In the Arena

Whither the Repubs?

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Lamar Alexander. Saxby Chambliss. Lindsey Graham. What do they have in common? Well, they’re all members of the Republican Senate sanity caucus (except for Graham’s occasional flights of neocon fantasy).  And each may be facing a crazy-nut rightwing challenge in 2014.

The latest polling from Georgia show Herman Cain–yes, the comprehensively uniformed former presidential candidate–leading Chambliss, an estimable member of the Gang of Six who has favored increased revenues as part of a balanced deal, by a significant margin in a Republican primary. Graham and Alexander may be facing Tea Party challenges as well.

All of which to say that the path of Republican reform that seems so obvious in Washington–toward a more sensible centrist conservatism–may not be so obvious on the ground. The fact is, not only these high profile Senators, but any Republican member of Congress who votes for revenue increases of any sort, may be looking at a Tea Party primary…and given the ardor of the Teasies, that is a daunting prospect. We may have to suffer through another cycle or two of the lunatics running the asylum, which may be good for the Democratic majority in the short run, but bad for the country.

79 comments
CharlesThielman
CharlesThielman

There I was, downing java with bagel-bits and gazing out the huge windows of ourbeautiful library’s café, when a troupe of six young Americans, clad in boxcargrime, backpacks, tattoos and tattered denim, traipsed by with their two mangymutts en route to our transit center social club. Are they, I wondered, justanother group of sales reps from one of the boxcar-riding gangs, here to sampleour hospitality? Or, are they on the run from a situation and looking for asafe place? Were they needing food and shelter?  Given that I was mid-bagel, I did not leap upto seek answers—most likely, they’d hear of the St. Vincent DePaul ServiceStation, its free food, day shelter and showers, miles away. I hoped they’d hearof White Bird’s and Occupy’s medical services locations; organization volunteersare working double-time this season. And this troupe wasn’t unique, I’ve seenseveral downtown; however, their forlorn appearance underlined the headlines onmy table. Life is not getting easier for many Americans, many are becominghomeless, or, are edging closer to that cliff. It is hard to find a job, find jobtraining programs, find much needed services, services that help people get agrip on their bootstraps, mainly because of funding cuts imposed by the politicianswho represent the pre-occupied wealthy, those who worry they may have to paythe same tax rate as most working Americans. In these times. Forgo that newiPhone, donate that money, become a jolly volunteer!

grape_crush
grape_crush

> Herman Cain–yes, the comprehensively uniformed former presidential candidate

Oddly enough, I see Cain in one of those Sargent Pepper-style jackets and maybe a tricorn hat with a feather stuck in it.

> We may have to suffer through another cycle or two of the lunatics running the asylum, which may be good for the Democratic majority in the short run, but bad for the country.

Again, I am reminded of that Shelly (Mary) quote from Frankenstein Shepherdwong posted in a previous thread.

MrObvious
MrObvious

It's a pity it has taken Media 4 years to start calling GOP what they really are. But it's not like they've been crazy for 4 years only - this really started with the Evangelical wing of the GOP back in the days when voters finally got tired and punished them in 2006. But back then Media still didn't feel like calling the crazy for what it is.

I guess some of you had a vitamin shot of courage in finally telling team nuttia to get off stoopid. Try not to wait until after an election next time when you know you're 'safe'.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

The party of crazies are now cannibalizing one another to see who can be more of a neo-con extremist.  This begs the question: will anyone miss them as they march into obscurity?

reallife
reallife

"the path of Republican reform that seems so obvious in Washington"    hahahaha can you be a more pompous asS?                                    oh please DC intelligentsia enlighten the rest of us ignorant paesants outside Washington.

 oh wait! "DC intelligentsia"? isn't that an oxymoron? 

I see another "shellacking" in your future...

fitty_three
fitty_three

I love how the Veil of False Equivalency falls away to reveal...

reflectionephemeral
reflectionephemeral

Impartial strategery would seem to compel the GOP to engage in some kind of glasnost. But “the Iron Law of Institutions holds that the people who hold power in institutions are guided principally by preserving power within the institution, rather than the success of the institution itself.” So, extremism can be bad for America, even bad for the GOP’s popularity, but gaining power within the party.

There are no GOP actors with the political sway, or perhaps even the inclination, to return to rational discourse on public policy.

John Boehner (and Eric Cantor under him, and Kevin McCarthy under him) has every incentive to attack moderate proposals from the president (or their own leadership) as not merely unwise but tyrannical. They all need to fear more-extreme GOP colleagues or primary challengers like Mourdock or O'Connell. 

