THE TEA PARTY IS THAT WHICH MUST NOT BE CALLED BY NAME
I can’t help but notice one more interesting facet of the Boehner resignation that, I don’t believe, anyone else is really talking about. That is the unwillingness to mention the Tea Party, or the right wing of the conservative right, in its role in unseating the Speaker.
Let’s face it, Boehner was taken down by the Tea Party. He resigned because of the intransigence of a right wing zealots who refuse, flat out refuse to participate in any compromise that might actually lead to governing. They live and act strictly by mantra, idolatry and an unrealistic, irrational standard of political purity from which they are not willing to deviate. Frankly, they’ve done quite well.
The Tea Party has always hated Boehner, always wanted to drive him out, but never actually had the votes to do so. So they killed his political career with a thousand cuts. Now, right wing insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood and their willingness to shut down the government–again–to accomplish this, was just too much for the Speaker to take. At some point, Sisyphus must just say, “screw it!” and let the damn rock fall.
Now Boehner is out. The right is cheering.
What remains of the mainstream Republicans are voicing their discontent, but doing so in cryptic terms, never really calling the Tea Party out for its dark accomplishment.
In the New York Times, Republican Representative Charlie Dent said this:
The dynamics are this, There are anywhere from two to four dozen members who don’t have an affirmative sense of governance. They can’t get to yes. They just can’t get to yes, and so they undermine the ability of the Speaker to lead. And not only do they undermine the ability of the Speaker to lead, but they undermine the entire Republican conference and also help to weaken the institution of Congress itself. That’s the reality.
Those are strong words. I believe he is absolutely correct. But who are these two to four dozen members? Come on! We know who they are. Call them out. Say the name! Say the name!
The Tea Party!
Former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, once a Tea Party favorite, a member of the Young Guns, ultimately its victim as he was primaried out of his district seat for failing the conservative purity test. It’s no surprise that he had something to say on the subject. Instead, of calling out the Tea Party, which he should have every incentive to do, he spoke cryptically of “voices.”
somewhere along the road, a number of voices on the right began demanding that the Republican Congress not only block Mr. Obama’s agenda but enact a reversal of his policies. They took to the airwaves and the Internet and pronounced that congressional Republicans could undo the president’s agenda — with him still in office, mind you — and enact into law a conservative vision for government, without compromise.
Strangely, according to these voices, the only reason that was not occurring had nothing to do with the fact that the president was unlikely to repeal his own laws, or that under the Constitution, absent the assent of the president or two-thirds of both houses of Congress, you cannot make law. The problem was a lack of will on the part of congressional Republican leaders.
Now we see that these same voices have turned to the threat of a government shutdown or a default on the debt as the means by which we can force President Obama to agree to their demands.
Is Eric Cantor hearing voices? Of course he is. Tea Party voices.
It wasn’t too long ago that the word “Tea Party” and its associated movement was the vernacular synonym of the right. Tea Partiers were everywhere. There were Tea Party hats. Tea Party T-shirts. Everywhere you turned, there was someone talking about the Tea Party.
Now, in the face of an accomplishment that the Tea Party had been working toward for years, not a mention of the Tea Party. Not from the far right, not from the tattered remnants of the moderate right, not even from the disempowered right. Nobody is talking about the Tea Party. Where did the Tea Party go?
Earlier today I dusted off my two year old Dr. Moreau Theory of Republican Politics. I think its apt.
However, maybe there’s another element of Tea Party politics that is lest monstrous and more mafia. Perhaps I might want to elaborate a Godfather Theory of Republican Politics.
Author’s note: Perhaps it’s just coincidental that the two memes I’m using for the event of John Boehner’s resignation feature Marlon Brando. Perhaps…perhaps.