Watching what used to be called with pride the Grand Old Party, better known today as the Republicans, I can’t help but think about those old James Bond movies where the villain, when cornered by 007, would push the self-destruct button and destroy his evil invention while desperately trying to escape his fate.
What is happening today in Washington is a political version of the self-destruct button as the Republicans fight not a master spy but themselves for the soul and the future of the Greatly Diminished Old Party. Make no mistake, these guys and gals on the right are headed off the political cliff and are in real danger of handing over control of the House in two years to the Democrats, and yes that dreaded political agent Nancy Pelosi.
This process of self-destruction was bound to happen to the Republicans when hard-boiled ideologues started to win House seats and came to Washington not to govern but to score points for the Tea Party folks back home. These guys and gals came to the Capitol with a chip on their shoulders and saw Washington as something akin to Sodom and Gomorrah that had to be destroyed, never to be be rebuilt but to lay in waste.
When you bring to Washington a gaggle of extremist representatives, whether on the radical right or the looney left, it can be expected that government will be taken over by fanatics, oddballs, obstructionists, and in some cases outright nut jobs.
Sure these guys and gals have their positions on what needs to be done to ” save” this country, and some of their ideas, beliefs and solutions have merit. But they are such true believers that it will never dawn on them that they can get much more done with a little sugar rather than throwing salt (or a monkey wrench) into the governing process.
Now as the 113 Congress convenes for another likely fruitless session filled with animosity and revenge, it looks like the Republicans are in a self-destruct mode. Reasonable Republican allies who are clear thinkers and not nut jobs are predicting that the Greatly Diminished Old Party is headed toward political oblivion.
Elections and political power are won and attained by somehow finding the center of the political spectrum, not residing on the fringes yelling, complaining and engaging in guerrilla warfare. The Republicans still have time to convince Americans that they are not in self-destruct mode by responsibly working to solve the debt ceiling crisis and the spending cut challenges that lie ahead. This country needs two parties filled with moderate men and women of wisdom and self-restraint, not crusaders intent on destroying the castle rather than saving it.