Monday, February 4, 2013

GOP Cannibalism

You can't say we didn't warn you.

We know a few Republicans and conservatives who - even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary - continue to insist that there is no GOP 'civil war,' nor will there be any time soon.

But the political events of the past few days - both nationally and in Nebraska - indicate otherwise.

Republicans have been eating their own an awful lot lately, with the latest members on the menu including former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, and Rick Sheehy, the just-resigned Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska.

Senate Republicans' cannibalistic hunger for the blood of their former colleague was on full display during Hagel's confirmation hearing last Thursday to become the next Secretary of Defense, which was the subject of much discussion on the talking heads shows this weekend.

Republicans on the Senate committee grilled Hagel with out-of-context quotes, and attempted to bully Hagel into an oversimplification on whether the Iraq War was good or bad. Even if the Senate Republicans' reasons for attacking Hagel may have been less than honorable, it was obvious Hagel was at best unimpressive and unprepared at the hearing. Hagel's appearance may have just been an act, however, based on White House advice to not react to the all-but-certain filleting his former Republican 'friends' were sure to give him.

As we noted in the links section of our extended edition last Friday, for all the attempts to tear Hagel apart politically and cook his nominating goose, the tribal GOP war hawk attacks on Hagel don't appear to have shifted any votes.

As Roll Call's Meredith Shiner noted last week, prior to Thursday's hearing, Hagel was thought almost certain to be confirmed. After the hearing on Friday, Slate's Dave Weigel re-confirmed Shiner's assessment, noting that Hagel's nomination may already have 57 votes. That number may be even one more vote closer to 60, as Sen. Mike Johanns also has announced he'll vote to confirm Hagel because - like him or not - Hagel is qualified for the job.

Republicans in Nebraska also appear to be cannibalizing their own, which became evident in the sudden resignation of Lieutenant Gov. Rick Sheehy over the weekend.

Sheehy, the GOP's leading candidate for Nebraska's 2014 Governor's race, suddenly stepped down after an Omaha World-Herald investigation revealed Sheehy had made thousands of personal calls to four different women on his state-issued cell phone.

With rumors of infidelity going back almost two years, Sheehy's dalliances were not new information to those in the know in Nebraska's political scene or political media, including some of our staff. Sheehy's wife even filed for divorce, in July of 2012. That Sheehy's infidelity was relatively common knowledge in Nebraska political circles actually raises even more questions:  Who was in a position to know Sheehy was using state equipment for personal business? Who benefits from this information coming out now? Specifically, which Nebraska Republican benefits from there being a much more open Republican field for the 2014 Governor's race?

If you're a member of the GOP political establishment, at any level, the only advice we have for you after these and other similar events, is this: Watch your fellow Republicans very carefully. They're hungry - and apparently, desperate.

Good luck, cannibals.

No comments:

Post a Comment