I was going to write a thoughtful essay about where American politics may be going, but let's face it: I'm not all that thoughtful. So here are three interesting takes on things.
Felix Salmon at Reuters:
The problem is that, pace Weisenthal, you can’t just kill someone’s revolutionary nihilism. The Ted Cruz “filibuster” is a great example: it served no actual legislative purpose, and at the end of his idiotically long speech, Cruz ended up voting yes on the very bill he was trying to kill. That’s zombie politics, and the problem with zombies is that — being dead already — they’re incredibly hard to kill.
The point here is that the zombie army, a/k/a the Tea Party, is a movement, not a person — and it’s an aggressively anti-logical movement, at that. You can’t negotiate with a zombie — and neither can you wheel out some kind of clever syllogism which will convince a group of revolutionary nihilists that it’s a bad idea to get into a fight if you’re reasonably convinced that you’re going to lose it.
Yes, the President has won an important battle against the zombies. But while it’s possible to win a zombie battle, it’s never possible to win a zombie war. No matter how many individual zombies you dispatch, there will always be ten more where they came from. The Tea Party doesn’t take legislative defeat as a signal that it’s doing something wrong: it takes it as a signal that nothing has really changed in Washington and that they therefore need to redouble their nihilistic efforts. Take it from me: come February, or March, or whenever we end up having to have this idiotic debt-ceiling fight all over again, the Tea Party will still be there, and will still be as crazy as ever. A bruised zombie, ultimately, is just a scarier zombie.From a Talking Points Memo piece, FreedomWorks chief zombie, Matt Kibbe:
"I think that's a real possibility because you're seeing this clash between the new generation and — to me, it's not just the old wing of the Republican Party versus the new wing —you're really seeing a disintermediation in politics. It's already happened with the Democratic Party," Kibbe said. "It's happening with the Republican Party now. And grassroots activists have an ability to self-organize, to fund candidates they're more interested in, going right around the Republican National Committee and senatorial committee."
"That's the new reality," he continued. "Everything's more democratized and Republicans should come to terms with that. They still wanna control things from the top down and if they do that, there will absolutely be a split. But my prediction would be that we take over the Republican Party and they go the way of the whigs."The "disintermediation" comment is pretty interesting. There are middle men being cut out all over the place: in politics AND in news. That's not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it could be a very bad thing.
Finally, from the bedrock of the old Grand Old Party, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce:
A battle for control of the Republican Party has erupted as an emboldened Tea Party moved to oust senators who voted to reopen the government while business groups mobilized to defeat allies of the small-government movement.
“We are going to get engaged,” said Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.” The chamber spent $35.7 million on federal elections in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based group that tracks campaign spending.
Meanwhile, two Washington-based groups that finance Tea Party-backed candidates said yesterday they’re supporting efforts to defeat Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, who voted this week for the measure ending the 16-day shutdown and avoiding a government debt default. Cochran, a Republican seeking a seventh term next year, faces a challenge in his party’s primary from Chris McDaniel, a state senator.