In President Obama's speech this morning on the end of the hostage-taking Republican shutdown, he outlined the next three issues Congress should work on: a long-term budget, immigration reform, and a farm bill. These are well-selected topics, as they are both areas in need of attention and contentious issues, especially within the ranks of the civil warring Republican party.
I think by now it is pretty clear President O understands the long game. Although I am a critic of his in regards to many policy decisions and am disappointed that his "change" slogan didn't even approach a change from the Reagan-era political dogma du jour, I will admit that he is a cunning strategist and is very adept at understanding, anticipating, and playing political dynamics. It is therefore almost certain he plays the long game and has something of an idea of what will come next, presumably at the beginning of the year.
As others have commented, when your team's up, you run up the score, especially when the stakes are so high. Thus, the long game consists of more score running up, which means keeping the Republicans at each others' throats, all while getting shit done this country needs.
The best way to keep the Republicans divided in civil war is to use issues, such as immigration already, which some Republicans know they need to soften their position on to maintain any future hope as a party, while others hold a deep ideological intransigence and are unwilling to give an inch. Besides immigration, what else fits the bill?
I think it's time to go big on gay marriage. The demographics favor us, more every year, and even many conservatives are supportive of gay marriage. But the key is many, not all. The Tea Party's been made to look petty, dangerous, and radical throughout their shutdown, and it's been tearing the Republican Party apart. Now it's time to do the same to the Theocratic Wing of the Republican Party.
Oh yes! You didn't think it was just going to be Ted Cruz, Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Ann Druyan, Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, and Duran Duran running for flag bearer of the Crazy Party, didja? We've got all sorts of flavors of crazy here!
So, I propose we wed ourselves to the idea of nationwide gay marriage, give a long-oppressed group some well-deserved rights, churn and turn even more factions of the Game Over Party, and really fire up the bases for 2014. Because as we know, when our base is fired up, we win elections. That's all there is to it.
I'm sure there are other issues that could be similarly both divisive amongst Republicans but decisive in the minds and momentum of the people. Care to discuss which others might be in play in the early months of 2014 to keep the Republicans divided, get stuff done, and prep for the 2014 elections?