Amidst the schadenfreude rejoicing over the sinking poll numbers of the Republican house majority (and its internecine warfare) and the disconcerting observations about the delusionally destructive Dominionism of Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann, one crucial consequence is being overlooked. Dave Sirota's recent column in Salon calls attention to this implication, which is re-defining the boundaries of the new normal. Details below:
One way to see this latter reality is to behold the changing perception of sequestration. Only months ago, those draconian budget cuts were seen as way too radical an expression of the right’s drown-government-in-the-bathtub agenda. But then the conservative movement pushed the envelope even further by engineering a shutdown – not of the whole government, mind you, but only of the specific parts of the government it loathes. That quickly pulled the budget debate to the far right by making sequestration spending levels the “moderate” compromise position – the one that the Democratic president is now willing to accept as the new normal.Quote from Dave Sirota The right’s hidden victory: Ideologues win — even if GOP loses!
Elsewhere in the article, Sirota describes the much reported displeasure of the corporate class over the shut down as a kind of kabuki theater. That is, corporate CEO's and Wall Street power brokers express their dismay over this outbreak of ideological extremism while being quite thrilled that their preferred ideals of austerity (low taxes and minimal regulations on corporations, slashes to the public safety net) are now being seen as the moderate, level headed "compromise" position. The end of this stand off may not (yet) attain the grand bargain outcome but the compromise that re-opens the government and avoids the "disaster" of a default is likely to be a step (moderate to large) in that general direction.
As for the Tea party foot soldiers, they may not be as crazy or as reckless as commonly assumed. Rather seeking to destroy the United States in their misguided zeal to avenge the Civil War [http://www.dailykos.com/...], the Tea Party may be playing old style politics of serving their interests of their wealthy benefactors. It is not about destroying America but continue to reshape it in the image an Ayn Randian Plutocracy.
The Tea party's Quixotic dream of stopping "Obamacare" is both a nice piece of red meat to throw out their Fox-merized base while providing a great ideological cover for an underlying goal of pushing the political discourse even further right so that a blatant pro-corporatism/austerity for everyone else becomes the new "left of center."
If you think about how this Tea Party "insanity" has reshaped the US political landscape versus the comparative impact (i.e., lack of) of OWS, its hard to not conclude that one side (under the guise of burn it to the ground extremism) is actually serving (either by design or structural and ideological compatibilities) the interests of the 1% (really 10%).
Most tellingly, perhaps, the responses by the Obama administration, Sen. Reid, Rep. Pelosi and the Democratic leaders, have been reticent to challenge "we want to negotiate" meme deployed by the tea party crowd. The table turning comparisons to terrorists and other references to the irrational and unreasonable nature of the Tea party's idea of negotiation have mainly hailed from left-oriented bloggers and journalists, like Rachel Maddow and Tom Tomorrow. The mainstream media is playing the false equivalency game and the Democratic leadership is acting as though down stream negotiations (on the grand bargain) are reasonable but just not under the pressure of the default or defunding "Obamacare." That rhetorical capitulation sets the stage for what we are seeing now, some initial concessions to end the shutdown (which should have even been on the table in the first place) to be followed by "serious" negotiations to find common ground in the future. The Koch brothers and Pete Peterson are not at all displeased at how this crisis is playing out.
As for the dire election consequences presumably facing the Tea party, through the power of gerrymandering (as Sirota also points out), the tea party has almost established itself as a separate regional electorate (in this regard, those secession oriented diaries have a point).
So, sinking national poll numbers do not necessarily translate into major election losses.
Though so ever captivating, the idea of sitting back and watching the Republican Party implode is misleading and politically dangerous.