Please, God. Purty Please? Let the so-called civil war in the Republican Party—between the establishment extremists and the anti-establishment extremists—continue until both sides are nothing but rotting corpses on the electoral battlefield. Amen.
If you doubt the accuracy of my characterization of feuding Republicans—the fight is over whether to shutdown the government in order to kill ObamaCare—as “establishment extremists” versus “anti-establishment extremists,” then you don’t know these people very well. They are all extremists on this issue.
Just this morning on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough was pretending to be a sensible conservative by suggesting it was nuts for Republicans to shutdown the government in order to defund the Affordable Care Act. He cited several other conservatives he considers sensible, including Charles Krauthammer, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn, all of whom have come out against the shutdown strategy.
Now, if you are citing Krauthammer, Walker, and Coburn—all extremists in one way or another—as sensible, level-headed conservatives, then the Republican Party no longer has in its membership any sensible, level-headed conservatives.
And to demonstrate that more clearly, Joe Scarborough added this comment to the mix:
Krauthammer, myself, Scott Walker, Tom Coburn, we’d all support shutting down the government, if shutting down the government would end ObamaCare. It won’t end ObamaCare, it will just end conservative chances of winning in 2014.
Think about how radical and extreme Scarborough’s suggestion is, particularly coming from someone who fancies himself—and others do too—a common-sense conservative and who gets much flack from the Neolithic wing of the GOP for some of the stands he has taken.
Scarborough would actually support shutting down the government—sabotaging the well-being of the country—if it would achieve for Republicans what they couldn’t achieve at the ballot box and if it weren’t so politically perilous.
That, my friends, is a kind of radicalism that shouldn’t be ignored. It may be ever-so-slightly to the left of Ted Cruz and Rush Limbaugh, but it is way, way out there. As I said, when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, these folks are all extremists. They all want to kill it, bury it, and piss on its grave. The only argument is over how to put it to death: suddenly, with a government-shutdown bomb in October, or slowly poison it over time?
In the mean time, for all the talk of killing the Affordable Care Act, for all the votes cast in the House of Representatives to lynch ObamaCare, Republicans offer nothing, absolutely nothing, to replace it. You know why? Because, as Wonkblog’s Dylan Matthews pointed out recently:
Obamacare bears a heavy resemblance to basically every real universal health-care plan that Republican legislators have proposed in the past half century, including the Patients’ Choice Act, Sen. John Chafee’s (R-R.I.) plan offered as an alternative to Hillarycare in 1993, and the universal plan Richard Nixon offered at the end of his presidency.
Rightly or wrongly, Democrats have adopted Republican ideas on how to reform the healthcare system. And now not only are Republicans fresh out of ideas, they are all—every last one of them—viciously attacking their own schemes.
If that ain’t extremism, tell me what is.