Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I know I'm supposed to believe that shutting down the government is going to be a disaster for the Republican Party -- respectable (i.e., non-Rasmussen) polls make clear that the public will blame the GOP, and even mainstream Republicans recognize the risks -- but I don't think it's going to do any serious harm to the conservative movement.

One obvious reason is that groups such as the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and the Senate Conservatives Fund are using this moment to fund-raise like crazy. This is the money that's going to bankroll Republican campaigns in 2014 and 2016.

But beyond that is the fact that even a terrible hit for the GOP in the 2014 elections will probably not reduce Republican extremism at all. Democrats need a gain of 17 seats in the House to regain the majority. Even in 1998, the much-mocked, Gingrich-led, impeachment-mad House GOP lost only five seats. And a government shutdown before the 1996 election led to GOP losses in the House of only two seats. Are Dems going to win an extra 17? Not when we're reading that, because of gerrymandering and clustering of voters, Democrats would need to win the overall House vote by a 13-point margin in order to accomplish that, according to Alan Abramowitz of Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. (Right now, no pollster thinks Democrats are even close to that on the "generic ballot" question.)

So the House is almost certainly going to stay Republican. And the Senate? As long as the GOP maintains at least a 41-vote superminority (the GOP has 45 seats now, and is more likely to gain seats than lose any), it can filibuster its way to a stranglehold on any legislation.

And remember, there might be fewer Republicans in the next Congress, but there are going to be more crazy Republicans. This situation is raising big bucks for the groups that are going to back crazy primary challengers for "establishment" Republicans. And since most GOP seats, in the House and the Senate, will stay GOP no matter who wins the primaries, that's going to up the crazy quotient even if it decreases GOP numbers slightly.

So the result of what's going to look like a debacle for the GOP will be a shot of testosterone for the party's crazy wing. And since the party will have approximately as much power in the next Congress as it does now, total wingnuttery in Congress will actually increase. Thus, shutting down the government is a perfectly rational strategy for the barking-lutanic wing of the GOP.


UPDATE: DougJ beat me to this.


Nefer said...

Well, poop. That was depressing. And sadly really plausible sounding.

Victor said...

While eventually, the Republican Party will death-spiral into a NON-black hole - in the process, they will suck this nation into full Banana Republic status:
A well-armed Banana Republic, like those South and Central countries we supported, back in the Cold War era.
You know, the ones where the rich were protected by armed guards, whether they were home, or on the road.
And the rest of the people lived in abject poverty.


Skippy-san said...

Its when I read things like this that I truly fear for the Republic.

The heart of the teabagger movement is an ill informed electorate manipulated by unscrupulous rich people. They don't care about the consequences of the chaos they unleash-only about the cash flow enroute.

And as for the ignorant people who believe this nonsense? Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son.

Victor said...

You forgot the word 'religious,' to go along with "fat, drunk and stupid."

Most of the Teabaggers are uber-Christians.

Which doesn't mean that they actually read the New Testament.

Because, just like with the Constitution they claim to revere, if they DID indeed read it, it doesn't mean that they understood one word of it.

Ten Bears said...

They can't read, Vic. Hence...

No fear.