A couple of days ago we published a quickie year-end rundown of the best and worst moments of 2012, as decided and commented on by the very likely hungover staff here at the Daily Banter. My choice for the biggest loser of 2012 was the GOP and really the conservative mindset in general, mostly because they’ve both been hijacked by a bunch of resentful fringe crazies willing to burn the country to the ground to get their way and neither is serving the interests of decent, sane conservatives anymore.
Over the past few days, we’ve witnessed firsthand the impact that an imploded and rudderless political party can have on the country, a party full of petulant children bent only on obstructing and denying their opposition and not much else. The fiscal cliff negotiations were a farce from the very beginning, mostly because they never needed to happen in the first place. But what they turned into at the end — with the lunatic extremists in the House again playing hostage politics and Boehner again unable to sit on that zoo fraternity of his — practically defined a comedy of errors. It would’ve been hilarious if it weren’t so fucking sad and if the lives of so many people didn’t depend on the actions of a group that doesn’t deserve to govern and coincidentally isn’t really interested in governing anyway.
But the fiscal cliff nonsense doesn’t hold a candle to the fallout from the House’s refusal to vote on a $60.4 billion relief package for victims of Superstorm Sandy that had been approved by the Senate. Because while it’s entertaining to watch the hard-right insurgents among the Republican party rant and rave against what they say is a compromise that gutlessly caves to all of President Obama’s demands and which sells out true conservative values — and of course it’s a blast imagining a pompous country club hack like John Boehner sticking a finger in Harry Reid’s face and telling him to go fuck himself — watching some of the party’s heaviest hitters now taking their own leadership apart piece by piece on national television and not giving a damn how it looks or benefits the enemy is pure gold.
Half the Tea Party types bitching up a storm for any camera or Twitter-follower who’ll listen following the fiscal cliff deal are doing it just for the sake of chest-thumping, as a means of proving to their yokel constituency — or, in the case of guys like Newt Gingrich, to the perpetually pissed-off base that’s their bread and butter — that they’re true conservatives. It’s the political version of Oscar season, “For Your Consideration”-style showboating. But Chris Christie and Peter King are 100% sincere and serious as prison rape in their fury over their own party giving them and the people they represent the shaft.
It’s not every day you see a hard-right icon like King, a guy whose often extremist conservative bona fides are beyond reproach, saying flat-out that the people of New York and New Jersey who support GOP politics shouldn’t give a dime to the fundraising campaigns of congressional Republicans, not after how badly those Republicans screwed them. King intimated during a CNN interview this morning that he’d vote against letting Boehner keep his House speaker gig and basically raked the poor bastard over the coals so hard there are likely burn marks on his back.
And that was just the opening act for the main event: the Chris Christie afternoon press conference that could very well go down in modern political history as most thorough and potent drubbing a party’s ever taken from the inside. Christie didn’t just eviscerate the House Republicans, who he said were more concerned with palace intrigue than with actually getting anything done for the people they’re supposed to represent, he personally blamed Boehner and the GOP House specifically for leaving a shattered people and economy to twist in the wind in the wake of Sandy and said that he wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of the mouths of the people in Congress he happens to share a party affiliation with.
The fact that an attack this visceral came from Christie is what makes it so damaging. Sure, Christie’s never been one to mince words but that’s part of what’s made him such a political powerhouse and star within his party. The thing is, though, it’s Christie’s willingness to put country and the actual governing thereof over partisan politics when the situation demands it — as in when he effusively praised President Obama’s initial response to Sandy — that’s made him a political star in general, irrespective of party. People like Christie. He commands attention and respect from both sides of the aisle and is that unique figure in American politics who can call out childish antics in Washington with plainspoken anger and have that criticism be truly withering and resonant. I may not love Chris Christie’s policies for the most part, but there are times I can’t help but like him.
In a few minutes that every cable network was sure to carry and that would almost certainly be replayed over and over again on the internet, Chris Christie said what anyone with a brain and a working pair of eyes has known for months and months but what the conservative media complex would never have the balls to admit: the House Republicans, the people who essentially hold the only power the GOP has in government, are a fucking disaster. John Boehner’s a joke. Pouty obstruction over actual governance doesn’t work. These guys are a mess and our Congress isn’t fit to run a high school student council, much less the United States of America. They’ve abandoned our core ideals of being there for the citizenry when it needs leadership from its elected officials.
This is never what America was supposed to be. It’s not who we are. These people don’t represent us anymore.
I’d trade the buckets and buckets worth of popcorn entertainment provided by the House these days for a working government, thanks.
Toward the end of his news conference, Christie stated bluntly that he and Andrew Cuomo, despite being on opposite ends of the political spectrum, aren’t shrinking violets when it comes to taking care of the people who count on them. He said they have “resources” at their disposal in this ongoing fight.
You know, when the boss of New Jersey says something like that, it usually means somebody’s gonna end up in a shallow grave in the Pine Barrens.
Maybe Boehner should watch his back.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.