For intelligent and alert Americans, the intra-party warfare within the GOP is a deeply-satisfying entertainment. “Mainstream” Republicans, those cranky defenders of white male privilege, are besieged by “tea-baggers”, the deranged proponents of free-market fundamentalism, religious extremism, and scientific illiteracy.
This struggle for the “soul” of the Republican Party (the phrase may confuse many who have not seen any evidence of a Republican soul) is demonstrated most clearly in the House of Representatives.
The dysfunctional House has become so inept that the resolution of the “fiscal cliff” was punted to the Senate to resolve. Nothing shows the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the “tea-baggers” more than this action – they invented and hyped the House-created deadline of the “fiscal cliff” in order to prolong their game of political brinksmanship.
In the end, of course, the tea-baggers gained nothing; their grandiose posturing of two years ago turned into impotent blubbering.
A new Congress has now begun, more Democratic in the House and Senate, yet an opportunity to revive the strategies and resources of the GOP. Determined to minimize their opportunities for political success, the GOP has just re-elected as Speaker of the House the unnaturally-colored and perpetually-weepy John Boehner.
On the eve of his re-election, Boehner was soundly and furiously reproached for his unreliability and remoteness by every "mainstream" Republican from the northeastern United States. (It can be argued that Pete King, while not usually considered a tea-bagger, is usually not considered sane and well-informed, either.)
Thus, the Speaker of the House begins his latest term with an angry and whimpering pack of tea-baggers who have never trusted him, and a significant number of aggrieved and suspicious members among his usual supporters.
Like every other sane person of goodwill, I offer my heartiest “Congratulations, Speaker Boehner”.