If you look at the maps of the 2010 Midterm elections, the states look awfully red. The Republicans picked up 50 seats in the House, 5 seats in the Senate and 5 governorships. They now have control of the House with 239 seats. But do they really have control? And is the new Speaker, John Boehner of Ohio, the leader Americans need and want? If you recall, this is the same John Boehner who held up his copy of the U.S. Constitution and said he would read from the Preamble, only to read from the Declaration of Independence, and not appear to recognize the mistake.
The question for Republicans is can they control their own House? Of the 239 seats now held by Republicans, 40 are occupied by Tea Party candidates, which may make the Republican ideological tent too big to manage – especially for a speaker with unproven leadership skills. Let’s see, there are the birthers, the anti-immigrant, the xenophobes, the homophobes, the strict constitutionalists, the obstructionists, the nativists (of know-nothing lineage) the fundamentalists, the anti-Islamists, the creationists, the corporate welfarists, the anti-scientists, anti-abortionists, the gun activists, the Ayn Rand objectivists, the isolationists, the oligarchs, and the bidness class. Maybe the one thing they have in common is that they are beholden to the corporate conglomerates who may have anonymously funded their campaigns, thanks to the partisan Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC.
The Democrats have the same problem with the Blue Dogs who like the Tea Party seem more interested in ideological purity than anything else. Given this dynamic, I see the real prospects of a war of ideas and struggle for a message the Party can get behind. Just saying no, is no longer a viable strategy. What will the message be? Jingoism, Social Darwinism?
In the coming years, several new political parties could emerge from all the infighting which might spell the end of the Republican Party as we know it today. The new Tea Party could unite with Libertarians and become a major force picking up some conservative independents along the way. The Blue Dogs could break away from the Democratic Party and form their own attracting some moderate independents and perhaps even some moderate Republicans to their side. The Democrats could finally become more progressive absorbing the Green Party. Maybe the party should adopt a new name. How about The Restore Sanity Party (John Stewart might approve) or the Better Days Ahead Party (credits to Pat Metheny) or the Do The Right Thing party (courtesy of Spike Lee)? What’s left of the Republican Party might do well to bring back the spirit of the Know Nothing Party and become a lean Do Nothing Party.