(Article changed on October 1, 2013 at 13:30)
Knee-jerk House tantrums hit new comic highs as the Wily E. Coyote party continued its madcap leaps to self-destruction. Can't zealots who hate government find more imaginative ways not to govern? The latest cartoon antics only dramatize what happens when the party of stupid redefines itself downward:
1) How will the TP-GOP compete nationally after this laughable "rebranding" boomerangs?
2) Will not election penalties accrue to hostage-taking poseurs "begging America to fail," in Bill Clinton's phrase?
3) What if Obama is the second worst Washington negotiator, bowing to the Boehner Follies?
Oblivious to shame and ridicule, Republican extremists appear to learn nothing either from the failed '96 shutdown or the humiliating '11 payroll tax fiasco. Why should today's leap off the fiscal cliff not incur similarly severe intra-party denunciations of two years ago? Then Karl Rove conceded his party "lost the optics on it," Charles Krauthammer groused the GOP had "been entirely outplayed," and the WSJ bemoaned the "thoroughly botched the politics" that turned the payroll tax gambit into a "fiasco."
And yet over-the-top federal obstructionism represents only one side of the GOP's most compelling contradiction. To wit: rightwingers implode in Washington while still running roughshod not just over conservative bastions but centrist battleground state houses in MI, WI, PA, and FL. What works in backwater Wisconsin or Michigan thus strikes out under prime time, national scrutiny. Can big money, bad ideology, and sleazy marketing dominate locally (with whiter populations) but self-immolate in Congress? Where is any historic precedent for this dramatic schizophrenic split, as Republicans command writ small yet implode writ large. No wonder Tea Party fanaticism shrinks its popularity, and the latest bottom feeding will only makes things worse.
Aiding & Abetting the Enemy
Analysts have yet to explain this substantial, paradoxical mystery: why haven't crushing national defeats, many self-induced, impeded extremists from commandeering states Obama won more than once? Why do pitchforks and spittle work in otherwise competitive battleground regions but fail miserably in Washington? And why would Tea Partiers blindly exacerbate their failing status with rearguard battles against health reform? Remember, only once since WWII has the same party won three presidencies in a row. Imagine the grand irony if extremists end up boosting candidates, like looming Hillary Clinton, they can't stand?