Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Something To Really Fear

As our staff members have continued to read the horror stories about the debt ceiling and the disasters of the ongoing shutdown, we keep finding ourselves repeatedly & unpleasantly surprised. Several topics kept resurfacing in our discussions, including how such a sizable number of Republicans in Congress remain so clueless about the negative effects their obstruction is causing.

When mixed with the season, the term 'nightmare' also kept coming back up in our discussions, along with inevitable comparison to monsters in the closet, and even the old purple-horned snorkelwhacker from the comic strip 'Bloom County.'

For all the whip counting and posturing going on in DC right now, what's really driving the entire process on Capitol Hill isn't anything complex, though. It's simply the outsized fear by Republican Congressmembers of being attacked by the tea party wing of the GOP - specifically, about getting a primary challenge from a privately funded extremist tea party candidate.

Think of it as your local cowardly Republican Congressmember's personal anxiety closet.

What any brave adult knows is that the key to defeating any nightmare is to stand up and face it, as both President Obama and Congressional Democrats are calling for their Republican counterparts in Congress to do right now.

Frankly, after looking at the polls Monday, or at the drop in the Dow & S&P since the shutdown began, you might think Congressional Republicans have far more to fear from their constituents than they do from the deep pockets of wealthy right-wingers like the Koch family, or Art Pope in North Carolina. Indeed, some Tea Party Republican congressmembers are already catching political backlash from their constituents at home for being too extreme.

The problem for the GOP really boils down to something far more simple than what most pundits have made it out to be.

If a Republican member of Congress ends up cowering under the covers every time a Tea Party bogieman with a wad of cash jumps up and down, then the question isn't whether or not they're going to get chased out someday by the Tea Party monsters. It's only a matter of when that will happen.

Further, it's not like those Tea Partiers are truly their own masters. If you don't think that Sen. Ted Cruz will change his tune when his financial masters yank his money chain, then you haven't noticed the silence coming from politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio over the past few months.

If Republican pragmatists truly want to stop their nightmares, they need to stand up both for the people who they nominally represent - their constituents - as well as for themselves.

Like we said, the key to defeating any nightmare is to look it square in the face and stand up to it.