Chris Christie and Pope Francis Have the GOP on the Verge of Total Collapse

francis-christieI’ve said for quite a while now that the tea party was something of a “false prophet” for the GOP.  Sure, at first it seemed like the savior conservatives had longed for following eight years in which George W. Bush nearly destroyed the entire party.  But even early on I saw the end game to this — and it’s starting to come to light.

The tea party was a great PR stunt for the 2010 midterms, but that was about it.  Since then its popularity with the majority of Americans has plummeted while popularity with hardcore conservatives has grown.

For Republicans, that’s a giant problem.  The tea party has turned into a situation where the extreme is going up against the mainstream, and that’s bad news for conservatives.

Then you add in the fact that New Jersey Governor Christ Christie is rapidly growing in popularity for the 2016 GOP nomination (something tea party conservatives hate) and Pope Francis (the most recognized Christian leader around the world) has called out the Republican party’s economic ideology, and you can see how it’s about to get really bad for the GOP.

As far as Christie goes, on one side you’re going to have mainstream Republicans who understand that Christie is their best chance at winning in 2016.  Yet on the other hand, you’re going to have fanatical tea party Republicans who believe someone like Ted Cruz is the best person to be in the White House.

For tea party Republicans, someone like Christie might as well be a Democrat.  They don’t view him as a “real conservative,” and the fact he dared to praise President Obama following Hurricane Sandy absolutely disgusts them.

The closer we get to 2016, the more infighting you’re going to see within the Republican party.  You’re going to have part of the Republican party going to war with the other over what defines a “true conservative.”  You’ll have the far-right radicals believing some crackpot like Cruz stands a real chance at winning, while Republicans with a little more common sense struggle to convince the base that Christie is a mainstream candidate who could actually win a national election.

I guess it’s only fitting that after Republicans have sought to create a party dictated by voters who believe propaganda over reality, they’ll need many of those same voters to trust reality in 2016.  Of course, that won’t be an easy accomplishment considering they’ve become accustomed to buying into extreme right-wing propaganda.

Then there’s Pope Francis.  He’s really going to cause them a lot of problems going forward.  A Pope that dares to act like a Christian.  What exactly will Republicans do?

In just a short time as Pope, he’s spoke out for the church to be more accepting of homosexuals and bashed conservative economic ideologies.

So, what will Republicans do as one of the most recognized faces of Christianity clearly opposes cornerstones of their entire political party?  Will they dare call out and question the Pope?  If they did, they’d then risk alienating millions of Catholic voters.

I guess they could always do what Rush Limbaugh did recently by insinuating there’s a conspiracy, and that someone had “gotten to” the Pope causing him to attack trickle-down economics.  But I’m not sure if calling the Pope a puppet for some shady Marxist faction is really going to go over well.  In fact, I know it won’t.

But what can Republicans do?  What can someone like Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin say if asked about the Pope’s comments regarding the myth of trickle-down economics?  Call him a socialist who hates freedom like they do President Obama and liberals?

Again, I’m not sure if the Republican party really wants to tick off tens of millions of Catholics.

And trust me — these questions will be asked.  They’re lucky that he released the documents containing his attack on right-wing economics just before Thanksgiving when much of the country’s political media took a few days off.  If they’re hoping that those comments will simply fade into obscurity, they’re in for a rude awakening in the days and weeks ahead.

So on a political level, Republicans are spiraling toward 2016 on the verge of an all-out Civil War between “mainstream” and “extreme” over what kind of candidate should represent the GOP during the next presidential election.

While on a religious level they have arguably the most powerful Christian leader in the world embracing the acceptance of homosexuals and calling out trickle-down economics for being an absolute scam.

And I’m not even covering the 2014 mid-terms Republicans think they have locked up because of the issues with “Obamacare.”  People might be down on Democrats right now, but that’ll quickly change the more these tea party Republicans get mainstream attention once election season really gets going.

In other words, the Republican party is in a whole lot of trouble.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Steve Giovanis

    I have a big problem with the Roman Catholic church, and many of their practices, which aren’t bible based. Including idol worship, and putting the pope and Mary before Christ.

    • DrPhrogg

      That is their belief system, and I am willing to live & let live. As long as I am not required to follow the practice. However, this Pope is a Pope of the world, and is not limiting himself to church doctrine. He is describing how Christians should behave in a Christian world, outside of the 4 wall of the church. Not sure how well this is going to go over, But I find it refreshing.

      • Timmy Hogan

        He seems to have learned a great deal since the bad days of the Argentine Junta, so hats off to him.

    • Garibaldi

      0 for 3.

