Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GOP, Still Going Down

For all the screaming and hoopla going on this month over the federal healthcare website, the fact remains that the website is improving. That doesn't mean it's perfect yet, as the downtime the system experienced last Sunday proved once again. The numbers of Americans finding insurance plans for themselves using the system has continued to increase though. Further, when Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testifies before Congress Wednesday, members of Congress will have a chance to discover why the rollout fell so short of public expectations.

There's actually a far more important mechanism falling short of public expectation or even legitimate function right now - namely the current Republican Party. Thankfully, we already know why that machinery of government isn't working: The Tea Party wing of the GOP, that's dragging the party down rapidly.

As John Judis of The New Republic wrote on Monday, and as all but the most delusional right-wing fanatics have already admitted, the Tea Party is going down. Whether they last until the 2016 election is anyone's guess, but as Judis notes, after the teapeople brought the government to a dead stop and nearly blew up the world's economy earlier this month GOP leaders aren't likely to let them do the same thing again this winter.

That hasn't stopped the teabaggers - and those who continue to pander to them - from bringing out the crazy. Sen. Lindsay Graham, a master of the political pander, dragged out one of the extremist's most tattered ideological toys when he promised to block all Senate nominations over more investigation into Benghazi. Conveniently, as Kevin Drum pointed out on Monday, 60 Minutes already did that for Sen Graham last weekend, and as any sane person would expect, found absolutely nothing new.

Still, if the Congressional Republicans want to accomplish anything they can use to campaign on next year, the next nineteen legislative days are the time to do it.

Greg Sargent pointed out the perfect opportunity yesterday, bolstered by the GOP's own 2012 post-election "autopsy", when he noted one of those opportunities for Republicans is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring up for a vote.

Another opportunity, which many are pessimistic about, is the looming immigration reform bill, another key component of that 2012 Republican "autopsy." Frankly, as Fernando Espuelas repeated on Monday, immigration reform is a ticking time bomb for the GOP - one that most teapeople would rather see explode than be defused.

The last hope for the Republican Party may actually be a budget deal - which, as Jonathan Berstein notes, like many opportunities before, is available for the Republican Party to take advantage of, if only they'd untie themselves from the fanatical extremists in their Tea Party wing.

CNN's poll last week should have been a wake up call to Republicans. 75% of Americans, including members of all political designations, think Republicans in Congress don't deserve to be re-elected. Americans right now believe most Republicans should be let go like the dead weight they are.

The opportunities for them to succeed are there.

They simply have to make a decision: Does the GOP still want to be a legitimate national political party? Or are they tied too tightly to the tea-stained stone that's dragging them to their political doom?

As their choice appears right now, most Republicans are still going down, laughing like fools all they way.

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