Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Family Feud

(Editorial cartoon by Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (May 29, 2013) and published at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then return.)

As I've noted several times in the past months, the Republican Party is fractured, and the party just can't seem to overcome the split enough to shift the balance in the Senate. The Tea Party is still calling the obstructionist tunes, and the rest of the nation is getting turned off by their behavior.  Doyle McManus noticed the same problem and came up with some numbers that show how damaging that split has been and potentially may continue to be.

The Republican National Committee issued a scathing report warning that the party was in "an ideological cul-de-sac" and resolved to act friendlier toward women, minorities and low-income voters. Strategist Karl Rove said the lesson was to nominate more moderate candidates and set about raising money to do just that.

But tea party and other conservative leaders, undaunted, drew the opposite conclusion.

"It was not conservatives" who lost those Senate races, 19 of them wrote in a joint attack against Rove's efforts. "Not one moderate challenger won." The solution, they argued, was to swing further right, not toward the center. ...

The approach of congressional primary elections makes the tea party a major force too. The groups have a track record of turning out in force for low-participation primaries, and adherents are an essential source for donations and volunteers in Republican campaigns.

"Tea party supporters are responsible for almost all of the total campaign activity performed by party supporters on the Republican side," a team of political scientists led by Ronald B. Rapoport of the College of William & Mary reported in a recent study. "Tea party supporters are not just a faction within the Republican Party; they are a majority faction."

The problem, of course, is that this majority faction inside the party holds views often at odds not only with a majority of all voters but with the rest of the GOP.

According to polling that Rapoport and his colleagues oversaw, 63% of tea party Republicans want to limit immigration; only 48% of non-tea party Republicans agree. Among tea party adherents, 76% want to abolish the U.S. Department of Education; only 10% of non-tea party Republicans agree.

Most strikingly, when asked whether it was more important to cut the deficit or create jobs, 63% of tea party supporters opted to cut the deficit first. Among non-tea party Republicans, the priority was reversed, with 53% putting jobs first.
   [Emphasis added]

Is all of this good for the country?  Not really, not if it means the 114th Congress will be as gridlocked as the 112th and 113th Congresses were.  The nation's business will remain undone as long as the Tea Party controls the House the way it currently does.

And it certainly does not mean happiness-ever-after for the Democratic Party because it will be smeared with the same brush unless it contests each and every election in which a Tea Party member is the Republican candidate.  Yes, Michele Bachmann won't be back, but it's possible her replacement will be another Tea Party wackaloon.  It's time to re-institute Howard Dean's "50 State" strategy and put up reasonable and well-funded candidates to run against the Tea Partiers.

Now, if progressives would only pay attention.

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