The Day The Republicans Jumped The Shark

The week ended very badly for the Republicans, hopefully showing those who do not realize it yet that the Republican Party is now run by extremists who are incapable of fulfilling the responsibilities of those elected to positions of power. Two extreme elements of the Republican Party were on display this week. We say the influence of the Tea Party (i.e. unthinking pawns of the ultra-wealthy) as John Boehner could not pass a plan which would preserve tax cuts for all except those making over one million dollars per year. The Republican insanity regarding guns was highlighted by the NRA’s proposal to put armed guards in schools, apparently ignorant of the fact that there had been an armed guard at Columbine. There is now the possibility that a conservative effort to unseat Boehner might work.

The disarray in the Republican Party, besides interfering with plans for economic recovery, is an especially unsatisfactory situation for serious conservatives. Andrew Sullivan, who has long been unhappy with the insanity of the Republican Party, says Enough!

Between the humiliating and chaotic collapse of Speaker Boehner’s already ludicrously extreme Plan B and Wayne La Pierre’s deranged proposal to put government agents in schools with guns, the Republican slide into total epistemic closure and political marginalization has now become a free-fall. This party, not to mince words, is unfit for government. There is no conservative party in the West – except for minor anti-immigrant neo-fascist ones in Europe – anywhere close to this level of far right extremism. And now the damage these fanatics can do is not just to their own country – was the debt ceiling debacle of 2011 not enough for them? – but to the entire world.

Those of us who have warned for years about this disturbing trend toward ever more extreme measures – backing torture, pre-emptive un-budgeted wars, out-of-control spending followed, like a frantic mood swing, by anti-spending absolutism of the most insane variety in a steep recession, vicious hostility to illegal immigrants, contempt for gay couples, hostility even to contraception, let alone a middle ground on abortion … well, you know it all by now.

But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren’t. They’re ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama’s compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year…

Enough. This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House – Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.