    • PAldrighetti

      Idol worship? Putting the Pope and Mary before Christ? What are you talking about?

    • John

      THAT’s your problem with the Roman Catholic church?? How about child-molesting priests and (in the U.S.) violating the law about promoting one party (the Republicans) over another?? Or how about the appearance of Catholic-run hospitals which don’t offer services such as abortion and euthanasia because it violates “their” freedom (never mind the freedom of the people who need these services performed!)

    • regressive rightwing trash

      bible based????? which bible? the one that says if a woman is NOT virgin upon entering marriage she is to be put 2 death??? lemme know so I can annoy U

  • strangelander

    I hope you’re right but I’m afraid we may be underestimating the power of the Koch brothers’ propaganda machine.

    • GL

      A propaganda machine doesn’t work if you don’t hook yourself into it. Moderates are, in increasing numbers, disengaging from the machine. Without engagement, propaganda is nothing more than funny squiggly lines on paper. Not even words… because words have power, and propaganda you’ve disengaged yourself from doesn’t have power.

    • Timmy Hogan

      Said machine didn’t really work out for them in 2012.

  • sherry06053

    I think you are jumping the gun. 2016 is a long way down the road and too much can happen for any predictions to take place. As for the pope, Tea Party will do what the have to the Constitution – take what they like and twist the rest. It’s just too soon for this kind of talk, although as an atheist, but a very compassionate and empathetic person, this was the first pope that said anything remotely inclusive and Christian-like.

    • GL

      While I agree that 2016 is too far off to even be talking about, 2014 isn’t, and he mentioned predictions for 2014 as well.

  • Aaron

    I’m loving this pope Francis guy. Somebody needs to call the tea party on their bullshit and who better than the pope? You see, Jesus was what many conservatives today would call a socialist, but dare they alienate those who they claim to resent in the first place? Well played pope Francis.

    • mrmcgurky

      These hating cowards are so fricking terrified that a black toddler might toddle up to their door, forcing them to shoot her in the face, they lack the courage to follow Jesus and love one another.
      They have chosen to follow the exact opposite path.
      They feed on hate and fear.
      How tragic.

  • emeraldeyes24

    Bush is a one-man wrecking machine, he started the ball rolling on the destruction of the Republican party and everyone knows that he destroyed the country. If it wasn’t for President Obama, the world would be referring to it as the United States of the Banana Republic, yet they continue to downplay and undermine every effort he makes while not even mentioning the real evil..

    • CockRobin

      Honestly, Bush II only furthered the destruction (both of the economy and the Republican Party) that Reagan started.

      • Erik

        Yeah because the economy of the 70s was so awesome. I’m no Bush II or Reagan fan… but please.

      • CockRobin

        Yeah – I recall those days. I especially recall being p*ssed when gas got over 50₵ a gallon.

        What I was specifically thinking about Reagan was that he (or rather his administration – I’m still not sure he ever actually knew what was being done in his name) started the whole deregulation fiasco (remember the savings an loan crisis? We apparently learned nothing from that, as what happened at the end of Bush II’s term was a repeat), putting the Republican party in bed with the “Moral Majority” (essentially the tea party by another name), as well as hugely increasing both the deficit and the debt with “trickle down” economics and tax cuts for the wealthy.

        Those all began on Reagan’s watch. Bush II just took those really bad ideas and ran with them.

      • GL

        Ah, so you’re saying Nixon was the one who started the destruction of the economy and the Republican Party?

      • rose1957

        CockRobin’s right. I lost virtually everything thanks to St. Ronald of Reagan’s trickle down economics, and the country has lost big time thanks to his push to deregulate everything.

    • Shane Patrick

      on the other hand, one could say that reagan started the modern day destruction of the GOP as he was the one who resurrected ‘trickle down’ economics in modern times…unless you consider herbert hoover who also embraced ‘trickle down’ which was called ‘laissez faire’ economics at the time. either way, the GOP has been selling the same crap for a very long time and the american people keep buying it over and over and over…

    • Sparks13

      Shrub was just a sock puppet. He doesn’t even have the intelligence to be truly evil. That was all Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld, with Daddy Bush as an adviser. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re all traitors, deserving nothing but a bullet at dawn, but Shrub was just a stooge. That’s why he spent over a year on vacation. It was easier for the Axis of Evil to operate without having to be constantly coaching him on his part.

  • Matthew Reece

    If the two major parties put up Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton, expect the LP candidate to do far better than Gary Johnson did in 2012.

    • GL

      If that happens, then I guess we’ll get to see Bill Clinton in the White House again. What would we call him… the First Lord? The First Husband?

