Tea Party people, who adore Colonial times, are acting out another of its iconic stories, a 21st century version of a spectral beheaded figure terrorizing politicians with fear of losing theirs.
After the toppling of such a Senate stalwart as Utah’s Robert Bennett, the Republican Party itself is virtually headless, with Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney swiping at Chairman Michael Steele’s scalp while an unlikely coalition from Ron Paul and Ann Coulter to E. J. Dionne defends his misgivings if not his historically inaccurate maundering about Afghanistan.
Washington Irving’s tale lampooned early American fear and superstition with a ghostly foreign mercenary carrying his severed head driving off the local schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, while slyly suggesting with a shattered pumpkin at the site that it was all the dirty work of a rival for the hand of the local beauty
The current GOP split, emanating from the same dread of the unknown, is turning out to be a much more complicated story about social upheaval and primal lust.
Democrats, with their tenuous grip on Congress, have the most to lose this fall but what Republicans win could resemble that shattered pumpkin, a useless new crop of lawmakers elected not to solve problems but to resist spending money on any of them.
The now departing Sen, Robert Bennett sums it up: “My biggest concern is that we are not addressing the real issues…politics is divided between the great issues and the great diversions. And we’re spending all of the time arguing about the great diversions…