There is no constituency, no institutional support, and no incentives for any Republican official to behave rationally. Mitch McConnell, not Everett Dirksen (and Roger Ailes & Rush Limbaugh, not William F. Buckley), will continue to set the tone & strategy for the GOP.

tkulaga
tkulaga

I hope someone surfaces and gives Lindsay Graham a hard fight for his seat. All he wants to do is be a war monger and me and my friends are tired of war and the cost of war to future generations. He consistently supports saving the rich and business people and anything to do with military spending but does little in support of the so-called 47% of us. I prefer to call the 47% 99%.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

I wonder if, in some colonial way, this is how the beginning-of-the-end for the Whig party looked.  I think that it is going to be a fascinating midterm election in 2014.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

I see this happening exactly as was written about (yesterday?) where each side postures until we get to 1/1/13, at which point the Bush tax breaks expire...then miraculously a bill is signed that gives the <$250K folks the whole tax break, and the >$250K get some of it.  At the end of the day, the Republicans must know that they have to give-up on their untenable position about the wealthy, but this way, they get to save what little face they have left.  Unless there's a glitch and the economy takes a hit because of the sequestration...then it's open season on the intransigent GOP.

DrinkerOfTheRye
DrinkerOfTheRye

Joe, face it man. It's not surprising that 48% of the country got bitter, they cling to their Repubs as a way to explain their frustrations. Probably a result of their red state public education and red neck parents. They will never contribute to the 21st century with their 20th century ideas. We have to leave them behind to go FORWARD.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

"We may have to suffer through another cycle or two of the lunatics running the asylum, which may be good for the Democratic majority in the short run, but bad for the country."

Joe, Joe, Joe...please spell if out for us. What *exactly* discomfits you about the upcoming 20-year long Democratic majority? Really?

A peace dividend? Balanced Budgets? Health Care Reform? Investment in infrastructure, education and the arts? Immigration reform, increased support of women's rights to contraception and choice? Gay marriage? 

A: "Whither the Repubs?" 

Q: Thither. Clutching Pearls next to you, David Brooks and the other centrists...

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@grape_crush Grape! It's good to see you again, Buddy? Why so scarce? (Was the post-election bender *really* that epic?)

jmac
jmac

@MrObvious The Media still hasn't gotten the picture if they put Lindsey Graham on the sane list.  He's no better than McCain or Romney now that he's antsy about his next election.  It's not just war-mongering any more - he's Tea Party insane.  

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@MrObvious 

Technically they started their descent into madness in the 90's with the advent of neo-conservatism, through men like Rush Limbaugh, the foundation of Fox News, and the Pledge to America.

bobell
bobell

I don't think they'll go easily, and they're capable of inflicting a lot of damage along the way.  All, they'll say, in the best interest of the country.

notsacredh
notsacredh

bobell, it is.

.

OT, but we're going Christmas shopping again today. I have my shopping finished. Why am I going? I'm the driver. I'm the package holder. I'm there to say "Yes, I'm sure they'd love that". Mostly I'm there to keep my better half from going nuts. The last time we hit the stores (last week) my wife was having trouble deciding what to get her cousin for Christmas. We like her husband but can't stand her. My suggestion? "Get the bitch some dog bisquits". It's my job to keep her smiling.

bobell
bobell

Is that a quotation from Mr. Bill?

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

@sacredh   From the minds at Forbes, direct confirmation that Republicans have absolutely no concept of acting for the greater good.  I think that the bigger issue, which is ignored by Forbes, is that it's the states which place more emphasis on the quality of public education that are pushing for the President's plan over that of the GOP.  I won't say that the blue-states are smarter, but if you listen to the debate you definitely get the idea that the blue-reps are thinking with their big-head, and the red-reps are thinking with their little one (with appologies to conservative women...I'm not sure what they are thinking with).

Sue_N
Sue_N

@HudsonValleyTim I've heard several times that the GOPers will gladly wait until after Jan. 1, because at that point, though rates on the >$250K folks will go up, they didn't actually vote to raise them, so their pledge to ol' Grover is intact, and they can then cut rates for the <$250K folks, which will be an actual tax cut and, again, keeps them loyal to Grover.

It's political cowardice at its finest.

notsacredh
notsacredh

There is no cure and even if there was, they don't want it. They seem intent on tearing down what's already in place but they don't have a clue about what's going to replace it. Tax cuts are their heroin now and they're junkies.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@DrinkerOfTheRye The trouble is, they won't go quietly. A wounded animal in its death throes can still wreak a lot of carnage.

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@kbanginmotown "Another cycle or two?" Unfortunately, I don't think Mr. Klein is right about that. I live in the South, and there is no breaching the wall of stupid built here. Most states of the old Confederacy have supermajorities of batsh*t crazy Republicans in power. In Mississippi, they're trying to shut down the last abortion clinic -- which is, of course, the last place for many poor Mississippi women (and there are a LOT of poor Mississippi women) to get ANY kind of health care. In Tennessee, the chief concern is legalizing guns in all workplaces. These are the issues Southern GOPers think are the most important things to worry about, as opposed to jobs, education and health care. Despite the fact that the states of the old Confederacy fill out the bottom slots in all "worst of" lists.

