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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.
Cantor Exits, Wither Any Middle?
What gives? Cantor is an ultra-conservative, the former TP favorite who makes Boehner look vaguely the sensible compromiser. The ultimate irony of Congress' most ambitious politician, measuring the House Speakership drapes, but slights his own election, well, that should happen to more slick mouthpieces who do immense damage. And to be mortified by an underfunded, jock-radio favorite, a TP non-entity who endorses Ayn Rand as great moral force? Could Thomas Jefferson, he of the revolution per generation, envision such moral-intellectual descent, regression to the mean of a new dark age?
Let us as always consider the positive points. Did not Cantor vote in lockstep against the White House, 95 percent of the time with his party, surpassing wing nuts Steve Stockman, Michele Bachmann and Steve King. If the party dives off that cliff, make way. What the Democrats can't pull off -- the simple proposition that TP insanity endangers America -- then GOP dinosaurs will have to demonstrate it on their own. "Implosion" never sounded so sweet, assuring permanent, national minority status, whatever their money bag funders.
If the Cantor fail sends the party rightward, pain will come short-term but may well improve post-2020 House redistricting. Does the self-defeating TP Party stratagem to delegitimate all Democrats, buoyed by impeaching the president, look like an agenda reborn? Bring that on, for nothing more terrorizes the majority, nor dooms Senate Republican takeover chances. Only House impeachment (with a predictable mangled bill of particulars) will keep Obama's domestic lame-duckery from reaching comatose dead-duckery.
In this spirit, how can you not love rightwing wordsmith and "CBS News" contributor, Frank Luntz, for seeing Cantor's loss as death even to bipartisan exchanges? "I think for the GOP it's going to be very dangerous now for a Republican to talk to Democrats, as it was Democrats to talk to Republicans a few years ago. This a blow [against] conversation. This is a blow [against] cooperation." So, forget compromise. Hell, forget negotiation, even mumbling hello in the hallways. Sounds like Fort Sumter-style, verbal secession to me.
What, No Talking Allowed?
Putting aside false equivalence (Democrats stopped talking?), have extremists ever talked to non-tribe members, except to pommel "establishment sellouts"? In a tizzy, more Luntz: "230 House Republicans . . . are waking up praying that they do not have Eric Cantor's pollster. Honestly, and I'm one of them, we Republican pollsters suck. We have no ability to be able to analyze the electorate."
So, did sleazy Luntz return his $15,000 charge to Cantor for Congress after conceding "no ability to analyze the electorate"? Talk about dupes and dupees: Luntz is a bright bulb across the FOX echo chamber. If hefty party defeats -- McCain, Romney, multiple chances for Senate control, yahoos ruining primary run-ups, producing unelectable candidates -- haven't rocked top consultants, what will? If some upstart professor (ironic, with Tea Party allergies to intellect) demolishes a top dog, shouldn't more disruption follow? Like the insane, fanatics do endlessly repeat what hasn't worked, deluded results will differ.