Karl and the Baggers

Obama Administration

The Karl Rove vs. Teabagger fracas is a ton of fun to watch. But, as Charles Blow writes, “The skirmish speaks to a broader problem: a party that has lost its way and can’t rally around a unified, coherent vision of what it wants to be when it grows up.”

Josh Marshall published a letter from a one-time GOP staffer that is very much worth reading. The letter writer points out that for all the drama and angst and name calling going on, the GOP establishment and the baggers really aren’t that far apart on issues. What’s really eating them is something else.

Neither side in this putative civil war has been willing to reckon honestly with the consequences of the Bush administration for the country (substantively) or the Republican Party (politically). Both do their best to present their views to the public as if the last Republican President had never existed. This has left both groups of activists somewhat unmoored; in politics, you talk ideology and principles when you can’t brag about accomplishments, because voters are a lot better at relating the latter to their own lives.

Since neither the Tea Party types or the big donors and the campaign operatives working for them are thinking of repudiating a Republican administration that lost two wars and wrecked the economy, they are left to air their differences on issues no one besides campaign junkies cares about. The self-styled conservatives complain that Rove and his people say mean things about them; the moneybags wing is dedicated to recruiting candidates who will avoid gaffes. Big deal.

They are not only not repudiating Dubya for the bad consequences; they are not even willing to admit there were bad consequences. And, Steve M says, why would they? Their “ideas” are still considered the mainstream.

Yes, the tax cuts are unsustainable, but they’re now sacrosanct — Republicans wanted to make them all permanent, while Democrats have insisted on locking them in for everyone but the rich. Government-sanctioned torture, once unthinkable, is now celebrated in movies and on TV, and much of what’s worst about America’s post-9/11 foreign policy — Gitmo, rendition, indefinite detention — is still in place. In fact, Republicans are talking about Chuck Hagel as if the neocons were right about Al Qaeda and Iraq, and are right about Iran right now — and they’re getting away with it, because not enough Americans have learned to feel disgust for them.

(Regarding the Hagel hearings, I doubt most Americans were paying that much attention. Probably many of wouldn’t know whether “Chuck Hagel” was a former senator or Roy Rogers’ sidekick. But a majority have figured out Iraq was a mistake.)

So stock up on popcorn, folks. This show ain’t gonna be over anytime soon.

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  1. justme277  •  Feb 10, 2013 @2:31 am

    Ok from what I see it looks a little more simple- tea baggers are willing to run on crazy and rove is willing to run crazy he just expects the candidate to lie and be slick about their actual views. No doubt this has rubbed the tiny tea bagger ego the wrong way since they think their own ideals are so brillant they should be on billboards..now rove wants them to lie- lets stop calling it re- packaging, that is utter nonsense, he flat out expects them to lie to make them something the voter wont puke back up after being spoon fed. Which of them are a greater danger? Personally I say the dishonest “re packaging ” crowd – it worked for bush. Time will pass and people will forget and they will buy into it again I fear.

    The main thing to know about all this is it is just a show for the public entertainment.Nothing is going to change no matter what they say. In the end both sides will get behind whatever candidate and they will both trip over each other smearing lipstick on the pig.

    Right now what you see are the people who believe that they have these grand ideals which are really really bad and on the other side you have the people of fake, made up ideals who are just for sale to the highest bidder.Neither combined are fit to lead anyone to the linen closet for a new roll of tissue.Don’t look for that to change. All the left needs to do is make sure voters continue to see them for exactly what they are.

  2. erinyes  •  Feb 10, 2013 @7:15 am


    This article fits well with your post.
    What a toxic brew;the mad hatters of the Tea Party, the William F. Buckley-ites, the southern fried Bible beaters, and the neocon Israel firsters all together at a big ball. What could go wrong?

    This is more fun than floating in a fijord waiting for a glacier to calf. What WILL the baby look like?

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 10, 2013 @8:50 am

    The Republican “baby,” as it’s going through it’s re-birthing phase right now, has 4 ugly “heads,” all fighting for domination: A couple of handfuls of leftover stale old-school, money-first Republicans, the Jesus-freaks, the Birchers, and the Neocons.

    4 heads – and no brains.

    As long as no bullets are fired my way, I feel like a neighbor who can watch the Hatfields and the McCoys plugging away at one another in their feud, and enjoying the fact that they’re feuding over, well, essentially nothing, since the families believe in the pretty much the same things, and have inter-married and inbred to the point of being indistinguishabe from each other, except for their last names.