      • DrPhrogg

        He would be correctly addressed as President Clinton, a for of address used for all past presidents. This could result in a lot of confusion. “Mr. Speaker, it is President Clinton on the phone.” ??????????

      • GL

        Clearly we’d need to add an “Emeritus” to his title. As well as those of all the other living former Presidents (so “President Emeritus Carter”, for instance).

      • John

        I think Hilary Clinton would be addressed as Mrs. President (?) You can imagine exchanges like, “Mrs. President, Mr. President is on the phone for you.”

      • Matthew Reece

        The idea that LP candidates pull more from Republicans than from Democrats is a myth. For example, Robert Sarvis pulled more from Terry McAuliffe than from Ken Cuccinelli.

      • GL

        To be fair, though, that was against Terry McAuliffe. A blind monkey could’ve pulled over votes from him. One can’t say that the Libertarians will pull from a candidate who actually has some amount of popularity among the electorate. The Presidential Election doesn’t usually seem like having to choose between a **** sandwich and an *** taco to most voters, from what I can tell.

      • regressive rightwing trash

        im willing to wager the dems do better than regressive repubs in your scenario on a national presidential 2016 election. stay alive– I wanna collect

    • regressive rightwing trash

      ok,I will bite: please tell me WHO ( which side) will predominantly lose its voters to a 3rd party??? dems are gonna vote against Hillary? lemme know– I cant wait 2 have u conjugate this idiocy

  • Angel Rivera

    the tea party believes that it represents the majority of Americans so they ignore the fact that they are one slice of American ideals. There are many slices and you don’t win elections by just relying on just your faction. Elections are won by bringing the most votes for your side and that can only be done to convincing more than just your faction. Extremists are the louder more entertaining part of any faction but they scare people away from your group…

  • Nicholas A Kocal

    Christie only works across the aisle since the democrats have a majority in the legislature. You will find that every republican who claims that they are good at working across the aisle can only make the claim because they have a democratic controlled legislature who are more interested in governing than ideology.

  • GL

    The one disagreement I have with this article is that the Conservatives will lose a significant portion of their votes by fighting with the Pope. Most of their radical “Christian Reich” followers are, in fact, Protestants, and they could give a **** about what the Pope says.

    • Jo Clark

      That’s my thought too. The whole radical evangelical movement that runs the tea party and is front and center in the politics is almost exclusively Protestant. We have sat back and watched the GOP alienate women, LGBT, African Americans, Hispanics, labor, teachers, workers, the middle class (the ol’ 47%) and the poor, and I’m sure I forgot someone. Why would they stop at alienating the Catholics? Seriously, how much of the Catholic vote did the GOP get in ’12 or ’08? They don’t want Catholic doctrine running the show. They’ll denounce it, that’s my prediction, in favor of radical evangelical Protestantism. Then we’ll all invest in popcorn and sit back and really watch the sparks fly with in the GOP.

      PS: Looked it up. Obama got a whopping 75% of the Hispanic Catholic vote and 40% of the White Catholic vote in ’12. Yep, the Baggers will throw the pope under the bus.

      • mandate

        Yes, but here is the issue. Romney probably got 95% of the rabid right wing vote and lost. Their next candidate will not be able to improve on the 95% by much. On the other hand if the Hispanic Catholic vote goes Democrat by say 85% and the “White” Catholic vote goes Democratic by say 60% the Democrat will win by a landslide. Going after the Pope would be a huge mistake. Not that the GOP is averse to making mistakes. Now all the Democrats need is a Cruz/Palin ticket. That would seal the deal.

      • GL

        The problem is that trying to appeal to the Catholics is going to alienate at least a percentage of the RRWers.

      • mandate

        This is true! The best thing the Republicans can do is to pretty much ignore what the Pope says. But that will be close to impossible. If nothing else the Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh triumvirate will say something to offend all Catholics and the GOP is too stupid to come out and tell everyone that these guys don’t speak for the majority of Republicans.

      • CherMoe

        They will try … HOWEVER, as I Catholic I was witness to the politics in the Catholic Church and how they stuck their necks out in 2012 to PROMOTE the Republican party to the point of seriously violating “separation of Church and State.” For weeks before the election, there were references during “special intention prayers” to pray for legislators that would go against President Obama and his health care policy. There were “guilt” letters included in the Sunday church bulletins. There were PAMPHLETS plastered on our cars from the “pro-lifers” , letters AND the simple one-step voter cards telling you which Republicans to vote for so they could get rid of President Obama and his health care plan which included (gasp!!) contraceptives. The Catholic Church literally threw the poor people (and the Nuns) OFF the bus at that point. And since then, the “prayers” are still there …. all because of the single issue of contraception. The point is that the Catholic Churches will probably “break” from the Pope and still support the Republicans because of their WAR ON WOMEN. Republicans know they still need the support of the Catholic Church. It will be interesting to see to what extent individual churches will go against the Pope’s teachings.

