Update: Here we are, four months later in July, and even though the House managed to force through an abomination on their second or third attempt, the Senate fell prey to exactly the same problem the House had: The bill was too extreme for the moderates and too moderate for the extremists. The Republican Party is incapable of governing because they no longer know how.
Back in 2010, the Republicans engineered a takeover of state houses across the country. The goal, aside from controlling the state, was to take advantage of the census to gerrymander into existence a permanent Republican majority in the House. It was a cynical, deeply undemocratic manipulation of the system and it worked. Sort of.
On Friday, the end result of this sleazy manipulation rendered the GOP-controlled executive and legislative branches completely impotent, dealing a humiliating defeat to both the Republican Party and Donald Trump. Frankly, it was the funniest thing I've seen in years. Then I read about how impotent the Trump White House was this morning and started laughing even harder:
When the balky hardliners of the House Freedom Caucus visited the White House earlier this week, this was Steve Bannon's opening line, according to people in the conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building:
"Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill."
One of the members replied: "You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either."
Take a moment to bask in the glory of this karmic retribution. In order to abuse the system to gerrymander themselves an unearned majority, Republicans had to create districts so red, the only people they would elect were living, breathing caricatures of America conservatism. These are districts with voters so brainwashed by Fox News and AM Hate Radio that they literally believed Obama was here to bring about the end times. Not figuratively, literally.
The problem is that when you give power to extremists that only answer to the other extremists that vote for them, you cannot control them in any way whatsoever. So when Steve Bannon waltzes in and starts making demands, the first, second and third reactions are going to be, "Who the fuck do you think you are, you little pissant?" And that's exactly what happened. The House Freedom Caucus told Trump and Bannon to shove their threats up their asses and there's not a damn thing they can do about it.
In 2009, Republicans made a deal with the Devil: They would allow the ugliest, craziest, most racist faction of the conservative movement to run rampant and ride their rage back to power. This combination of hate and ignorance was called the Tea Party and Republicans jumped aboard the crazy train and held on for dear life. In the process, they surrendered every single one of their principles, whatever tiny shred of integrity they had left, their ability to govern in any way at all and even lost control of their party to Donald fucking Trump. And in the end, they took total control of the government but they still can't get anything passed unless a few dozen rabid extremists say so.
Going forward, the only bills that will get through the House Freedom Caucus will be the most regressive, brutish and sadistic bills imaginable. Unless it severely punishes the poor, the sick and the elderly while kicking Planned Parenthood's puppy, nothing is coming out of the House. And anything that does will be so toxic to Senate Republicans that they won't touch it, even with the ten foot pole Trump uses to beat Sean Spicer after every press conference. That means whatever Republicans, you know, the party that controls the entire Congress and the White House, do manage to pass will be things that most of the country will hate, like massive tax cuts for the rich or decimating Social Security.
So either Republicans pass laws that will enrage most of the country, try, and then fail in a humiliating display of incompetence, to pass laws that will enrage most of the country or pass nothing and enrage their base. Any of these option results in electoral suicide and it's all thanks to the House Freedom Caucus that only exists because Republicans rigged the elections.
Schadenfreude doesn't begin to cover how delicious it is to watch the GOP expose how utterly incapable they are of governing like grown ups. And considering that Trump and Bannon are petulant brats that will never back down, expect the infighting to get more vicious and intense.
There are 590 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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