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When the Right Goes Very Wrong

The Huffington Post 9/10/2015 Robert J. Elisberg
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I know that I should write something deep and insightful about the mess that the Republican Party is having, trying to find a leader. (Take you pick about which division: choosing a presidential candidate, or picking a House Speaker.) But the best I can say is -- seriously, who didn't see this coming?
As I wrote a few weeks ago, when your party has spent seven years (or really, more...) pounding into its base that Washington Is Bad, that Big Government is Bad, that you shouldn't trust science, that you shouldn't trust what "Mainstream Media" tells you, that you shouldn't trust Harvard and all those Ivy League and high-falutin colleges and smart people who are too smart for their own good, and you should just have faith and trust in God...then, of course you end up with Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina as your leading presidential candidates.
And when you decry even the slightest form of compromise as totally unacceptable, when you insist on purity in your party, when you push everything as far to the right as you can, when anything that isn't lock-step with a specific and precise political philosophy is seen as being traitorous to The Cause -- then, of course you're going to be unable to find reasonable, even-minded, talented people willing to take over the now-thankless job of Speaker of the House, since it would only serve to ruin not only any political ambition they might have, but also the sanity and comfort of their life.
The Republican Party right now is in total disarray and chaos. And in all seriousness, who couldn't have seen this coming?
If you didn't see it coming when the Republicans were overjoyed with Sarah Palin as their Vice-Presidential nominee -- a heartbeat from the White House who couldn't answer what newspapers informed her and saw that as a "gotcha" question, who claimed the ability to see Russian airspace was her foreign-policy experience, who actually had to ask what the Vice President does -- you weren't paying attention. Just like the captain of the Titanic didn't see the tip of that iceberg. And it's been a downhill slide since then.
And how could you have expected otherwise?
How could you have expected anything other than it all leading to a Kevin McCarthy as the party's initial nominee for Speaker, who had difficulty speaking? Who spilled the beans about Special Committee on Benghazi actually being about attacking Hillary Clinton? Whose only bills he ever passed were naming two buildings? And this is who the Republican Party had moved up the ladder in position to become the third in line to the presidency?!
Of course this is the result.
This isn't to say that the GOP won't right the ship, whether soon or eventually, just that right now the party is on a raft spinning in a swirling whirlpool without a rudder.
And they did this to themselves. Intentionally.
By the way, lest we forget -- a mere year ago, just last November, the Republicans had everything all lined up perfectly, well-positioned for the future. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was the House Majority Leader and set to be the next Speaker of the House, and indeed a powerful and likely long-term one. And then for reasons known only to themselves, the far right voters in his home congressional district decided that the far right Cantor wasn't far right enough, and they actually voted him out in the GOP primary -- and not only voted him out, but petulantly replaced him with the very kind of person the far right tends to hate, an ivory tower college professor. (And if you need proof that God has an incredible sense of humor, that winning challenger, who had never participated in politics before, is named "Brat.")
For reasons unknown to man, conservatives seem to love politicians who have never been politicians before and therefore have literally no experience in politics. Zero. One only hopes that they don't use this same "total lack of experience" dynamic when choosing a surgeon. (And no, I'm not talking about Dr. Ben Carson.)
So, this whole mess of not being able to find a Speaker to lead the party in the House of Representatives could have been non-existent if only the GOP hadn't indoctrinated its base to hate politicians and demand total far-right purity.
And the whimsical irony of it all is that the very thing that caused this problem -- the near-inexplicable frenzy to get rid of John Boehner (R-OH) -- may actually bring about their worst fear. Because if no replacement can be found for Mr. Boehner, he may actually be forced to stick around in the job, and for a long time! As the saying goes: Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
And even if and when they figure out what to do with their House leader, Republicans still have to figure out what to do with the Trump-Carson-Fiorina disaster-in-waiting. The far right might love these totally inexperienced and clueless empty barrels, but if for some bizarre reason one of them actually gets on the top of the ticket for the general election as the face of the GOP, that sucking sound you'll hear is the entire Republican Party going down into a sinkhole. Because my observation is that most Americans actually care for America, more than hate Big Government, and they aren't about a entrust the welfare of our mutual country to an egomaniacal showman, a neurosurgeon, or a profoundly failed CEO.
The thing is, even if the GOP does come to its senses and nominate a real candidate, and even whenever they do name a real Speaker, those are two Band-Aids on a body of broken bones, because right now the Republican Party is dysfunctional at its foundation. And even if they win elections, it's still dysfunctional. And anyone who denies that, they're helping to cause this mess and keep it out of control, because until you acknowledge a problem, you can't fix it.
Until today's Republican Party accepts that America is a representative democracy which is by definition made up of different views, not a government of single purity; and that American politics is not a religious theocracy to impose moral beliefs, which is what church is for; and that government is improved by accomplished politicians leading at the top and not ones who've never done it before and have no idea what they're doing, just like any field is improved that way; and accept certain foundational realities like guns do actually kill people, and science doesn't deny God but expands our human understanding on Earth; and when you help others you help yourself; and if you are really Pro Life, then you should prove it every day here on Earth in your daily actions towards everyone, not just for unborn zygotes; and that the climate is really changing, and it's better to address it now rather than wait for nature to just do it itself in 10,000 years; there were no WMDs in Iraq; and that in the end, compromise is one of the ways mankind is kept happy, nurtured and in balance, resolving problems by working out the details so that we all can flourish as much as humanly possible...then the Republican Party will remain dysfunctional. However it might seem to succeed on the surface, at its core it will continue rotting away. Which is a hint of what we're seeing manifest itself now, rudderless.
And what will Democrats be doing in this time of utter disarray? I suspect they will be following the old adage -- if your enemies have forced a circle and are shooting at themselves, get out of the way and let them.

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To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.

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