One of those political analysis by a pundit that hits enough of the right notes to sound true, but misses by a few degrees, There’s a New Political Story Line—and it’s Good for Republicans. Better to be two warring tribes than a single reviled one.
Now, let us stipulate that the government shutdown, however long-lived its repercussions turn out to be, was a Republican political failure on a truly grand scale. Moreover, the agents provocateurs were indeed the Tea Party darlings of the House and Senate, all of whom were happy to let the government close shop in their tilt against the Obamacare windmill, and some of whom may well have been willing to risk sovereign default to get their way (but most of whom would certainly have known that the political process was likely to spare them any consequences for their posturing to that effect).
Nevertheless, the new line among Democrats and progressives is actually a net positive for the GOP and the best thing (in fact, the only good thing) that has happened to the party over the past couple weeks. Because the Republican Party truly is divided now—between a majority that is as staunchly conservative as ever and a minority that is not merely staunchly conservative but manifestly radical in its aims and tactics. It does not hurt, but rather has the potential to help Republicans, for their opponents to acknowledge the division within the party and the status of the Tea Party faction as a very vocal minority.
The Tea Party faction is telling its own version of the same story, namely, that it fought the good fight and lost. But that’s another way of saying that the Tea Party does not have the political power within the GOP to prevail.
We fought the good fight is indeed the fable that conservatives are telling themselves. Tod Lindberg is correct, up to a point that there is a divide and the non-tea baggers won. Though what happened was more about who is in charge of the GOP. The shut-down was bad for business. Since forever or since Saint Ronnie you could draw a pie chart with conservatives who could mostly be in the culture war slice and conservatives who mostly fit in the far Right libertarian business slice. The latter is what has and still does have the last say on the conservative agenda. The business slice saw that the shut-down was costing them money. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is nothing more than a corrupt puppy of the coal industry stepped in and said enough is enough. The business wing of conservatism has always been willing to pander to the culture conservatives because legislation that gives government more control over women does not have much effect on wealthy conservative women, who will get whatever health care they want regardless of what Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants. There is no division between conservatives and the tea baggers that has not always been there. If you think their rhetoric is especially hateful or radical then you need to look back at the Clinton years ( the Hillary and Vince Foster murder conspiracy theory, the Bill Clinton Arkansas mafia that knocked off political enemies conspiracy theory, Bill Clinton was behind the Oklahoma bombing conspiracy theory). Or the George W. Bush years where everyone who disagreed with the invasion of Iraq was a terrorist sympathizers. The tea bags are the same nutbars who have always been in the circle jerk of conservative crazy. The only thing that might have changed is that a few more of them got elected and much of their wackness has become part and parcel of mainstream conservatism. If you’re not out there comparing Obamcare to slavery or Hitler you’re just not a real Republican. Does it benefit the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners (R-OH) to be able to lay off blame to some supposed division in the GOP, to make it seem like there is a somewhat moderate wing of conservatism that will appeal to independent voters in 2014. That is where Lindberg might be on to something. After all conservatives convinced themselves they did not blow up the economy in 2007 and invading Iraq was a great idea.
I have a question for Sarah Palin and other Obamacare haters. It is a rhetorical question, because being in touch with reality and not blinded by the worse kind of venal partisanship, I know the answer. When you use a private insurance web site or talk to customer service over the phone has your experience always been perfect. I know that it has not because i have worked with every kind of insurance company and their data bases and customer service. They have a good sized turn over ate in customer service personnel because of the burn out dealing with frustrated customers. This site has a possible five star rating for health insurance companies - look how many get one star. Palin: Obamacare website glitches are a feature, not a bug, and will push U.S. into socialism. You mean that Congress will pass legislation making Marxist Medicare available to everyone? Oh my, that would be awful. That would be the Medicare that her and Todd will be filing for in a few years. The Palin family collected every public benefit they could get in Alaska, why isn’t it socialism when conservatives do it. That is one of the disturbing things about how tea bagger conservatives see values; giving millions of Americas more access to health care is some how immoral. The Palin families’ corruption is the new patriotism. Weird.
A good unbiased look at the ACA/Obamacare web site glitches, The Truth About the Obamacare Rollout The feds botched the website. But the states are doing much better.