They honestly think they can win the White House.
That's not me being sarcastic. In the past couple of weeks, the Tea Partiers have made a determined effort to undermine the Republican Establishment. Basically, they are trying to hijack the support base. Completely overlooking that, on a national level, Tea Partiers are seen as a joke and a threat, an intolerant bunch of power trippers, not bold warriors trying to guide people to an enlightened age.
Chris Christie is doing damage control on the bridge scandal. Now, he's doing really well at silencing it (and making himself look like a bad choice, which I will get to later). I had noticed that, within a week or two of the scandal erupting, the three Democratic mayors leveling the charges had suddenly gone quiet. I was literally thinking, This was dominating the news, what happened? Christie's public response was a mess. His defiance and denials were unpolished. But Christie works behind the scenes. And he's already tying up the loose ends so he can get back to building his brand. Once again, we had a minor eruption as a class action suit was filed over Bridgegate and a state investigation started. Made headlines. Now? Not a peep.
You better believe Cruz, Rand Paul, and Jack Ryan had something to do with the scandal erupting. Christie has fallen from first to third, and Ryan is the #1 choice among R's currently. The Tea Partiers are trying to make hay while the sun shines. If Christie is busy doing damage control, they are free to get attention. And how?
Well, Randoid continues to be ignorant of women. The R's in general realize they need to update their social beliefs, that the days of being white, male, and Protestant making you in charge are over. They are going in fits and starts, but showed a remarkable step forward by letting Cathy McMorris Rogers, a person with XX chromosomes, respond to Obama's State Of The Union address. "See? We got skirts...I mean, we got women, too!" But the party still has problems, as Mike Huckabee demonstrated. Huckabee was one of the leading contenders during the 2012 "Seriously, we don't have anyone else?" primaries. Positioning himself as a "true conservative" without jumping off the cliff the Tea Partiers did, he landed a political show to keep his name out there and preserve his Q score for a 2016 run. He projects a careful neutrality, modest and well spoken without being overbearing, becoming a perfect blank slate for viewers to project their beliefs onto. But for everything he does right, he does something wrong.
Huckabee spoke at the winter RNC meeting. Before he went on, he told reporters he was getting "positive signs" about a campaign and he was thinking it over. So how did he do with his speech? Well, he told the R's they need to not only position themselves as appealing to women voters, but to keep the D's from making it seem like the R's have declared a "war on women." Plain talk. So far, so good. Then he reveals that, like a kid just hitting puberty, those girl thingies are a mystery that they want so badly but don't understand in the least. He told the crowd, "If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, so be it."
Oops! Once again, the old "Women should stop having sex, but we aren't saying anything about the men" rears its ugly head. Huckabee once had as a guest on his show Kathy Ireland, a political arch conservative who built her empire on her picture being used as currency in men's correctional facilities. Men believe women are sluts, and get insulted when the sluts want nothing to do with them. Sluts aren't supposed to reject them! And in their minds, it gives them an excuse to condemn the behavior they want so desperately to be true. "Be a good pet, and I'll be nice to you."
Huckabee showed the party can't be consistent in its message. In recent months, infighting the R's, which saw them censor John McCain for being too liberal and too friendly with the Left (a guy who flat out opposed lifting the ban on gays in the military. I'd have thought they'd give him a medal), has given rise to a new label! It seems everyone needs labels to validate themselves and devalue everyone else. This label is RINO, and it means "Republican In Name Only". Huckabee said, “Let’s stop calling each other somehow less Republican than someone else.”
Then, he stuck his foot in his mouth again. Continuing his point, he said he was going to Auschwitz the next week and the Holocaust began with the "devaluation of people." “You realize that the only way you can end up there is when you start with the idea that people just aren’t as valuable as you are,” said Huckabee, linking the RINO issue with fascist atrocities in World War II.
Yes. Huckabee just compared his party to the Nazis.
And it's not just me going, "Wh-huh?" Erick Erickson is the tall hog at the trough of the right-leaning political site RedState, and he wrote a piece titled, “Mike Huckabee Might Want to Rethink That Allusion to Nazis.” He pointed out that, if somebody wants to defeat Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell in an election, that doesn’t make them a Nazi. “I hope he seriously reconsiders these remarks in his disagreements with conservatives. This is really uncalled for.... It makes one serious about reforming the size and scope of Washington power,” Erickson wrote.
So, Huckabee doesn't realize he's not dead yet. But what led me to discussing him was women and the R's inability to understand them or see them as anything other than props. Randroid continued the trend in the last couple of weeks by starting to bring up Monica Lewinsky again. Dude, Clinton won in a landslide in the female demographic, and that was with everyone knowing he was a slut. You aren't going to sway anyone by bringing up his infidelity, especially something that was over and done with almost two decades ago.
So why is he doing it? He's trying to guilt trip female supporters of Hillary. Voting blocks are powerful, and blocks will flock to one of their own to make history even if that isn't the best choice, as the election of Barack Obama demonstrated. Hillary is positioning herself just right. Women are more politically active than men in general, and they are much better organized because men dismiss them and don't pay attention, then wonder what ran over them. Randroid is hoping to squick the women voters by making Hillary's election a reward for Bill's classless and wanton behavior.
Please note this is basically an admission of failure disguised as an act of principle. Randroid and his Tea Party dipshits like to talk about how they have ethics and principles and will stand tall on philosophical grounds. But doing so has made them a running gag among the populous who sees them as unyielding and out of touch -- for example, when Randroid was saying extending unemployment benefits in this economy was an insult to the people using it. He's a political version of my character Jacob Palini from the Hannah Singer books. So he is resorting to political dirty pool that he can still cloak in making a conscientious stand while being just as festering and sick as anything else.
Cruz, meanwhile, saw an opportunity this week. The R's decided not to fight the debt ceiling vote, because the last time they did, it caused a government shutdown and we nearly defaulted on our loan from China. The R's were going to just let the D's holding the Senate majority pass the vote, they would all vote no, the R's wouldn't look stupid, everyone wins. But Cruz did a filibuster and managed to require the bill to have a 60% or higher vote, meaning some R's would have to vote to approve it.
And among them was Mitch McConnell, who is fighting a tough campaign in his home state of Kentucky against a Tea Party challenge Cruz and Randroid are supporting. Within moments of McConnell's vote, Cruz was tweeting it and spreading the word.
This tactic can blow up in Cruz's face, however. The easiest tactic would have been for R's to abstain from the vote, enabling the 60% threshold to be reached without any votes from them. McConnell is aware that voting against the debt ceiling would have continued to bleed the party's reputation dry. Voting for the debt ceiling increase is the easiest political move to spin since Operation Desert Freedom -- we have already seen the results. Expect a lot of Establishment R's to stump for McConnell just to keep another Tea Partier from costing them not only the seat but a visible face for the Senate Minority.
Twice, the R's have seen their plans to take both chambers of Congress and the Presidency nuked by the Tea Partiers, first because they brought them in, then because they couldn't get rid of them. The Tea Partiers honestly think that, if they get past the entrenched Establishment, the voters will welcome them as heroes and they can remake America through empowered voters.
The Old Guard has fought progressive thought for almost sixty years. You can bet they'll fight this, too.