Republicans keep reaping what they sow.
The party’s utterly shameful inability to elect the Speaker of the House after several attempts is a crisis of its own making. Since at least the Barack Obama years, the Republican Party has seen a strengthening of its right wing, whose mission was not to make policy but to stall progress, whose strategy was destruction rather than diplomacy.
You can see the beginning of the current iteration of this political extremism when John McCain chose the woefully inept Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. She was not intellectual, but she was stubborn. She was anti-Obama.
During his speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008, he said that he had learned that if “you are not a member of the Washington elite in good standing, some people in the media consider a candidate unfit for that reason only.” But, she continued, “Here’s a little news for all those reporters and commentators out there: I’m not going to Washington to ask for their good opinion; I am going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”
Palin exposed a dangerous reality about the Republican base: that it was hungry for disruption and spectacle, that it would cheer for anyone who angered liberals, that showmanship was far more important than competence.
Like a variant of a virus evolving, Palin’s enthusiasm transmitted itself into the Tea Party movement, which evolved into the Freedom Caucus and manifested among voters as Trumpism.
The party establishment chose to ignore those on the fringes, realizing that the energy they generated could be beneficial, and any harm they might do could be mitigated. In any event, they were only a fraction of the members and could always be outnumbered.
The problem was that his influence and profile continued to grow. He learned a lesson borne out during the Palin years: spectacle breeds fame, which breeds power, which breeds influence and possibly control.
They started using that power. The Freedom Caucus essentially forced the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to resign in 2015 because its members felt he was not forceful enough against Obama. Representative Peter King reportedly said, “To me, this is a victory for the lunatics.”
But they were far from over “crazy”. He refused to endorse Kevin McCarthy for speaking out because he was Boehner’s No. 2 and because Republicans were furious that he slipped up and told the truth about the Benghazi investigation: that it was a political witch hunt. Designed to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects,
No doubt some of that old disdain for McCarthy is being reflected in this week’s failed vote to make him speaker.
Donald Trump became Exhibit A for the synergy of fame, power and influence when he broke through the establishment firewall in 2016 to lure the Republican base and gave his supporters what they wanted: an unbridled political anarchist, an unapologetic White Nationalist.
During the Trump era, the party’s Marjorie Taylor became a rock star among the Greens’ base, even as she was a joke among her colleagues. Their success has made the term “fringe” a poor way to describe them. they are in many ways Huh Republican Party.
All the while, very few mainstream Republicans objected to his antics and crimes. Paul Ryan, who became speaker in 2015 when the Freedom Caucus made it clear its members would not support McCarthy, knew Trump was a problem, but did little to push back against him until Ryan left office. Said.
as Tim Alberta Reported In Politico Magazine in 2019, Ryan made a conscious decision not to “scold” Trump but to “help institutions survive”, “build the country’s antibodies” and “railing up” Was. He wanted, he said, “to drive the car in the middle of the road” without letting it “go into a ditch”.
Like many other mainstream Republicans, Ryan thought that by biting his tongue, keeping his head down, and doing his best to side with Trump and do his job, he was protecting the country.
But that silence read as acceptance, not just of Trump’s, but of all party members in Congress. Now, that group has grown strong enough to block the Speaker of the House from being elected on the first ballot for the first time in 100 years.
And they’re getting exactly what they want: more headlines, more airtime, more spectacle and therefore more power.
They are not interested in governing, but rather in throwing a wrench in the gears to stir up the growing urge among the Republican base.
#opinion #BurnItAllDown #Republican #Caucus