      • John

        Difference this time is the head guy in the pointy head gear is not a regressive, woman-hating, poor-hating, ex-nazi-youth child molester.

        As far as the Teabaggers alienating Catholics, let ’em! Every group the ‘baggers discard – women, minorities, the poor, etc, etc – is a group that votes democrat.

    • Timmy Hogan

      You are missing the storyline from the last several elections wherein Catholics were told by some asswipe bishops that voting for Democrats will get them excommunicated.

    • Sherri Heitzhausen

      you mean they “couldn’t” give a ****

      • MadameDelphi


      • GL

        No, I mean could. If I had said couldn’t, I’d be implying that they -do-.

      • Jack7

        Actually I think that implies “They are incapable of giving a shit.”

      • GL

        No, if one wanted to imply they are incapable, they’d say “can’t”. …which might actually be a better way of phrasing it, come to think of it.

      • Jack7

        I think those are whatcha call synonyms.

      • GL

        Not quite. They’re differing moods of the same verb. If we were speaking German, it would be like the difference between “kann” and “könnte”.

      • Jack7

        I don’t want to have to define synonym or the importance of intent and effective conveyance.

    • FN

      I’m a Methodist and I like what the Pope is saying.

      • GL

        Yeah, but you’re not a member of the “Religious Reich”. They’re the ones I’m talking about.

  • Helivet

    When I was a kid, “conservatives” were the anti-Catholic KKK types. Then when they realized Catholics agreed with them on anti-women issues, the Pope became a hero. Not so now.

    All wackos swing like a pendulum do. (Apologies to Roger Miller.)

  • The GOP nomininny will not be Ted Cruz or any other TP Republican. When it comes to brass tacks, Karl Rove will make sure the nod goes to someone he thinks is electable. The Teabaggers pinched their noses and went along with Romney and they’ll pinch their noses and go along with Christie or Jeb Bush, or whomever Rove forces down their throats.

    • Timmy Hogan

      My money would be on Jeb, even with the Bush name syndrome, he is the more electable. Hell, I’d gladly take him over Shrub any day.

      • lindylou

        Jeb Bush has come out recently pushing the story that Obama is closing the Vatican embassy.

      • mandate

        Which of course is not true. Would we call that a lie?

      • lindylou

        Depends. It it’s here, yes, a lie. If on Fox, it’s a possibility. I see the conservawhigs are back to calling the IRS, “Obama’s IRS”.

      • bamcintyre

        Which is not only not true, but the move of the embassy was on his brothers watch.

    • Big Jer

      They only went along with Romney after they had ensured he would be unelectable in the general election. Their ideological purity makes the same result inevitable in the coming cycle too.

      • Then let the TP continue to force GOP candidates so far to the right that they are unelectable. I have no problems with the GOP continuing to lose elections.

  • Sam D. Maloney

    I think the solid Catholic support for the Republicans has less to do with abortion and ‘family values’ than it does the simple self interest of lower taxes: in other words, if they have to choose between the pope and their pocket book, they’ll vote pocket book.

  • PASC

    Yes, but why won’t the media ASK them how they feel about what the Pope said? Pretty creepy, eh?

    • MadameDelphi

      The media is pretty creepy lately. I’ve noticed it on all networks. Someone is even controlling my Brian Williams!

      • John

        The next president – who WILL be a Democrat, unless the Republicans resort to massive fraud (because, as we know, that, gerrymandering districts, and suppressing votes is the only way they can win) – needs to reinstate the Fairness in Broadcasting Act and break up corporate ownership of media. Right now, we can’t count on the corporate media not to lie and distort the truth.

  • Timmy Hogan

    Not to mention the very high probability that the ACA, which has survived the numerous attempts to repeal it and is coming out of it’s tech flub infancy, will actually start to work well (it already is) and by November 2014 the stigma of associating with it will transform into a positive. No amount of Fox News propaganda will turn that around for them. Maybe some of them will actually notice that it’s the same thing as “Obamacare”?

    • bamcintyre

      Only difference, is that once it’s seen to work well, the GOP will suddenly decide it’s called ACA and lionize the first best example of Gov. Romney in Mass. After all, it was all their idea, and the Dems tried to screw it up but the GOP saved it.

