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On a quest to calcify the status quo, this era has not yet hit rock bottom. This country remains as resistant to systemic reform at home as to reversing imperial overreach in the Iraq-Afghan-Libya-Egyptian tradition. The rightwing witches' brew of domestic obstructionism, seasoned with stalemate and shutdown, plods along as our reigning "philosophy" of governance. What a contrast between gridlock at home, sparring idly over protocol and celebrity imagery vs. the rapid belligerence overseas that guarantees our Rome won't burn alone.
Trends collide and crash when wary Eric Cantor gets slammed while Lindsay (the loose cannon) Graham triumphs. Did South Carolina TP'ers not get the memo about dumping incumbents to reinvigorate the noble, lost (Christian) cause against democracy, modernity, the North, urban populations, surging minority voters, and West Coast sanity? The world expands in complexity, awash with global dilemmas, and our broken electoral process grinds away the residual "checks and balances" by today putting forward one upstart Blat.
Scratch anything close to balance, let alone popular mandates or rational governance. As willfully defiant Tea Partiers shoot their wad, the subsequent end-plays deliver not "checks" but "checkmates." Remarkable how successfully such a few, notably visible plutocrats and shock jocks buoy up minority goons at odds with the vast, if silent national majority. How would brilliant Founders resolve the odd conundrum of an ever-extremist House of No majoring in veto power, a role formally granted the president?
TP Talks Itself Closer the Cliff
However dubious are predictions, here's a shot in the dark: more TP fumbling and the GOP will implode before the planet does. Listen to Rep. Raul Labrador after chairing a fruitless Idaho convention,"This is as low as the party can go," he said, "We have hit bottom. I think the party has no choice but to go up from here." Not so fast, Mr. Half-the-Idaho-caucus. Are Republicans immune from the modern curse: however disastrous is the present, the future bubbles up worse to come. Just ask the disgraced Eric Cantor.
Cheers are in order whenever a smarmy, callous Cantor is whipped by his own delusions of grandeur. And his own once stalwart TP supporters. Cantor's descent not only confirms widespread "inflation of the insignificant" -- a fraudulent leader from the get-go -- but the jaw-dropping negligence, double whammy of his own hired hacks. Though few outdo this White House for incompetence, that prize goes to Cantor's blinkered consultants, surpassing Romney's or McCain's, let alone Gore's in '00 and Hillary's in '08. Proving money is not power, never have so many Republicans ruled so long when beset with such droll idiocy. Not getting evolution or climate change is bad enough, but not getting modern polling -- astonishing.
It turns out Cantor's dead-cat finale confirms not just the artlessness of getting defrocked, but open party wedges. What, right-wingers hate their incumbents as progressives do DINOs? Cantor's departure is a sword that cuts two ways: not just dividing the rightwing but splitting the Party of No from the awe-struck greater population. That second outcome ranks high in my favorite record book, "Bonuses from Unintended Consequences." Admittedly, Boehner-Cantor years carry very costly tolls: beside dumb wars and ruined budgets, just not impeding the mentally-unbalanced from gun access for the last decade, according to ProPublica, produced 100,000 Yankee deaths, 95% from suicides.