Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tea Party Two-Step

To a 1970s' hit tune, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," the GOP and their new best friends are dancing in the aisles these days, looking past November to sashaying into the White House in 2012.

"It may be," President Obama said recently, "that regardless of what happens after this election, they feel more responsible." If he believes that, Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, has a sneak preview for him of the next two years:

"Look, the time to go along and get along is over. House Republicans know that. We’ve taken firm and principled stands against their big government plans throughout this Congress, and we’ve got...a cavalry of men and women headed to Washington, D.C. that are going to stand with us."

Translation: "No" will harden into "Hell, no!" As a majority, the GOP's "firm and principled stands" will make the gridlock after 1994 look like an action movie. With the sole goal of unseating a Democratic President, as it was back then, Republicans will have Tea Party accomplices in their (pace Hillary Clinton) vaster right-wing conspiracy.

What's different now is that, added to the traditional two-party struggle for power, will be a sizable fringe caucus that won't abide by the usual rules of the game.

With Christine O'Donnell as an example, it's clear that Republicans have developed remarkable tolerance for "nut job" candidates, as Meghan McCain puts it. But limits will be tested by such new voices as the Republican contender for a Texas House seat espousing violent overthrow of the government.

“If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary,” Stephen Broden declares, pointing to the founding fathers' uprising against Britain.

Asked if violence is the answer now, Broden explains, "The option is on the table. However, it is not the first option." What a relief!

A new poll by Newsweek shows Democrats closing the "enthusiasm gap" with the President's approval ratings rising. Not a moment too soon, because from here to 2012, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Update: Pence, the poster boy for GOP-Tea Party obstruction, has his eye on 2012, letting out word that Congressional House leadership may not be enough for him with the White House available for tenancy. The political Right is running amok with delusions of adequacy.

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