The collapse of Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be Speaker of the House is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen in politics. It was also somewhat predictable because Republicans have developed a habit of blatantly lying to the people who support them the most.
Flashback to the 2004 election and gay marriage and George W. Bush. Bush told voters that year that he would back a constitutional amendment stopping gay marriage. Bush went on to win re-election and like a hot potato dropped the dead-on-arrival amendment.
If you were a member of the religious right then, you had to feel like a sucker. Bush was, in theory, one of you, and he had made a commitment and just like that he threw it away. Soon after, the façade of the Iraq War, the foreign policy pillar of Bush’s re-election, collapsed like tissue paper.
Fast forward to 2010. Convinced that Obama’s election was a fluke, conservatives promised that their midterm success would be the undoing of Obamacare and the Obama agenda. Then 2012, and they told them that 2010 was a harbinger of success and the polls were skewed. And in 2014, they again told these voters they would, for real this time, undo the Obama agenda.
You can’t keep promising people the world then think they’re going to forget once they’ve helped you win. The conservative calculation has often been to romp to success by telling base voters a fantasy scenario, then blame Democrats for getting in the way.
But there’s no such obstacle. While Democrats are still able to filibuster in the Senate, the Republicans have absolute control in the House. They could pass a resolution recognizing that up is down. They have the votes.
Yet, because the party has leaped so far to the right, they have been unable to perform basic functions of government, and have to end up relying on Democrats to keep them propped up, requiring that the fantasies they’ve promised base voters have to stay off the table to keep those votes.
They apparently thought this time would be like all the others, and the base would be content to blame impotence on Obama and his congressional Democratic allies. But the inmates realized that they could figure out the locks and are now running the asylum.
Like Donald Trump running amok as Ben Carson spouts insane conspiracies and Carly Fiorina talks about non-existent abortion videos while Jeb Bush is stuck on neutral, they built this Frankenstein.
Welcome to the crack-up.