The 80 or so Tea Party Republicans who are holding the country hostage with their refusal to budge on the spending bill and perhaps even on the debt limit vote a few weeks away cite the constitution, freedom, democracy, the put upon American people and the evil of Obamacare as the basis for their crusade. But what they don’t cite are the legislative numbers.This is where reality bumps up against delusion.
According to the constitution and the procedures of our bicameral legislative body, any attempt by the Republican House to take action to repeal would take 60 votes in the Democratic Senate – ain’t going to happen. Furthermore, the President, who has the constitutional right to veto would exercise that veto. But the constitution does provide that the two chambers of the legislature have the power to override the President, which in the Senate would require 67 votes – ain’t going to happen and then 290 votes in the House – ain’t going to happen. So to make a long story short, this whole ridiculous and insane shutdown is about a strategy that is impossible to achieve. This is where the delusion comes in.
Here’s a few more numbers. All the Democrats have to do in the next congressional election is pick up 17 seats to put that hated Nancy Pelosi back as Speaker. This will not be easy since the Republican-controlled legislatures in many states redrew the congressional lines to ensure victories in House elections. So the same whack jobs that don’t understand simple math will likely be back after the 2016 election.
But here’s another number- the favorability rating of the Republican Party is at 33%, the lowest in 20 years. With most of the sane people in this country blaming the Republicans and the gang of 80 for having a hissy fit over a law that was passed, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court, the Democrats have a spring in their step. A gain of 17 seats now seems within reach.
One more set of numbers. Most respected polling organizations report that a substantial percentage of Americans ( now approaching 60%) blame the Republicans for the shutdown and see the GOP as the party that is causing ” all the trouble.” But this Wild Bunch can say with a straight face that their constituents are not part of that growing majority, and in a twisted way they are right because their districts in the South, Midwest and West are prime Tea Party enclaves. With party primaries coming up in about a year and GOP rules which are designed to allow extremists candidates to win poorly attended elections with miniscule votes, the Gang of 80 are secure, and have no reason to give up their fits of delusion. National majorities mean nothing to the Wild Bunch.
What a mess.