In an interview that will air on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday night, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel waded into the civil war that is going on within the Republican Party. Emanuel refused to identify the tea partiers by name, but he described the state of the GOP as being, “at the behest of a fringe group that’s taken control of their own party and their own leaders are scared of it.”
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Katie Couric asked, “Do the midterm elections keep you up at night at all?” Emanuel answered, “No. You won’t know for a while. I think The Republicans have a level of energy but inside that energy they have their own problem and fissures. They’re basically at the behest of a fringe group that’s taken control of their own party and their own leaders are scared of it.” Couric asked if he was referring to the tea party movement, and Emanuel said, “I can give a more pertinent, a more informed answer in June and July.” (In other words, yes).
Emanuel is correct. The Republican Party is a mess, and if the economy was doing better right now, Democrats would be looking forward to expanding their majorities in November, but bad economic times always put incumbents in danger, and right now, Democrats have more incumbents than Republicans. The Republican Party still has no leadership, and the party establishment is dealing with a Tea Party insurgency.
The right wing has been waiting for decades for their chance to take over the GOP, and the election of Barack Obama along with the repeated failings of the RNC opened the door wide for them. In the long term, the Tea Partiers pose very little threat to the Democrats. They are so far to the right that if they do take over the GOP, the tea party movement will be giving the middle of the political spectrum to Democrats. A tea party overthrow of the GOP would be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party in decades. Emanuel may not say it, but it is the truth.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association