Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.
We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.
— Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.

C-SPAN offers window into the demented mind

| The unbridled rage and petulant demands you see coming from House Republican members, on C-SPAN and elsewhere, shows all too clearly what happens when you disconnect yourself from reality.

The representative from Indiana is the poster child: He has to get "something" but he doesn't "know what that even is."

Prodded by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), the House Republicans attached a demand to "defund Obamacare" to a routine short-term continuing resolution to fund the government until a budget can be passed. Grover Norquist — yes, that Grover Norquist — noted yesterday that "He [Cruz] pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away. " (WonkBlog, Washington Post). Problem is, nobody took the time to figure out what would happen next.

Quelle surprise! The Democratic Senate and the Democratic President both said No. The subsequent chain of losing gimmicks should go into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a case-study in insanity. It was never going to work.

temper tantrum

Having painted themselves tightly into a corner the Republicans threw a temper tantrum because the Democrats would not "negotiate" with them to get them out of the mess they, the Republicans, had created.

Late Wednesday afternoon President Obama called the congressional leaders to the White House and, we are told, re-iterated that he was not about to negotiate, neither over the impasse over the continuing resolution nor the impending debt ceiling. Obama has obviously realized that he made a mistake in 2011 when he did negotiate over the debt ceiling and the stupid sequester was the result. I think he's also realized that if hostage-taking is allowed to succeed, there will be no end of it, so he's trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

It is beginning to look like the meeting in which Boehner faced the unmovable President and the unflappable Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had an effect. The New York Times is now reporting that Boehner has told House Republicans that he is willing to pass a measure with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes to avoid plunging the US into default. He has to know that his Speakership is on the line unless, in the meantime, he is able to get that "something" to prove to the hard-heads that they were not disrespected.

The hard-heads

The NYTimes recently published an article identifying the 20 hard-core hard-heads who are the insurrectionist cadre in the House Republican caucus:

Conservative cabal in House
The Republican cabal in the House engaging in insurrection against the US government
Michele Bachmann on Hannity

There's our old friend Michele Bachmann who appeared on Hannity (Fox "News") last night to proclaim, "This is about the happiest I’ve seen members in a long time because we’ve seen we’re starting to win this dialogue on a national level" (Mediaite.com). "Starting to win" is happening in her own mind only; CBS News has just released a poll showing that 72% disapprove of shutting down the government in a dispute over the Affordable Care Act; 44% put the blame squarely on the Republicans.

Steve King

There's also Steve King who recently achieved notoriety with his claim that Hispanic illegal immigrants have calves "the size of cantaloupes" because they've been packing bales of marijuana across the desert. Since King is from Iowa it's not clear where he gets his expertise on the calf-size of Mexicans, but that's his story and he's sticking to it.

After the government shut down, King rendered this verdict: "We’ve passed the witching hour of midnight, and the sky didn’t fall, nothing caved in."

Friend Jim has engaged me in a "colloquy" (see, I have been watching C-SPAN) about what to call this band of Tea Party extremists. Jim suggests "Tea Party Elites. They have money and power, so now they are the Elites. They revel in being Extremists; I think they will hate to be called Elites." The point about reveling in being extremists is will taken, but only one of these guys appears on Roll Call's list of the 50 richest people in the House (John Fleming at position 33).

50 richest people in the House
The 50 richest people in the House — they may be Representatives, but they are not representative

Mutants

I've been calling this Tea Party crowd "extremists" but as Jim rightly points out, they probably wear this epithet as a badge of courage. I've wanted to find a better word, one with with alliterative punch: Tea Party P. An odd synapse fired and the word "poltroon" flashed into my mind. "Tea Party Poltroons" has a nice ring to it, but unfortunately, when I looked the word up, I found that its meaning is "a spiritless coward." These guys aren't spiritless for sure. Stupid, irresponsible, insane maybe, but hardly cowards. A better word is needed. Indeed, Tea Party Poltroons would be a terrific name for the rest of the Republicans who refuse to stand up to these hard-heads.

What this bunch wants to do can be accurately described as mutiny, rebellion, insurgency, or misprision. I've decided on "Mutants": Tea Party Mutants. They are in fact engaging in a mutiny and they are a mutation of the Republican party. I know the two words (mutiny and mutation) are not related but I do like the word play.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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