The Republican civil war is getting nasty as Speaker of the House John Boehner is hoping that his friends in big business will help him neutralize the “nuts” in the tea party that have pushed the House to the extreme right.
But the Republican boast was never really meant to nail the balloting results. Instead, it was a clever blend of hype and hope served up to major donors about what could follow the election: For GOP benefactors in New York, Washington and beyond who’re past tired of self-destructive antics by Republicans reactionaries, the party tailored the push to conjure the dream of a reinvigorated Speaker John Boehner. Given the room, he could stiff-arm the tiny, troublesome right flank that nearly pitched the country into a debt default three years ago and generally made major headaches out of otherwise simple chores. One Republican operative spells out the subtext of the pitch to the corporate pragmatists the GOP is hitting up for campaign cash: “We want to give Boehner a governable majority so the crazies you hate will be irrelevant.”
John Boehner wants big business to come to the rescue and neutralize the nutty members of the House that have held him hostage. The problem is that the crazies that he is trying to get rid of are also the Republican base. Some of the most popular figures with the Republican base aren’t leaders like Boehner and McConnell. The Republicans who light up conservative crowds across the country are figures like Sen. Ted Cruz.
The base of the party doesn’t want a functioning government. They are upset with the party leadership because they think McConnell and Boehner should have obstructed Obama more than they have. Boehner seems to want a House that can do things, while the base thinks that the House should be doing less.
This disconnect is why Republicans continue to struggle to win elections that don’t involve gerrymandered districts. The Republican Party is far from united. It looks like Boehner isn’t going to get the number of Republican House pickups that he needs to neuter the tea party, but his campaign against members of his own party has been close to all out warfare.
Boehner’s begging is a reminder that it isn’t Washington that is broken. It’s the Republican Party that is a complete mess.