It’s going to be fun watching the tea party wing of the Republican Party take on the old dogs of the GOP.
It’ll be over Obamacare and whether it’s prudent to shut down the government to deprive the Affordable Care Act of the funds it will need to become operational.
Here’s what I see happening.
The establishment wing of the party knows the dangers of shutting the government down to prove some kind of political point. The Republicans tried that in the late 1990s. You remember that, yes? House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his band of GOP insurgents shut ‘er down over a budget fight with the Clinton administration; turned out Newtie really was mad because President Clinton didn’t give him a choice seat aboard Air Force One – but I digress.
The government shutdown didn’t work well for Gingrich and his Republican foot soldiers. They ended up getting their heads handed to them in the 1998 mid-term elections, Gingrich ended up quitting the House and President Clinton – despite being impeached by the House – ended his presidency on a high note.
The establishment guys remember all that. Their memories are painful. The tea party guys are new to this game of D.C. hardball politics. They’re righteous in their cause and, by golly, they’re going to have it their way or else.
I feel compelled to remind them that Newt Gingrich once was a righteous revolutionary who knew how to obtain power, but didn’t have a clue about what to do when it came time to actually use it.
A part of me is beginning to believe that history is going to repeat itself.