Friday, October 11, 2013

Tea Bags? What A Drag.

Like many people working in the national political media, we've had a long and frustrating week. Admittedly though, this past week hasn't been anywhere near as long for us as we know it's been for the millions of Americans sitting at home, thanks to the shutdown. Thankfully, the last twenty-four hours have seen a bit of good news.

As Greg Sargent reported Thursday afternoon, Democrats are sensing that Republicans will give in and accept reality soon, even if they're not being specific about the details yet. The fact remains, until the President signs any agreement with Congress, all anyone has right now is promises, with no specifics.

Getting the specifics right means choosing both the right words and the right numbers - though if you look at the recent poll numbers, we're not sure some Republicans in Congress even care about anything other than their blind desire to repeal Obamacare. The latest poll, from the Wall Street Journal & NBC, had numbers similar to other polls this week, showing that Republicans in general - and Tea Party Republicans in particular, like Sen. Ted Cruz - are in a disastrous free fall in popularity and support, thanks to their dogmatic devotion to their insane tea party ideology.

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer is a perfect example of that kind of clueless obtuse thinking. She followed Sen. Cruz like a fool this week, signing a pledge promising that she wouldn't support funding the government unless she can defund Obamacare - a promise she simply can't deliver. Fischer's fellow Senator from Nebraska, Mike Johanns, acknowledged the pointless futility by Fischer and Cruz, and stated bluntly that it's time for the Republican Party to admit they've been beaten in the fight against the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Cruz and his tea partiers also appeared in Virginia this week, dragging down gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, at a fund raising event just weeks before the statewide election. With every new poll that comes out, Cuccinelli's extremist Republican credentials also seem to be dragging him down more, and lifting up Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.

When Ezra Klein looked at the specific numbers in that NBC/WSJ poll, the highlights - or lowlights - of the poll showed that the tea baggers have become like lead weights around the feet of virtually every Republican. Current polls all say the GOP has the worst levels of support they've ever had. Nationally, Americans blame Republicans by an ever-widening margin for creating this shutdown and for risking the full faith and credit of the United States. In contrast, both the Democratic Party and President Obama are even more popular than they were even a few months ago.

Meanwhile, leading the race to the bottom, Sen. Ted Cruz's favorability has plunged, right along with the Tea Party and the GOP.

We could simply sit here, smile, and tell you that we told you this would happen to the GOP a long time ago - because we did and it has come to pass. The fact is, though, if we could give up being right in order to get our fellow Americans back to work, right now, this instant... We'd take that deal in a heartbeat.

That Speaker Boehner and the rest of the extremist Republicans in Congress still haven't taken a deal to get Americans back to work, even after being hopelessly wrong about the Affordable Care Act, should tell you loads about them - none of it good.

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