    Today, ALL Republicans are money-worshipping, Jesus-loving, war-fiends, and Bircher-freaks.
    The only question is, how they want to label themselves.

    Unless they tell me, I can’t tell anymore what team these people are on – they’re all malignant douchebags to me.

    So frankly, I don’t give a sh*t.
    Let them shoot away at at each other, and when they’re done with one another, we can bury the whole lot in unmarked graves.
    But we’ll have to tell generations of children to stay out of that part of the cemetery, for fear that those brainless corpses will rise from their graves as either Zombies looking for the brains that they never had in life, or malicious and malignant Poltergeists, who, like when they were alive, love to create havoc and disaster, just for the pure joy they get out of it, and the sheer hardship and terror they can cause.

    All we need to do while they’re having their Civil War, isgjust sit back and enjoy it. And keep some popcorn handy – oh, and a nice adult beverage every once in awhile to go with it, won’t hurt us none.

  4. Tom B  •  Feb 10, 2013 @9:21 am

    Considering the recent crew (Romney, Cain, Santorum, etc) all looked even LESS capable than Bush, I’d say they have a big hill to climb.

  5. Doug  •  Feb 10, 2013 @9:46 am

    Yes – there is no significant difference between Rove and the Tea Party in policy. There is a difference in perception. Rove knows they lost the last election because independent voters GOT the message. The message was hostile to women – to Hispanics – to the lower 47%. Here’s the key point. Neither Rove nor the Tea Party wants to change the policy, but Rove wants to disguise the hostility of the GOP for women, minorities and the poor. Disguise. The Tea Party thinks the message and the policy is mainstream and they want to elevate the crazy for the next election.

    The corollary is blame. Rove needs to BLAME someone else for the failure of the last election or he won’t be able to raise money for the next election. I’m not suggesting Rove is just in it for the money – he’s a power junkie. As long as he wields huge sums of reelection cash, he can shape policy. Rove isn’t reaching out to the party faithful or the GOP in Congress – he’s talking to the big donors. He’s saying you have to trust me or you have to trust them and those idiots in the Tea Party can’t field a team who won’t fumble the ball.

    Make no mistake – the goal for the Tea Party Puppet Masters and Karl Rove is identical. Abortion and immigration are side-show issues to draw the suckers. Neuter the federal government and organized labor – shift the tax burden to the workers instead of the owners. Make this new status permanent for the aristocracy. Everything else is trivia.

  6. maha  •  Feb 10, 2013 @10:11 am

    Make no mistake – the goal for the Tea Party Puppet Masters and Karl Rove is identical. Abortion and immigration are side-show issues to draw the suckers. Neuter the federal government and organized labor – shift the tax burden to the workers instead of the owners. Make this new status permanent for the aristocracy. Everything else is trivia.

    Yep. And the only difference between “extremists” and “moderates” in today’s GOP is that the moderates know to keep it in their pants in public, so to speak.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 10, 2013 @10:02 am

    OT: And hysterical and pathetic at the same time – Dick Cheney, the leader of “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” criticizes President Obama’s national security team:


    No surprise – Dick’s still a shameless dick.

  8. Bill Bush  •  Feb 10, 2013 @10:37 am

    This is a moment the mainstream Democrats are utterly failing to maximize. They should be running a joke show about the Republicans and their lies. Make them laughable and you make them powerless.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 10, 2013 @10:42 am

    I’m having fun watching ‘the party of victimization’ split in two, with both sides of the same coin trying to be the biggest victim of ‘victimization.’

    I think the GOP, as a national party, is just about done.
    Soon – but not quite yet.
    They’ll still do tons of damage in their own Red States, and in the US House until they lose their majority there.
    Time will tell, as to how fast the GOP becomes irrelevant nationally.
    Time, and Karl Rove’s efforts.
    Rove, evil schmuck though he may be, is smart enough to realize that loons like Akin and Mourdock were losers for the Republicans in 2012 in their battle to retake the Senate. And that running Tea Party darlings for the Senate, like Steve King in Iowa, and Michele Bachmann in Minnesota, and the focus that those two attention-craving lunatics will draw to the Republican Party nationally, to its detriment, will help to insure that the Republican Party is seen as less and less in touch with the legitimate concerns that people have – and thus, hasten its demise.
    So, I’m rooting for the Teabaggers in this battle between the inbred Hatfields and McCoys.