At least there's hope in Texas and Florida, where non-redneck, non-Evangelical populations are growing. But in places like Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina, we're looking at generations of people crippled by the Republican policies of today, which keep them poor, unhealthy and uneducated. I see no possibility of change in my lifetime.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

@kbanginmotown I don't speak for Joe, I but I think we need (at least) 2 viable parties in order to check excess and provide a real alternative. Whenever any one group stays in power indefinitely, it tends to become detached, corrupt, and lazy. Now, that may not happen overnight, but without a real alternative, there's no incentive for the Ds to behave, either. It's the equivalent of a political monopoly. I couldn't care less if the entire R party defected to Somalia en masse, but then we would need someone to replace them. 

TyPollard
TyPollard

@kbanginmotown 

It's not like Democrats agree on everything. In fact Democratic party encompass the 1980's conservatives (Bob Dole would of fit here) and progressive Liberals.

grape_crush
grape_crush

Oh, I've been posting here and there, it's just that life events have reduced the amount of time I have available.

That, and there's no MMRs anymore...and a lot of the post-election content here has been underwhelming while the regular Swampers have apparently been on vacation.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@DonQuixotic @MrObvious In 1980, the Republicans put a not very bright, second-banana actor and soap salesman into the White House on a platform of trickle-down economics and (neo-neocon) anti-communism. That's when the Republican Party was taken over by the "conservative" movement and began it's long decent into the know-nothing, anti-government, naked tool of the oligarchy you see today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XObcP69dhCg

notsacredh
notsacredh

bobell, I gave my wife most of the money I won on election bets to add to the Christmas shopping money. I was happy just to win the bets. Obama getting re-elected was what I really wanted for Christmas. I tag along right with my wife. If I wasn't there to to talk her into buying things she'd never buy anything. I'm also there to make sure that my wife buys me things I want. 3D movies are 1st, 2nd and 3rd on my list this year. I don't any any clothes, tools I already have or anything I can't use.

bobell
bobell

I perform similiar functions, sacred.  I take along a good book, or my Kindle. There's almost always a chair hidden somewhere near where Mrs. bobell is doing her shopping.  I sit and read while she inflicts damage on our finances. This works even better outside the Christmas season, when the crowds are smaller and it's easier to snag a chair. I've even been known to take a nap if the chair is comfortable and the wait is long.

Of course, there are days when War and Peace is barely adequate to the task. Still, it beats divorce.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

...and no methadone to clear the system.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@Ohiolib @kbanginmotown :) "at least"

If the GOP were to become something of a permanent minority party, I don't think it would take long for the Dems to splinter into factions as well. Conceivably we could have Greens, Progressives, Liberals, Centrists, Libertarians....

Granted, this is not very likely, but a new political equilibrium would appear in some fashion.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@Ohiolib @kbanginmotown I've been saying this for some time. Our system of government requires two sane, rational, functioning political parties. No matter which party is in power, we need a "loyal opposition" to hold its counterpart in check and to maintain some accountability.

Unfortunately, we're short one sane party at the moment, and that only hurts the country.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@grape_crush I'm with you on life events, it's been tough to carve out time. Especially when the content is, as you said,  underwhelming.

On a Wolverine note, I'm floored that Snyder is lining up to sign the "Right to Work" bill coming out of the legislature. He's had a lot of successes in his first term. I wonder if this might keep him from a second...

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@reallife "who would've thunk it! suckers are still being born every minute!"

 We call them the Republican base.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@reallife 

Sure, insanely rich and powerful people would NEVER abuse their influence and use political puppets to ensure more riches and power.

reallife
reallife

"naked tool of the oligarchy"    hahahahha   haven't heard language like that since President Kardashian's pal Che Guevara was alive -  what's the matter? is the proletariat being oppressed by the bourgeoisie again?   hahahaha  ahh  Marx is still alive!  who would've thunk it! suckers are still being born every minute!  AMAZING!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@MrObvious @shepherdwong @DonQuixotic 

Or when he cut-and-ran from Lebanon.  Or when he funded and sold arms to terrorists.  Or when he bumbled his way through the collapse of the Soviet Union through their own over-spending and somehow got credit for it.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@MrObvious @DonQuixotic When I arrive in hell, I still get to watch Reagan witness what has resulted from the trajectory he set his political party and the country on. He wasn't stupid and shameless enough to not be appalled and ashamed.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@shepherdwong @DonQuixotic @MrObvious 

Media love to show GOPers fawning over who's the most Reaganlike among them, except for the part where Reagan talked about how SS didn't have anything to do with the general budget or deficit or where he argued for higher taxes on capital gains as common sense.

Which brings us back to the whole crazy part.