Friday, February 14, 2014

Putting A Lid On It

Today may be Valentine's Day, but thanks to a slew of problems across the nation, we're certain more than a few Americans will be reaching for that bottle of ibuprofen alone at the end of today, instead of reaching for a glass of wine with their honey.

We're nearly certain that North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory will be one of those people downing some strong headache pills. After the massive coal ash spill created by Duke Energy, that we discussed here Thursday morning, a new Federal criminal investigation was announced Thursday afternoon, involving both Duke Energy and members of the governor's administration. Add that investigation to Gov. McCrory's ongoing oversight of the cleanup of the Dan River, and the massive ongoing winter storm cleanup, and you've the got makings of a killer migraine.

Anyone who would like a cheaper cable bill, or claims to support competition and a free market, is likely reaching for a bottle of little headache relievers today, in light of the potentially disastrous merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

We'd bet the group of Americans with the biggest headache today though, are establishment Republicans, who've been dealing with the headache of their extremist wing for the last several years - and who finally appear to be willing to put a lid on the Tea Party.

As Greg Sargent and Michael Tomasky both addressed on Tuesday, and as we spoke to in Wednesday's commentary, the debt ceiling deal this week - and especially Speaker Boehner's move to effectively blow off the extremist wing of his caucus - seem to have proven that establishment Republicans are finally willing to put a lid on the insanity of their Tea Party wing.

Not surprisingly, that may be why the extremist crazies like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, and nearly the entire state government of Kansas seem to be trying to kick their insanity to a whole new level.

Cruz introduced a new national anti-same-sex marriage bill this week, at the same time he undercut Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and many other Senate Republicans on the debt ceiling vote. Rep. Labrador, for his part, insisted the debt ceiling - which was a win for the nation - wasn't a win for Speaker Boehner or Republicans. Meanwhile, the Kansas House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow bigots  in business and government organizations to deny fully legal services to same-sex individuals, on the basis of the bigot's claimed religious beliefs.

The good news? As Greg Sargent, Steve Benen, and Paul Rosenberg all dissected brilliantly yesterday, on issues from immigration to the ACA, Republicans in leadership positions finally seem to be seriously worried about the far-right wing crazies like Cruz, Labrador, and others. For what seems like the first time in years, Democrats are finally standing up to Republicans - and Republican leaders aren't being allowed to hide the core contradictions between the different factions of their party anymore.

All of which might give anyone sane a headache - especially if that person were a current political leader of the Republican Party.

So while we commend the current GOP leaders for finally beginning to put a lid on their tea party fanatics, we're also thinking of those Republican Party leaders as our staff members head off for an energizing and fun-filled Valentine's Day weekend - and we're extremely glad we don't have the headaches they have to deal with.

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