Last night, the President gave his State of the Union speech for 2014. The thing is, there wasn't just one response to it. There was the "official" Republican response from Cathy McMorris Rodgers (I'm not clear if she's Fred Rogers' evil twin, or if that lady from the Harry Potter books doesn't just wear pink any more), and then there was the Tea Party response (because, as my momma always said, "stupid is as stupid does"), and then, only on Youtube, Rand Paul gave his own "Tea Party Response," speaking for the Batshit Insane caucus.
Let's all take a moment to enjoy the current dynamics playing out within the Republican Party. They've split into a bunch of tiny, warring factions, each out to stab all the others in the back. They're trying their best to hide it, but they really aren't doing a good job, as last night proved.
The problem, you see, is that in 2008 the Republicans felt that, in order to defeat Obama, instead of taking up a more reasonable stance on a few key issues, they needed to mobilize the morons and the low information voters. Unfortunately, some of the newly-active mouth-breathers refused to retreat to their sofas and soap operas after the election, and kept right on chanting, picketing, and writing increasingly incoherent diatribes and tweets.
Social media had given them new access to vast fields of topics that they knew nothing about, and they felt that it was their duty to prove how little they knew. And the best way to do this was to elect people just as stupid as they were: enter Ted Cruz, Louis Gohmert, and all of their ilk.
While there may have been some dissension in the GOP during Obama's first term, things really started coming to a head during the government shutdown debates back in September, when the nominally intelligent Republicans realized that their new, hyperpartisan friends were not just willing, but actually eager, to see the government collapse - after all, the wet dream of any dedicated small government enthusiast would have to be government disappearing completely.
People like Libertarian Fox Business wonk John Stossel wanted lawmakers to "shut down more," and "I'm hoping the shutdown will wake people up... and say 'hey, maybe we don't need all this stuff.'" (A philosophy that ignores the 24 billion dollars that the 16-day shutdown cost the taxpayers, or the billions lost by businesses across the country that are more difficult to calculate.)
The most prescient (or in this case, conniving) saw it coming months earlier: Karl Rove, in the runup to the upcoming midterm elections, basically told his donors "yes, I wasted $300 million in 2012, and if you don't give me more money, the Democrats will win again!"
That's a venal and dishonest strategy, in that it ignores the fact that most of the money he takes from the gullible rich will be going to fight the new breed of rabid Tea Partiers that he helped create.
Speaker of the House John Boehner has become openly dismissive of the Tea Party fringes. And he isn't the only one. And the Tea Party, on their part, has no love for the establishment Republicans, even the ones who danced to their tune as hard as they could (just not to the point of destroying the economy).
Millions of dollars are being raised, on both sides, as Republicans prepare to square off against other Republicans for the future of the Republican philosophy.
The best result that we can hope for, really, is that nobody learns any lessons from the trouncing they're about to get, and the GOP stays divided through the 2016 elections. In the meantime, though, I'm just going to sit here with my popcorn and watch the fireworks.