We must now come to terms with the reality that we now have a three party political system. We have the Democrats, the Republicans, and the Burn it Down Crazies (BDC). The Republicans have tried to maintain a coalition with the BDC as it has been politically opportunistic in the age of Obama to be against anything offered by this President. However when the Republicans actually had to do anything like keep the lights on in congress they never had the votes because the only lights the BDC want to see are the embers of our democracy engulfed in flames.
The burn it down crazies are responsible for the government shutdowns, the furlough of federal workers, the downgrading of the US credit rating and the least productive back to back sessions of congress in the entire history of the republic. Governance just isn’t their thing. They don’t want to regulate carbon, oil, banks, guns, or any business ever. Actually I take that back they do want to govern you as an individual. They’d like to think of themselves as the freedom caucus but when it comes to individual freedoms like, the right to choose who to marry, the right to practice any religion other than their specific gospel of jesus, what a woman chooses to do with her body, or what the poor choose to do with their government assistance the BDC wants total and absolute control.
The BDC has been around for a while and the GOP loved to use them for negotiation purposes. They’d enter into negotiations and say if you don’t give us what we want we’ll side with the BDC. Then they’d let the BDC run onto Fox news and spout utter nonsense to prove how dangerous it would be to not have the Republicans backing. The problem is the GOP took it too far. They acted like they agreed with the BDC for so long and pushed the BDC agenda as their own that many Republicans voters started to believe in it. So when the Republicans took charge and actually wanted to, you know, govern they were shocked to discover how crazy the BDC actually was when Boehner first negotiated the grand bargain with Obama a few years back he got a ton of concessions out of him. Things liberals would have absolutely despised of if they ever went into effect, but no it was the BDC that revolted and prevented that budget from seeing the light of day because it didn’t go far enough.
Zippity do da
The GOP has been routinely shocked by the BDC, but the first major shock was when the BDC was responsible for taking out Eric Cantor, the house majority leader. Cantor didn’t leave congress in the usual way. He didn’t lose in some big wave of Democrats, nor was there any scandal or misdeeds committed. Nope he was just beaten in the primary of his district by a true member of the BDC. Cantor losing his seat sent shockwaves through the GOP because if he, the 2nd highest ranking member of the Republican leadership, could fall to the BDC who else stood a chance. We’ve seen the results since then the BDC has become emboldened and less rationale. Their unhinged from reality war on Planned Parenthood is just the latest example of the BDC run amok. Through all this the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has had the most thankless of jobs. His job has been to thread the needle of somehow pretending to understand and sympathize with the BDC while at the same time run the government. Boehner has finally given up. He is dropping the pretense. When he announced he would be stepping down he literally sang zippity do da. Again to be clear, he’s not stepping down in scandal. He’s not even stepping down because he can’t stand working with Obama and the democrats. Boehner is stepping down because he can’t stand the BDC and doesn’t want to pretend that they have some semblance of how to govern this country.
Profiles in Courage
Which leaves a Vacuum. Kevin McCarthy the man who replaced Cantor in the role of Majority leader has spectacularly crashed and burned in his attempt to become speaker and no one is willing to step up in his place. Why? because it would mean actually governing. Like it or not congress has a critical role in the function of our government. This is something that the BDC never really seems to get. While it’s easy to rail against the failures of government, no matter what no country can survive without a functioning governmental body. The reason is really simply actually; someone has to handle the trash. I don’t mean that metaphorically I mean that literally. Garbage collection and sewer treatment need to be either run by or at least regulated by the government. Why? Because typhoid is still a thing. That and a whole host of other critical issues need something larger than corporations making sure the health and priorities of the citizenry are put first. As a result anyone who steps into the role of speaker will have to do the unthinkable and pass something that President Obama will actually sign. It is this dynamic that has led to the remarkable profiles in courage in which the senior republicans are bending over backwards to be picked last to do their job.
How does this end
So obviously things can’t continue this way. I’d like to say that the grown ups in the GOP will step up to the responsibility of pointing out that the BDC has no interest in governing. I’d like to say that they will work towards reasonable compromises with the Democrats with whom they can find common ground. Of course though we know how this ends. The GOP will once again over promise to the BDC once again giving a patina of legitimacy to the BDC position further dividing our politics. It’s a shame really because this isn’t a conservative vs liberal question. You can legitimately disagree with the President and the democrats, you can also legitimately disagree with the priorities of the government. The problem though isn’t merely a disagreement on which policy will have the biggest impact. This is a fundamental split with the idea of government.