee they privately consider neither a true Republican nor a legitimate conservative but an impulsive, bitterly divisive and dangerous bully who could trigger World War III if given the power.
Democrats should run a Harry Truman-like campaign against a fratricidal Republican Party whose partisans often despise one another as much as they despise Democrats, making it a party of division and dysfunction that cannot unite our people or govern our nation.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sens. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors blog and reached at -firstname.lastname@example.org.