While devouring everything I can find about Republican self-immolation, and feeling very gratified in the process, the contrarian in me advises that it may be time to start to shift our thinking from celebration to rational thought.
After all, standing up to Republicans this time was only one Democratic victory. An important one, but still only one.
Follow below the universal "Warning-Wisdom Ahead" squiggle for more.
Lincoln Mitchell over at HuffPost:
Part of the fallout of the (shutdown) in Washington...is the discussion of tension within the Republican Party. This is often referred to, somewhat melodramatically, as a civil war within that party...[However] this tension is not comparable to previous ideological battles within both major parties...The primary reason for this is that there already has been a civil war in the Republican Party; and the far right won...Today, there is no battle between the moderate and far right wing of the Republican Party...[emphasis mine]Mitchell goes on to say that the battle in the Republican Party is less about Party Policy and more about Strategy. In other words, the message is sound (what planet are these guys on?) but shutting down the government was not the best way to communicate it. From Mitchell again:
To call the fallout from the shutdown a civil war is to suggest that there are moderates in the Republican Party and that the party has not been completely taken over by the far right. This is something the Republican leadership would like the American people to believe, but the evidence suggests otherwise. In recent years there have been no Republican voices calling for a vision that is substantively different than that of the Tea Party. The Tea Party has both set the legislative and political agenda and, for the most part, been the public face of the Republican Party. The relative absence of criticism within the Republican Party for the rhetorical excesses or radical policy proposals from the Tea Party is clear evidence of this...[emphasis mine again]Although there has been some criticism, it has generally been of the kind you give the schoolyard bully to cover up the fact it was you actually giving the orders.
At the end of all of this for the Republicans (after they're done cutting off their noses to spite their faces), is the Chris Christie strategy.
People, Repubs and Dems, like Chris Christie. They'd like to believe he's just not a typical pol - he's a man's man, wears tracksuits, doesn't give a damn about letting his body literally go to pot, stands up to the big, bad unions, and tells his fellow Republicans to go to hell while he rubs up against President Obama to get money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. But, as Kathleen Grier of the Washington Monthly says, Chris Christie is a) a hardcore conservative and b) a jerk.
Chris Christie seems like one of few sane Repubs but is actually as dyed-in-the-wool Tea Party as Ted Cruz or Mike Lee. We must mobilize to prevent false moderates like Christie from getting any more traction with the general populace, which is complicated by the fact the media absolutely loves him and the way he "tells it like it is".
He's one of many "new" Republican moderates the GOP will foist on the American public, like wolves dressed in sheep's clothing. There may not be many out there now, since they'll be eviscerated by the Tea Party Machine, but as the 2014 election draws closer, I wouldn't be surprised if we see more "moderates" climb out of the woodwork, espousing "fiscal conservatism" (read: screw the poor) and "bipartisanism" (read: screw the other side if we can).
I'm reminded of a recent post here on DKos (Why do Americans keep falling for right-wing ideas? Because we just want to be happy.) that explains the phenomenon of voting for the crazies that will make life absolutely miserable, unless you're one of ones that profit off other people's misery. I am constantly surprised that rational people actually send these guys to major political office, then blame the system for how it works.
But I feel myself rambling.
The 2014 elections are a long way off, and the shutdown will be like eating bad pizza -- you might think you're past it, but then comes back on you with a vengeance (you may attach your own visual to that). We may think that we can count on the GOP and its radical wing to further distance itself from reality (shooting more holes into its feet), but we undermine their political savvy at our own peril. It's also worth noting that Democrats have their own brain cramps, not to mention a notorious tendency, perhaps accidentally, to do the Republicans' dirty work for them.
Getting Obama elected and reelected was a show of unity that this generation of Democrats has not seen before. It is now time to support the his legislative agenda and call out the "moderates" whose sole intent is to undo that unto which Obama has staked his presidency.
Thanks for the comments and the recs - and for the rec listing! Not too bad (and quite unexpected) for a first-time diary.
Remain vigilant! It can happen here!