If you’re like me, watching this as a Democrat and a liberal, you shake your head and laugh. But at the same time, you have to be asking yourself, what happens next with the Republican Party?
People thought the House was in disarray when John Boehner’s “Plan B” was rejected by his own party extremists. But then he unwisely decided to curtail a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief and managed to royally piss of not only Rep. Peter King (R-NY) but more importantly, the man many have held up to the best chance the GOP has in 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
We are all used to reality detachment syndrome where the Republican Party is concerned, but what gives here? It is admittedly fun to watch the GOP implode but it is also alarming. This is one of our two major political parties, entrusted with governing the United States, and currently in control of the House of Representatives. Right now, it is impossible to say precisely how fragmented the once-proud GOP has become.
Do we have two GOPs? Republicans and Tea Partiers? Or three, adding the more independent-minded as a third faction, including not only King and Christie but those elected Republican officials who didn’t hurry to jump on Grover Norquist’s National Suicide Platform?
None of this is trivial speculation. Governor Christie openly talked about “betrayal” and laid the blame for how much Americans hate Congress squarely at the door of the GOP. Rep. Peter King spoke in similar terms expressing his own outrage, referring to a “knife in the back.”
People don’t quickly forget betrayals and knives in the back. That’s some serious talk.
Gov. Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a joint statement yesterday:
“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable. It has now been 66 days since Hurricane Sandy hit and 27 days since President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor. This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. When American citizens are in need we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.
“The people of our states can no long afford to wait while politicians in Washington play games.”
Betrayal…and a dereliction of duty.
Here is what Christie had to say to CNN
“Last night, the House majority failed most basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state. … It was disappointing and disgusting to watch. There’s only one group to blame … the House majority, and their Speaker, John Boehner, just could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority.
He had particular reason to be miffed. “He did not take my calls,” Christie said of Boehner.
Rep. Peter King, R-New York, if possible, was even harsher in his condemnation of John Boehner:
Boehner is the one. He walked off the floor. He refused to tell us why. He refused to give us any indication or warning whatsoever… I’m just saying, these people have no problem finding New York — these Republicans — when they’re trying to raise money. They raise millions of dollars in New York City and New Jersey, they sent Gov. [Chris] Christie around the country raising millions of dollars for them. I’m saying, anyone from New York and New Jersey who contributes one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined. I would not give one penny to these people based on what they did to us last night.
King was not finished:
I was chasing the Speaker all over the House floor last night,” he said. “So he wouldn’t tell us why, he just decided to sneak off in the dark of night.
I would say that the Republican Party says that it’s the party of family values,” King continued. “Last night, it decided to turn its back on the most essential value of all. And that’s to provide food, shelter, clothing and relief for people who have been hit by a natural disaster. And I would say that the Republican Party has turned its back on those people. And it’s going to be very hard for me to ask any of those people to vote for the national Republican Party.
Americans would be right to wonder if John “F-Bomb” Boehner is incredibly stupid or insane, or just completely oblivious to the world in which he operates. According to Josh Lev and Tom Watkins on CNN, ” GOP leadership sources said Boehner was worried it would be a bad political move for him to allow a vote on the new federal spending after a long day of getting pummeled by his own House Republicans for not demanding enough spending cuts in the fiscal cliff bill.”
If so, he badly miscalculated.
Yesterday, Boehner seemed to realize he had been hasty in his dismissal of the rest of humanity. He met for 20 minutes with Peter King and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. When King appeared after the meeting, he announced “We’re getting what New York and New Jersey need, and that’s all that counts. We’re all big boys; we understand that all that counts is the bottom line.”
Sure, by the end of yesterday things had the appearance – rather forced – of normalcy and King was saying, “As far as I’m concerned, that was a lifetime ago. I know it was last night, but the bottom line is we’re going forward getting what we believe is necessary,” but this is what you would expect him to say.
Whether or not the will go forward or get what they believe is necessary remains to be seen. There will be a vote on an immediate $9 billion on Friday. The balance of $51 billion won’t come up until January 15. The people who need the money could have had it all much sooner if Boehner had been a bit less of an ideologue and a bit more of an elected official.
All of this just goes to demonstrate that the Republicans have quit on America. They’ve quit on Obama, they’ve quit on the economy, they’ve quit on a budget, they’ve quit on individual parts of America like New Jersey and New York, and they’ve quit on the whole damn shebang. It is almost to the point where we need guards with cats of nine tails standing at the doors to whip them back to work when they lollygag.
The Republican Party has become not only an embarrassment to itself but an embarrassment to America and to the world.