But, then, maybe the Tripper might have noticed that the picture illustrating his piece on the Teabag Cult featured, you know, Dick Armey? Maybe instead of a fluffier about how "The Tea Party" was now "focusing" on "narrower issues"--a comforting thought, no doubt, to all those people along the Areola Corridor, or whatever th' fuck crypto-landmark they call themselves--we might have gotten an in-depth piece on the amazing transformation of Dick Armey from Republican House Majority Leader to wholly-unrelated Teabagging Revolutionary.
Krishna H. Vishnu, it's like Republicans have decided, this time around, to cure their alcoholism by drinking their way out of it. [Is this not, by the way, the clearest metaphorical picture of "moderate" Republicanism post-Bush? The problem is other people. All right, maybe there's a problem, what color should we repaint it? Wait, wait (baby), I admit I've got a problem, but what th' fuck am I supposed to do about it?]
The thing is a veritable buffet table of busted crockery:
Even more telling, Tea Party activists in the middle of the country are skirting the fiscal showdown in Congress and turning to narrower issues, raising questions about whether the movement still represents a citizen groundswell to which attention must be paid.
As opposed to, say, an obvious Ponzi scheme built on clinical insanity and Beltway chatter.
Hey, anybody remember when the nascent Teabag Revolution was focusing laserlike on economic issues, and excluding all that Culture War stuff?
“People in positions of responsibility within the Republican Party tolerated too much of this,” said Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. He blamed a backlash against “tinfoil hat” issues pushed by the Tea Party-dominated legislature in New Hampshire for the loss of a Republican majority in the State House last month and a near loss in the State Senate. Republican leaders “looked the other way too often,” he said. “They sort of smiled, winked and nodded too often, when they should have been calling ‘crazy, crazy.’ ”
Wait, it's not Fergus Cullen the Third? Look, Mr. Cullen, your party's mainstream positions are crazy, crazy. And crazy. They've been that way since at least 1964, which was almost a decade before you were born. Ain't many of your people in that time said anything. Ain't many people grew up in the party who've mentioned it so long as they thought it helped them win. These are not the people we turn to now to address the problem. Yourself included.
“These guys want instant success,” said [Tim] Cole, a member of the House Republican leadership. “If they want to see a better result, they’ve got to help us win the United States Senate. We’ve thrown away some seats out of political immaturity.”
That'd be the Tim Cole who's helped shepherd the House Republicans' nuanced approach to governance over the last four years.
“I think the Tea Party movement is to the Republicans in 2013 what the McGovernites were to the Democrats in 1971 and 1972,” said Don Gaetz, a Republican who is the president of the Florida Senate. “They will cost Republicans seats in Congress and in state legislatures. But they will also help Republicans win seats.”
Oh, Jeez Louise, it turns out Don Gaetz (b. 1948) is fucking old enough to know better. This must be the same sort of historical process which resulted in Carl Perkins doing Elvis' opening for "Blue Suede Shoes" thinking it was his own. Democrats tossed the McGovernites before New Years 1973, Don. And they were a faction. Teabaggers are just Republicans with Tourette's.
FreedomWorks spent nearly $40 million on the 2012 elections but backed a string of losing Senate candidates, including Richard E. Mourdock of Indiana, Josh Mandel of Ohio and Connie Mack of Florida. Some Tea Party firebrands lost their House seats, including Allen B. West of Florida and Joe Walsh of Illinois.
One notable success for the Tea Party was the Senate victory by Ted Cruz of Texas.Notable? Texas replaced Kay Bailey Hutchison with an Hispanic nutter. They lost seats they could have won. The Republican party is facing Purity Tests across the country. It's not that it isn't ready to mount a defense. It's that it doesn't have a defense. You're being out-Republicaned by Republicans now, and not just select Democrats.
• Then let's compromise and do it my way. I like Norm Ornstein; I've liked him since the days when Gene Pulliam's Star printed him on "their" side of the opinion columns, alongside Mona Charen and Bob Novak. But, really, when I saw "John Huntsman for Speaker" in someone else's headline, then read the piece and saw Mitch Fucking Daniels as Second Choice, I had to ask if there is any reason whatsoever to believe there's any sanity left on the right?
I know, I know. Ornstein's supposedly suggesting people who could win an election in the House, and maybe he's right. But it's a fantasy piece to begin with. Do we have to turn it into science fiction? Huntsman is wingnutty and soft-spoken; Daniels is utterly amoral and for sale, except Purdue already met his asking price. The Republican party does not want to compromise. Period. Spare me the When Gipper Met Tip bullshit; this is the GOP the GOP always wanted, the one you Money Boys thought was great for votes but would never be called upon to govern. Now you're gonna be living with that for a generation, at least. Which is the real panic over "the changing American demographic".
And spare me, by the way, the idea of Mitch Daniels as a "fiscal conservative". He bought himself two terms as governor; his (state) party is about to find out just how far it can get fudging numbers.
• Exhibit A. Or H. I've lost track. Daniels took one last victory lap in that fucking RV of his, and nobody cared; absent a political cudgel he's just another guy with a big war chest he's mostly keeping for himself, like Democrat Evan Bayh. Meanwhile, "Deacon Mike" Pence may be hard-pressed to get his 10% tax cut approved, even with a veto-proof Republican General Assembly; the game has changed since the legislature went gaga for Mitch in 2005. It's gonna be very interesting watching The Choirboy at work next year. First, he knows now that he could'a been Senator Pence, a much better fit for him than Governor, where there's going to be a track record, even if it is the Star keeping track. (In case you don't remember, Daniels booted his eight-year partner, Lt. Governor Becky "GED" Skillman, so Pence could run for governor without having to run her over. It was widely speculated at the time that this was done in order to clear the way for The Bantam Menace to succeed 182-year-old Richard "Dick" Lugar. That, of course, was before Richard "How Many Dicks Are There In The Republican Party?" Mourdock ate Lugar's lunch; now it's a matter of running against Joe Donnelly, in six years, having to spend money to do so, and having your career end if you try and fail.
Daniels already passed out all the plums and sold all the street signs. The state budget has cut into the bone, and pretty soon Hoosiers are going to notice there've been a few amputations while they weren't paying attention. Pence isn't gonna have the pull with the Money Boys that Daniels did, and that's before the legislature starts handing him bills defining marriage, life, and pi. He's already got Republicans in the legislature asking questions about the flim-flammy Indiana Economic Development Corporation. And who knows how long they can keep shuffling papers to make the Daniels Deficit disappear? Sooner or later every shell game operator has to skedaddle.