Dissent growing within
GOP as public anger mounts
Rachel Maddow explained the widening GOP rift on her show on Tuesday. Click image to enlarge.
AS THE GOVERNMENT shutdown drags into its third day today, there might just be some good news in all the devastation.
Signs are emerging in a number of quarters that the radical fringe group of Republicans in the House of Representatives that deliberately caused all the unnecessary suffering is itself beginning to feel the heat.
It has been a long time since the GOP was in such disarray.
House Speaker John Boehner was too afraid to bring a continuing budget resolution to a vote – because he feared enough Republicans would join the Democrats to pass a clean bill.
Now, more moderate Republicans are increasingly breaking ranks – and the “Eleventh Commandment:” Thou shalt not attack a fellow Republican.
THE EVIDENCE was laid out in stark terms on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Tuesday evening.
Naming names and showing their pictures, Ms. Maddow explained it in the clearest of terms.
The web site of The Rachel Maddow Show. Click image to enlarge.
“[There] are the 80 Republican members of the House who wrote to House Speaker John Boehner just over a month ago demanding that [he] shut down the federal government,” she said, “demanding specifically he make the funding of the federal government contingent on dismantling health care reform.
“[O]f the 80 who signed the letter, 78 are white, 76 are white men. President Obama won the last election by millions of votes but not in these guys’ districts. In these guys’ districts, President Obama lost by an average of 23 points.”
The reason, Maddow explained, is clear.
“Republicans in the states have gerrymandered these districts so that they are essentially pure Republican.
“[They] have had to create districts for themselves that are less and less diverse over time, even as the rest of the country gets more diverse.”
What this amounts to is that about a third of all GOP House members represent – and owe their allegiance to – a tiny fraction of the electorate that is totally unrepresentative of the country as a whole.
There is no reason for any of them to consider the national interest. All they care about is their constituent’s narrow self-interest, and that as antithetical to the country’s best interests.
These people want a dysfunctional government, and it is clear they will go to any lengths to get it.
MADDOW’S SHOW was followed on Wednesday by a similarly themed – but significantly different – article in The New York Times.
In Staunch Group of Republicans Outflanks House Leaders Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker address the same topic from a different angle.
The New York Times story on Wednesday about the splinter group of the GOP now in control of the House. Click image to enlarge.
“For nearly three years, [John] Boehner has been vexed by an ungovernable conservative group made up of ideologically committed conservatives from safe House seats. The group has defied his leadership, rallied others to its cause and worn its gadfly status proudly,” they report.
“[O]utside their districts, and sometimes even within them, few have heard of the conservative cadre of House Republicans who have led the charge to shut down the government.
“[This] small but powerful group of outspoken conservative hard-liners is leading its leaders — and increasingly angering a widening group of fellow Republicans.”
While the numbers cited by The New York Times are different – it names about two dozen – the end result is the same.
“[A] hard-core group of about two dozen or so of the most conservative House members … stand in the way of a middle path for Mr. Boehner that could keep most of his party unified while pressuring the Senate to compromise.
“Their numbers may be small, but they are large enough to threaten the speaker’s job if he were to turn to Democrats to pass a spending bill that reopened the government without walloping the health law.”
A revolt in the House? It seems increasingly likely.
“Their strategy is to yield no ground until they are able to pass legislation reining in the health care law; if the federal government stays closed, so be it.
“And they believe they are winning.”
But, as demonstrated on The Maddow Show with the appearance of Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), the disagreement is growing.
Rigell called for an immediate end to the shutdown with a “clean” continuing resolution to fund – and reopen – the federal government. Maddow says he is one of about 10 GOP reps moving in the same direction.
The New York Times was more explicit.
“But the influence of the group (of radicals) is sparking an internal backlash, as a growing band of moderate and institutional Republicans are demanding that Mr. Boehner stand up to the conservatives – to reopen the government and reach bipartisan accommodations in the future.”
With each passing day that the U.S. government remains shuttered, the internal pressures straining the Republican Party will mount as the American public grows increasingly disenchanted with its performance.
As long as the president and his party stay firm and refuse to negotiate on such a fundamental issue as running the country properly, the chances of a split in the GOP will rise.
And that is good news for everyone.
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