Make no mistake about it: The Republican Party is in a total shambles right now.
Two recent examples come to mind.
1. The GOP House leadership’s sudden decision to abandon the Paul Ryan Medicare plan — which all but 4 GOP congressmen voted for a few weeks ago and which GOP members had gone out on a limb for when they went home for their Easter recess and heard an earful about at town halls — has shattered the alliance in the House between the tea party freshmen and the more-traditional GOP members.
The mainstream media do not — yet — get the staggering effect this backtracking will have inside the GOP.
To go out and vote for something so controversial — and then get nothing for it — is devastating to the Republicans. Already we see in upstate New York where a special congressional election is approaching and the once-certain GOP winner is now on the defensive precisely because of this House Medicare vote.
Lesson: Do not mess around with entitlement programs until and unless the American people have been overwhelmingly convinced that that program is in dire financial straits and thus changes are absolutely necessary.
The House GOP leadership — Boehner, Cantor, and Ryan in particular — are political lightweights.
They did not realize that the precarious state of Medicare needs to be taught to the American people before any plan to fix it is proposed.
Instead, they have performed political malpractice by handing Obama and the Democrats an issue to club the GOP with next year.
2. Thursday night’s South Carolina GOP debate was yet another peek into the so-far dysfunctional, pathetic, and demoralizing GOP race for the 2012 presidential nomination.
Of the five candidates there, the big loser has to be Tim Pawlenty. He was the only one lumped into the top tier (along with Romney, Huckabee, and perhaps a noncandidate like Mitch Daniels) — and he got creamed by a pizza executive!
Yes, Herman Cain — like Donald Trump — spoke simply and like a nonpolitician. The Frank Luntz focus group loved Cain! And they did not even like the others much.
Why? Because they are bland, boring politicians. And the GOP and the right are sick of bland, boring politicians. Thus the (momentary) soaring candidacies of decidedly non-boring celebrity candidates like Palin, Bachman, and Trump.
Each subsequently faded, with Trump potentially next in line.
But the lesson is clear: the GOP — because of tea party energy and a grass-roots fury over the long-term deterioration of our economy — is ready to nominate a non-traditional candidate.
The only question is: who?
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