Last year’s election cycle was an absolutely brutal one for the Republicans. Still caught in the Tea Party’s death grip, the GOP was able to maintain its majority in the House, but on aggregate they got about a million fewer votes than the Democrats they were opposing. Gerrymandering is literally the only reason they are still in power. After spending four years demagogueing President Obama, his fiscal policies, and just about everything else under the sun about him — they lost. They lost despite all their pollsters and media outlets telling them the other guys’ polls were skewed and ol’ Mittens really did have the momentum to kick the Kenyan Usurper out of office.
When that didn’t happen and we saw Karl Rove’s tantrum on election night it became crystal clear that the impending Republican Civil War I’d written about in the past was about to have its first real shots fired. Since November, the GOP has done an exhaustive study on why they lost, and yet despite what everyone with an IQ higher than their shoe sizes knows — that they have an antiquated values problem and not a messaging problem — they’ve not learned anything and the battle lines are being drawn as the desperation gets thicker and thicker in the air. In short, they’re now eating their own.
It’s fun to watch.
First there’s the overt racism of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and his inane comments about Mexican immigrants. Apparently this old, white guy really is afraid of our darker skinned friends to the south. In an interview with CNN, King said of the “Dreamers,” kids who were brought here by their undocumented parents, “You know, you only get one valedictorian per class per year. And they aren’t all dreamers. And a lot of other American kids out here that are competing for that valedictorian status. But every night there are dozens and scores of people that are smuggling drugs across our border. … This isn’t something that just was made up out of thin air. This is something I get from the people enforcing the law down on the border.” Of course The Washington Post just gave that canard four Pinnochios since there’s literally no end to the amount of bullshit in that statement.
It can’t be denied that King’s comments most definitely represent at least some portion of Tea Party congressional representatives as well as their constituents. It also can’t be denied that national party officials rightfully freaked out on King and several prominent Republicans both in and out of Congress have lambasted King for his overtly racist commentary. There’s something important to remember though — King didn’t have any compunction at all about spewing his hate speech. You have to ask yourself why? And the answer you’re going to come up with is, “Because he knew ultimately he’d get away with it.” John Boehner is an incompetent Speaker with no control over his fringe (yet) so the embarrassing gaffes, racist remarks and rape comments aren’t going to stop. The Republican Civil War will rage on, and even the big dogs of the party won’t be immune.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) may have two of the largest egos among the crop of presumed 2016 GOP presidential nominees. Neither one of them has met a microphone they couldn’t belch pedantic bullshit into. So it would only make sense that these two Alpha-dog wannabes would be butting heads. Christie took up the mantle for the non-Libertarian wing of the party when he went after Rand’s political ideology as “this strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought.” While I’m not sure what kind of libertarian strain is going through the left-wing currently (other than saying, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t discriminate against minorities and members of the LGBT community?”), undeniably the GOP is also being torn apart by the libertarian wing — which also shares some commonalities with the Tea Partiers — and they’re going to clash with the “establishment” Republicans too.
The fight within the GOP is a simple one. They’ve all but abdicated the White House because they refuse to moderate their rhetoric, and they refuse to come to grips with the changing demographics and moods of the country. This isn’t anything new, and in fact during the Civil Rights movement, it was the Democratic Party that had to do a lot of soul searching and distance themselves from their racist, southern, segregationist colleagues. The sea change our country is currently going through has put their ideology on trial lately, and between austerity being debunked, Trickle Down being shown to not work at all, and the changing social mores that are putting the Republicans further behind the times, we can only expect to see more of the infighting and political cannibalism that makes watching politics in America fun.