With each passing day we get more and more evidence that today’s Party (as David Frum and others have noted) is increasingly under the control of the Tea Party movement and their representatives in the House of Representatives and of talk show hosts whose attitudes and comments can be relied on to forshadow arguments or actions GOPers will use or do. And now we have the latest: a move by the Republican leadership in the House to fund the government while putting Obamacare to a separate vote has died because conservatives wouldn’t go along with it. They’re using the word “postponed” and perhaps it will rise from the political grave. But hard-line-conservatives now view compromise and consensus as vices, not as political tools that can foster better widely accepted governance.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement, which is published in full on Talking Points Memo:
“Today, the Republican record of dysfunction and disarray reached a new low. Republican leaders spent all week pledging to jam through a temporary funding measure that defunds the Affordable Care Act, wreaks havoc on Medicare, and extends the life of the Republican sequester. But division in their own ranks scuttled this latest gambit and upended this doomed strategy.
“The American people are witnessing yet another sign that Republicans can’t get their own act together, even when a government shutdown hangs in the balance. Now, they’ve simply wasted more time on partisan political games while refusing to work with Democrats to achieve positive results for America’s families and middle class.
“Americans do not need another Republican-manufactured crisis. Democrats agree. We are committed to enacting a plan to end the sequester, create jobs, and grow the economy now. It’s time for Republicans to work with us to keep the government’s doors open and get the job done.”
The problem is that many of these Republicans view closing down the government and in effect threatening to disrupt the lives of thousands of Americans and even damage the economy as a valid political tool. If you don’t accept consensus and starting points then all you have to use are power politics where you don’t care what others thing. You do whatever you have to do — to heck with collateral damage to little thingees like people who need benefit checks or the impact on the economy — so your political sports team wins and so you can give those high fives among your team members the day after.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.