Monday, October 14, 2013


More on the impending Republican civil war.

First off, the shutdown is causing the all-white Republican coalition to go to war: the richer Tea Party ideologues are not just up against the businessmen, but also against the parts of the coalition that depend on government subsidies or government jobs. Basically, the entire rest of the Republican Party is going to war against the Tea Party. The question then becomes how much of a Republican Party there is left that isn't Tea.

I've long supported an endgame where the inevitable GOP civil war ends up with the Teas exiled to form their own party. Sarah Palin's talked to this effect, of leaving the GOP and forming a "Freedom Party." Apparently Salon agrees.

Here's why I want this to happen: the Republican Party is not extremist by definition. Under Dubya they were criminally inept, but they were not bomb-throwing extremists. And in the days of Dubya's father, they were still fairly moderate - moderate enough that Mr. "Read My Lips" could find enough Republican votes to raise taxes anyway.

The return of this slightly more-centrist GOP can only really happen if the Teas take a hike. And until this happens, the majority of this country is going to be reduced to a one-party state of some sort or another. And as much as I've shilled for the Democrats, there is a danger in needing them to prevail in order for the country to not collapse economically. The country needs the ability for the Democrats to safely lose an election, because no party remains above corruption if it's in power long enough. And a centrist, business-oriented Republican Party should be competitive across the country.

The Teas will fight the Republicans for control of the South, the Dems will fight the Republicans for control of the Northeast, Rust Belt and West Coast, and the West will be a tossup between all three. No party will be able to establish complete control anywhere, and the whole concept of a "safe seat" will become a bit more nebulous. The Tea Party will remain, and remain crazy, but controlling only about a third of Congress (if that) they'll be unable to set the agenda, as the Republicans won't have any intraparty reasons to let them anymore.

This is the only real way to break the impasse. The Teas need their own party. That's it.


  1. Yeah, things have gotten pretty bad when the GOP now is *worse* than it was under the last Bush.

    I got disgusted with the GOP in the 90s because, as much as I disliked Clinton, the impeachment and constant looking for scandal against him, just looked like they wanted to impeach him from the very beginning because he wasn't their guy. Now that we have another Democratic president, they're doing it again, manufacturing scandals to get him impeached. But...I still preferred Republican ways of doing things, so I kept voting for them.

    Under Bush, it was like he could do whatever he wanted and they all went lockstep behind him. That's when I really got disillusioned with the GOP and started voting for the other guy.

    And yet...this is even worse. And all because of a party which, at the beginning, just looked like a small group of wackos which sucked in a couple of people I knew, but couldn't possibly be taken seriously, not with all those conspiracy theories and wanting to dismantle *everything,* even the fire department.

    But yes, we need two parties to keep each other in check, not a party getting so extreme that the other takes over. The Democrats have their extremists, too. The forces of good and evil must remain in balance. ;)

    The Tea Party was ONCE its own party. I overheard a certain person, on the phone with a Tea Party friend, refer to the "Republican ick." (His wife, a Republican herself, who had worked for a local Republican congressman for a time, called out, "The 'Republican ick' paid for your printer, and this, that and that.") I recall my other Tea Party friend complaining to me about the party joining the Republicans, and that he didn't like that, that the Tea Party was supposed to be independent.

    It was done to make the Tea Party more focused and influential, but the country would be better off it had not been done.

  2. The Tea Party never organized itself as a rival non-Republican force, but mostly as a pressure group on the Republicans. I remember, to keep up the pretense of being nonpartisan, they once ended up endorsing a lone Blue Dog Democrat from a ruby-red district, but he rebuffed their endorsement.

    They so desperately need to become a third party, though. They would become the most influential third party in the country, and they would probably decline over the course of several decades and eventually merge with the Republicans in like 50-100 years, but right now they're too strong and too different from the rest of the GOP to really allow the GOP to represent both the Teas and the moderates effectively.