Thursday, October 08, 2015

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE GOP MODERATES...

Conservatism eats another one of its own:
Representative Kevin McCarthy on Thursday abruptly took himself out of the race to succeed John A. Boehner as House speaker, apparently undone by the same forces that drove Mr. Boehner to resign.

... Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, said that in dropping out of race, Mr. McCarthy said, “I’m not the one to unify the party.”

A group of about 40 hard-line House conservatives announced Wednesday night that they would support Representative Daniel Webster of Florida, making it unclear whether Mr. McCarthy, who is from California, could assemble the 218 votes on the floor that he would need to be elected later this month.

The decision put the House of Representatives into a state of disarray....
When I read this, one of the first things that came to mind was a seemingly unrelated story that appeared in The Hill about a week ago:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell joked that he identifies as a Republican to annoy the GOP’s right-wing.

“Yes, I’m still a Republican,” he said about his party affiliation during the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, D.C., according to the Daily Mail.

“I want to continue to be a Republican because it annoys them,” Powell quipped to host Walter Isaacson.

“I think the party has shifted much further right than where the country is and it should be obvious to party leaders that they cannot keep saying and doing the things that they were doing and hope to be successful in national-level election in the future, not just in 2016,” he added.
But here's the problem: The Republican Party doesn't care. The party in recent years has made its right-centrists -- Powell, Christie Whitman, William Weld -- increasingly unwelcome. And they did nothing to fight back, except occasionally stamp an ineffectual foot:



They ceded unchallenged control of the party to a mix of bomb-throwing radicals and conservatives who ceded power to those radicals while holding them just enough in check that they only burned some of the government (and the country) down.

And now we see that that wasn't enough for the radicals.McCarthy's fellow "Young Gun" Eric Cantor was primaried out of a job. Boehner fell on his sword to avoid having the zealots turn that sword on him. Hard-right presidential wannabes -- Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz -- have struggled as nihilist know-nothings such as Ben Carson and Donald Trump call for gun vigilantism, immigrant-bashing, and an unconstitutional religious test for the presidency.



Paul Ryan was the running mate Mitt Romney picked to shore up his conservative cred; he announced that he was going to give a nominating speech for McCarthy, but that didn't help. Dick Cheney was the hardest of the hardcore hawks in the last Repulican administration, serving a President Bush whose Oedipal battle against his father was clearly a rejection of right-centrism; Cheney endorsed McCarthy, but that didn't help.

I've long believed that, at some time in the past few years, Colin Powell should have called a press conference, along with other GOP right-centrists, to announce that the party was going in a dangerously radical direction and they were all severing their Republican ties. Powell has been one of America's most admired men for a generation; if he, Whitman, Weld, and others had done this, attention might have been paid.

But it's too late now. The GOP has purged the right-centrists and is in the process of purging everyone who's not the political equivalent of a terrorist. I have no idea where this ends.

12 comments:

Ray Lankford Fan said...

I can see the Scarboroughs and Bais of the world saying it now:

"How is this any different from when Democrats primaried Joe Liebermann?"

Sweet Sue said...

Tweety Matthews had already pulled the "both parties" bullshit.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I think this is another harbinger of doom for Jeb. He's been looking like a loser for a while now but, unless he dropped out because of scandal, this McCarthy mess really underscores the weakness of the GOP establishment. If they can't manage the Speaker transition, how are they going to save Jeb? It is hard for me to imagine his exit strategy -- how does a Bush explain losing so ignobly? -- but it sure is looking more likely everyday.

Professor Chaos said...

I look forward to the presidential ticket The Devil and Daniel Webster!

Blackstone said...

2 of the 3 Young Guns in that photo have "gone down in a blaze of glory" If Paul Ryan wants to keep his street cred he wont go near the Speakership

CWolf said...

Really?
I think McCarthy dropped out BC he got caught
being a male slut with another congress-critter.

CWolf said...

Powell has been one of America's most admired men for a generation...

Mind if I call BS on that.
I personally loathe the creep for his Iraq war cheer-leading and baldfaced lying in front of the UN.
The other side hates him because he stopped lying about Iraq.

Steve M. said...

Pollsters haven't polled Powell in quite a few years, but in 2009 he still had a 70% approval rating.

peabody nobis said...

@Steve M.-And what was Hillary polling at before the BENGHAZI!/e-mail committees?
It's easy to have high poll numbers when you're not running for anything...

Theo said...

I'll agree with CWolf. Powell's poll numbers represent an idealized view of him, much like many Republicans have a mythical view of Reagan, but would probably choke on the things he actually did. I read Powell's autobiography back in the 1990s. It was really interesting and I enjoyed it; Powell came across as a great guy with a good sense of humor. However, when you look at the things he's been involved with and participated in over the years, the picture is not so flattering.

Which brings me to Whitman. As head of the EPA under Bush, she was ultimately responsible for the falsifying of the air quality measurements at Ground Zero. She participated in a corrupt Administration and I'm not willing to cut her any slack any more than I am for Powell.

Steve M. said...

You're right about Whitman -- but again, you're missing the point: whatever their misdeeds and failings, these people are perceived as serious elder statesmen and -women by much of the public and the mainstream media.

You ask what would have happened if Powell had run for office. It's irrelevant -- he didn't. He still has his glow, deserved or not. Attention really might have been paid.

Roger said...

What C_Wolf said. Are there people still who admire Colin Powell? His performance at the UN speech was awful. I don't care how loyal to his commander-in-chief he felt he needed to be, he was so obviously lying and the evidence was so evidently false that it was an embarrassment. I'm retired Army, and for years before that I admired General Powell as a man of integrity who had restored some honor to a broken military. A man who had brought an understanding of war back to an officer corps who had become managers instead of warriors. Since that day I cannot even feel sympathy for him.