The Republican Party is a house divided. The divisiveness within party ranks has become toxic to the point of driving Speaker Boehner into early retirement and forcing his presumed successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to withdraw his name from consideration.
Tonight the Republican House Caucus is scheduled to meet behind closed doors. Their goal this evening is to find enough common ground to elect a new Speaker of the House. Budget Chair Paul Ryan appears to be the only candidate on whom the Party can agree. But Ryan is a reluctant candidate and will only assume the thrown if certain conditions are met. If the Party can’t coalesce around Ryan then there is no telling what happens next.
The reality here is that Republican Party is on the verge of being destroyed from within. There is a genuine anger within the membership that may only be exceeded by the level of distrust felt toward the leadership.
The toxic atmosphere that permeates the Republican Caucus today is not a new phenomenon. It is an unhealthy environment that has been brewing for quite some time.
We saw the first glimpses of dissatisfaction acted out in protests by the Tea Party Republicans. As the anger and frustration grew incumbent candidates not deemed conservative enough found themselves facing primary challenges in the midterms from Tea party sponsored candidates. Today outsiders Trump, Carson and Fiorina dominate the polls while establishment candidates like Bush, Rubio and Kasich struggle to gain traction.
The other day I watched as a panel of veteran pundits struggled to make sense of the groundswell of opposition that has overtaken the Party. The answer is really quite simple.
The Republican establishment has spent the better part of the last 30 years lying to its base. Republican leadership has consistently failed to deliver on promises of lower taxes, lower deficits, less debt, less regulation and reducing the size of the federal government. To the contrary, once rewarded by the voters, Republican lawmakers tend to increase the debt and deficit. George H. W. Bush told the base to read his lips: “No new taxes.” Then proceeded to raise them anyway. Ronald Reagan raised taxes nine times during his two terms in office. Bush 43 led us into two unfunded wars and orchestrated a prescription drug plan for seniors that is the largest social welfare program in the history of the republic. His conservative leadership burned through a $500 billion surplus and left the country with a $5 trillion dollar debt.
The conservative base is mad as hell; and today they are doing something about it.
Three months ago the Republican establishment scoffed at the campaigns of "outsiders" Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Today those same naysayers grudgingly admit that Trump or Carson could actually win their party’s nomination. They also admit that should Trump or Carson prevail there most assuredly will be a Democrat in the White House for the next eight years.
The Republican Party is in serious trouble. The first positive step toward righting the ship would be to appoint an adult like Paul Ryan Speaker. That would require something absent among the Party ranks for quite some time. Compromise!