GOP’s internal struggle
is good news for 2014:
historic exception looms
Ted Cruz (R-Insane) led the battle to shut down the government over Obamacare. Click image to enlarge.
THE NEWS OVER the weekend for those who want to see the U.S. government actually function, was nothing short of stunning.
Headline after headline told of an outbreak of internecine warfare within the Republican Party – which brought the government to its knees for the first two weeks of October.
“Civil war” was the term most commonly used.
There can be no doubt a struggle has erupted for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
For those who are NOT conservatives, this is the best possible outcome.
It may mean the Democrats romp to victory in the mid-term elections in 2014, and continue to occupy the White house in 2016.
WE FIRST REPORTED on this possibility Oct. 3 in Showdown over shutdown could split the Republican Party
It reached a crescendo in The New York Times on Sunday with the front page story Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in G.O.P.’s ‘Civil War.’
The New York Times story on Sunday about the GOP civil war. Click image to enlarge.
In their comprehensive analysis, Jonathan Martin, Jim Rutenberg And Jeremy W. Peters report:
“The budget fight that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years did not just set off a round of recriminations among Republicans over who was to blame for the politically disastrous standoff.
“It also heralded a very public escalation of a far more consequential battle for control of the Republican Party, a confrontation between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans that will play out in the coming Congressional and presidential primaries in 2014 and 2016 but has been simmering since President George W. Bush’s administration, if not before.”
What an ironic twist.
The worst president ever is now being blamed for the split in the Republican Party because of his supposedly moderate positions on immigration, Medicare and spending.
Then we get the money quote:
“In dozens of interviews, elected officials, strategists and donors from both wings of the party were unusually blunt in drawing the intraparty battle lines, suggesting that the time for an open feud over the Republican future had arrived.
“It’s civil war in the G.O.P.,” said Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative warrior who helped invent the political direct mail business.”
A Republican civil war can only be good for the country. While they are preoccupied with their internal struggle, the electorate can watch from the sidelines and vote accordingly in 2014.
THE NEW YORK TIMES certainly had the most comprehensive report, but it was not the first.
An ABC News report with the term “civil war” in the headline. Click image to enlarge.
The same terminology was used in Republican Civil War Over Shutdown Drama on ABC news.
“Not a single Republican senator or congressman voted for the Affordable Care Act, but the standoff over the government shutdown may have done the one thing that seemed impossible a few months ago: divided the Republican party over Obamacare,” wrote Abby D. Phillip on Oct. 19.
“It’s no secret that several high-profile Republicans in Washington are angry with their colleagues for pushing them into a corner on a strategy that left them with a brunt of the blame for shutting the government down in an effort to defund Obamacare.”
Indeed, the polls are conclusive. The public blames Republicans, and rightly so.
“But the anger flows both ways,” Phillip adds. “The uber-conservative base of the Republican Party, and the groups that support them, view the deal brokered between Senate Republicans and Democrats to re-open the government as nothing short of surrender.”
A day earlier, the same term was used in Republican Civil War Erupts: Business Groups v. Tea Party published Oct. 18.
Michael C. Bender & Kathleen Hunter report:
“A battle for control of the Republican Party has erupted as an emboldened Tea Party moved to oust senators who voted to reopen the government while business groups mobilized to defeat allies of the small-government movement.”
The report in Bloomberg uses the same term “civil war” in its headline. Click image to enlarge.
They focused on the division between the business lobby and the Tea Party radicals, a fissure that has long been simmering.
And they note the dismal poll numbers for Republicans since the shutdown and default crises:
“The Republican Party’s favorability was at a record low of 28 percent in a Gallup Poll conducted Oct. 3-6. That was down 10 percentage points from the previous month and 15 points below Democrats.
“The Tea Party is less popular now than ever, according to a poll released Oct. 15 by the Pew Research Center. Forty-nine percent of U.S. adults have an unfavorable opinion of the movement, while 30 percent have a favorable one.”
It seems like there might, after all, be light at the end of the tunnel.
The New York Times story summed it up:
“At its heart, this fight is the latest chapter of a long-running struggle for dominance between a generally pro-business, center-right bloc that seeks to tame but not exactly dismantle Washington, and populist conservatives who call for more extreme measures to shrink government.”
If the Republican Party does not split apart before November 2014, its candidates will be so busy fighting bruising primary battles, all the Democrats have to do is sit quietly and watch.
It might be a re-run of the 2012 presidential primary, when so many radicals tossed their hats into the GOP ring they forced Mitt Romney to tilt rightward while embarrassing the party to its core. Anyone remember Rick “two-out-of-three” Perry?
If the GOP suffers a crushing defeat in 2014, it will be because of its reckless behavior the past three weeks. And, it will be historic in another way: the out-of-power party usually wins mid-term elections; that’s what happened in 2010.
It seems 2014 might just be an historic exception.
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