    I just hope that President Obama and the Democrats don’t do something stupid like propose raising the age eligibility of SS and Medicare, or cut benefits.
    Because then, whoever wins in their inbred Civil War, the Republicans can use that as a cudgel to beat the Democrats.
    And that, to me,as far as I can see, that is their only chances to regain power nationally.
    But, who knows…
    How many times have we seen the movie where the hero’s apparently kill the villain, and we think it’s over, only to have that villain rise back up, and kill again.

  10. Dan  •  Feb 10, 2013 @12:40 pm

    Republicans, by nature, are ideologues (not all, but close enough). Ideology is rigid, which means that when problems are encountered, the real world and its interpretation must be adapted to the ideology. This takes a large measure of cleverness and mental gymnastics, which is part of what is going on in the Republican Party right now. But, it WILL be done (HAS to be done).

    It is left to the PR Department to turn each sow’s ear into a silk purse. And, let’s face it, the Republican Party has one superb PR Department!

  11. Stephen Stralka  •  Feb 10, 2013 @3:02 pm

    Here’s an idea. Suppose Fox News hadn’t blinked at the last moment and allowed reality to interfere with the fantasy they were projecting that Mitt Romney was going to win the election. Suppose they had reported that he did win the election, and then they went on to have him appoint a fake cabinet and stage a fake inauguration and so forth, and basically report the news as if Romney was president. How long would it take for the viewers to catch on?

    I don’t think it would really be in Fox’s interest to do that, but it does raise the possibility that the Tea Party could be sequestered, as it were, in their own separate reality that no longer impinges on our own. Then we can go ahead and let them think we’ve conquered Iran or whatever. They don’t need to know it’s all CGI.

    We have the technology, so it’s just a question of committing the resources. The fate of the nation may depend on it.

  12. Swami  •  Feb 10, 2013 @10:08 pm

    I’m not the only one paying attention to the Hagel hearings.. 🙂


    Sometimes comedy is the best way to express a truth.

  13. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 11, 2013 @7:30 am

    Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle!!!

    Pope Rat-faced-zinger (aka: BeneDICK) is resigning in a few weeks.
    He’s the first Pope to resign in almost 600 years.

    I’m not Catholic, and I really don’t care, except how it may affect about a billion people – but what if he’s being forced to resign, not because of the child schtupping scandal, but because, he’s not “Conservative enough?”

    Apparently,the reason he’s resigning is that he’s still reality based enough to realized that he’s getting too old for the job, and is resigning because he’s 85.
    Stay tuned, because be once of College of Papal Knowledge gathers in March, we’ll have nothing on the news stations except endless speculation from Catholics in-the-know, 24X7, until the (white?) smoke goes up the same chimney Santa slides down.

    So, get ready for “Papal-veiw.”

  14. gene108  •  Feb 11, 2013 @8:52 am

    “I think the GOP, as a national party, is just about done.”

    Same could be said about the Dems, since they aren’t very competitive in the South and West.

    “in the US House until they lose their majority there.”

    The Constitution is slanted to give rural/small states a disproportionate representation in D.C. Since most rural/small states tend to support Republicans, they have a structural advantage in Congress disproportionate to their national appeal.

    It’ll really take a massive wave election to dislodge the GOP.

  15. maha  •  Feb 11, 2013 @9:33 am

    Same could be said about the Dems, since they aren’t very competitive in the South and West.

    Except, if current demographic/voting trends continue, the Dems will become more competitive in the South in the not-too-distant future. There’s talk of Texas turning blue by 2024.

  16. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 11, 2013 @10:04 am

    In the South, a lot, if not most, of the major urban areas are Blue.

    In NC, Wilmington, Raleigh, Chapel Hill/Durham, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Asheville, and their nearby suburbs, are Blue areas sorrounded by a sea of rural Red counties/districts. But then, so are the cities in NY, PA, OH, WI, etc.

    Pardon me as I go OT- but as our climate continues to change for the worse, and cities continue to need a lot of water, we should expect some major Urban v. Rural battles over the rights to potable water.

    And while our rural Homeland ‘Murkins may not want to share their dwindling water resources with the city-slickers, unfortunately for them, most of the cities where us slickers live, are near major rivers, and large fresh-water lakes.

    The times, they may be a’changin’ – but not necessarily for the better.
    We’ll have to wait and see…