Holding Their Breath
It’s truly remarkable. The Republican Party will not move away from its one big idea: No new taxes. Ever.
After losing in November, Republicans appear to have chosen David Farragut as their source of inspiration. “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead,” they shout. Then, like children, they hold their breath until they turn blue — or red.
Public opinion isn’t on their side. Robert Reich writes:
Public opinion is already running strongly in favor of President Obama and the Democrats, and against the GOP. In the latest CNN/ORC poll, 48 percent say they’ll blame Republicans if no deal is reached while 37 percent blame Obama. Confidence in congressional Republicans is hovering at about 30 percent; Obama is enjoying the confidence of 46 percent. And over half of all Americans think the GOP is too extreme.
Yet Republicans haven’t budged. The fact is, they may not care a hoot about the opinions of most Americans.
If you are wondering why they are unmoved by anyone or anything, consider Reich’s explanation for what is happening:
The national party is in disarray. Boehner isn’t worried about a challenge to his leadership; no challenger has emerged. The real issue is neither he nor anyone else is in charge of the GOP. Romney’s loss, along with the erosion of their majority in the House and Democratic gains in the Senate, has left a vacuum at the top.
House Republicans don’t run nationally. They run only in their own districts — which, because of gerrymandering, are growing even more purely Republican. Their major concern is being reelected in 2014, and their biggest potential obstacle in their way is a primary challenge from the right.
What Americans are witnessing is the triumph of Tip O’Neill’s dictum: All politics is local. The parochial trumps the national. They are no longer all in this together.
Rest assured. There will be a reckoning.