There are conflicting opinions about who won what in the “fiscal cliff” deal. But there is no doubt that the Republican Civil War is on full display. Witness a testy John Boehner who told Harry Reid to “Go f*#k yourself” twice last Friday.
Eric Cantor said as much to Boehner by voting against the bill – the latest reminder that he stands ready to lead mutinous tea partiers when they’ve sniffed enough of the Speaker’s blood. The President says there will be no compromise on the debt limit, but Cantor wants concessions. Can Boehner last another round in between?
Then, after adjournment, Boehner sustained one of the most vicious intraparty one-two punches in memory. New York Congressman Peter King and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were upset (with good reason) that the Sandy supplemental aid bill was not even put before the House.
King said it was “a betrayal of trust” and that the party had “turned its back on the people.” He vowed that New York would no longer be a piggy bank for GOP candidates.
Christie named names: “There’s only one group to blame … the House majority, and their Speaker, John Boehner.”
The Speaker quickly scheduled a vote for Friday, which then enraged a plethora of right-wing groups such as Americans for Prosperity who want the cash drawer locked.
King went beyond advocating help for his district and addressed the underlying GOP conundrum. This is another reason, he said, why the party cannot compete in the Northeast.
He’s correct. And nothing is going to change.
To hardcore righties who already blame “moderates” McCain and Romney for eight years of Obama, King and Christie can go f*#k themselves. Their brand of Ideology bears no fruit of practical politics.
In the Midwest, Republicans have placed their competitive chips on union busting. But that has backfired. It will turn the region even bluer. Reagan Democrats, many of them union members, are far less likely to be bought off these days by “gays” and “abortion.”
In the West, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada have already joined “the left coast,” and the Hispanic vote will soon add more territory to the Democratic column.
Which is to say there is no way out for Republicans, except to leave the old, white, evangelical South behind. But without a toehold in any other region, that would be suicide.
Lyndon Johnson made the calculation that he could lose the South and keep enough of the New Deal coalition intact to keep Democrats competitive. Listen to his phone calls with party leaders concerning the Mississippi delegate controversy at the 1964 convention, and you’ll hear his political genius.
LBJ has no realpolitik peer in today’s Republican Party. Theirs is a roster of petulant lightweights.
It’s enough to make a Speaker cuss. Or cry.