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.
A word of caution is due to Republicans here and across the country as they watch the struggles of three well-known Democratic politicians.
Let’s not gloat, folks.
Anthony Weiner wants to run for mayor of New York. Bob Filner already is mayor of San Diego, Calif. Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, now wants to become NYC’s comptroller. All three of them have made headlines for (in order) sending text messages and videos of a certain functional body part to women; groping and speaking hideously to female staffers; consorting with prostitutes.
Some Republicans are relishing the troubles that have befallen these Democrats. One noted conservative columnist and Fox News TV commentator, Michelle Malkin, recently tweeted about how silent Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other Dems have been about Filner’s difficulty; I responded to her with a tweet that advised her to cool the “partisan perv” talk.
The record shows that Republicans have endured more than their share of sexually related difficulties. To wit:
House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s extramarital affair with a staffer while he was blasting President Clinton for his own marital misbehavior; U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana becoming involved with a call girl; U.S. Rep. Mark Foley’s email flirtations with underage congressional pages; U.S. Sen. John Ensign’s marital infidelity; U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s arrest (and this is my favorite scandal) for making indecent sexual advances to others inside a men’s restroom at a Minnesota airport.
Let’s stipulate that all three men now caught in the sexual perversion vise — Weiner, Filner and Spitzer — deserve every bit of the scorn they’re getting.
Misbehavior by male politicians, though, hardly is a partisan endeavor. Pols from both parties in recent years have garnered their share of infamy.