Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reality Break for Tea Party and Palin

In these Alice-in-Wonderland days, occasional signs of sanity emerge, such as the Democratic victory in a traditionally Republican upstate New York House district, fueled by voter worries about Medicare and a Tea Party candidate on the ballot drawing just enough votes to make the difference.

This used to be known as shooting yourself in the foot, but that won’t deter John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and other House GOP leaders, who contributed to the loser’s campaign, from pressing their hopelessly ideological agenda on the national stage.

Posturing has become all--reality seems beside the point. Never mind that three Senate Republicans—Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins—are not supporting the House zealots, eliminating any possible chance of victory on the House budget manifesto. Politics has morphed from the art of the possible to proclamations of purity.

This same kind of loony disconnection from what most Americans call reality can be seen in a new Sarah Palin movie, intended to “catapult her from the presidential afterthought she has become in the eyes of many pundits directly to the front lines of the 2012 GOP conversation.”

The film’s thesis is that Palin drove the Republican Congressional victory in 2010, when a sober analysis shows that, if the GOP had nominated more plausible Senate candidates than Palin-backed Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Linda McMahon in Connecticut, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Carly Fiorina in California, they might have swept both houses of Congress. Even in Alaska, Lisa Murkowski overcame a Palin vendetta with a write-in effort to beat Joe Miller.

But crazy and clueless are still the specials on the Republican menu, and what voters want only occasionally appears as a side dish. Until the Tea Party is over, they are going to have to find ways of ordering a la carte.

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