  • excellent article as always Allen…

  • Daffyd

    “What exactly will Republicans do?”

    1. Attempt to assassinate the Pope.
    2. Claim the President is a Catholic Muslim

    • CherMoe

      All of the above. An assassination has been tried before, and anybody who believes that assassinations in America are just “random nuts” has to be crazy themselves. The sad truth be known, there are definitely “targets” out there simply because of their beliefs and the attention and support they might draw. One only has to look back in 50 years of history in this country.

  • YouKnowMe

    If the Republicans did a Jeb Bush/Chris Christie candidacy and could rig enough voting machines, it could happen. We’ve already let them get away with so much election fraud.

  • Jackie Merz Gerace

    Love Pope Francis and Chris Christie and there is no way that Ted Cruz (who has said publicly that Obama should not be President because he was believed not to be a natural born citizen) can be President because no matter who his mother is HE is not a NATURAL BORN UNITED STATES CITIZEN and there for is not eligible for candidacy. Sorry Cruz, can’t ride two horses with one ass!

  • theoldsheepherder

    Teahadist gas bags like Rush and Palin have already said derisive and slanderous comments about Pope Francis. The core of the TeaParty is Baptist and the most sure fire way to atrophy it down to its Confederate borders, is to pass on what conservatives say about the Pope to right wing Catholics.

  • Danny Mathey

    WOW, it looks like the Pope is on the Liberals side.But the Conservatives have thier own Pope…The Koch Brothers,and there is two of them.

  • Skip Patterson

    The Tea Party is still the same old theocratic evangelicals that started to try and convince people that America is a theocratic nation way back in the 50’s, with Francis Schaffer, Jerry Fallwell, et al. The just give it an upgrade makeover every so many years to make them appear like something new, when it is just repacking of the same old tripe.

  • Changing demographics in America mean that the GOP has no chance of every winning the White House again without making significant inroads among Hispanics, almost all of whom are Catholic. Calling the Pope names, especially the first ever pope from a Latin-American country, will not help them in this endeavor.

  • Scaramongus

    What will republicans do? They will show that their true religion is unfettered extreme capitalism.

  • Chekhovian

    The pope is a decent chap, but he’s no economist.

  • None of this matters – the voting system is gamed to the point that the Republicans will retain power, and their Fox “News” noise machine will keep their ideas in play. In any case, the Democrats continue to move away from progressive policies towards the very ideas that used to be purely Republican.

  • xpatYankeeCurmudgeon

    The always imminent final collapse of the Republican Party.
    This is as silly as the belief that you could pick any one of the schlubs at an Occupy dorkfest near you and tell the rest of the country he/she/it is representative of 99 percent of America.

  • FD Brian

    Making Ted Cruze POTUS would be the equivalent of giving a drunk 16 year old boy the keys to one of Paul Walker’s fast cars.

  • Shane Patrick

    what disturbs me is that the GOP has been selling the same snake oil since 1980 when they nominated reagan, and people are just now starting to catch on…doesn’t give me much hope for our ability to recognize and deal with issues in a timely manner.

  • Sparks13

    I’m afraid that ultra conservative factions within the Church are already planning to facilitate the current Pope’s quick exit, by any means necessary. As far as Christie, he does whatever serves himself. It’s not so much that he’s less conservative (Hello? Have you not noticed how he bullies and bashes people that just want to be paid a decent wage and benefits so they can take care of their families?) He’s no different than Walker, just slightly more subtle about his backstabbing.

  • Chris Ballenger

    Slowly but surely more and more people are going to start to realize that they have been duped by right wing propaganda. The GOP is already a minority and slowly fading out. It will be interesting to see what they do in desperation as they go through their death throws.

  • Barbara

    We will not have the will of others forced on us.

  • DrCohen

    I’m a NJ resident and voter, so I watch Christie pretty carefully. His positions, strengths, and weaknesses resemble Reagan. Occasionally admirable, often destructive, insufficiently far-right for the current GOP.

  • Rev. Janell Smith

    Let’s face it– Bush II was just an ignorant political naïve bungler and easily manipulated by hawks like Cheney for their own power and greed. That seems to be the typical GOPer modus operandi.

  • David

    Nice try there – This article is a weak attempt to disillusion republican voters and create the false belief that Chris Christie is a viable candidate in 2016. The republican party has twice nominated weak candidates for President, and 2016 will be different. You and yours wish ahd hope that republicans will again nominate a weak candidate in the person of Chris Christie. It will not happen. Thanks for your efforts, but it will not work.

  • Craig Miller

    Hope you’re right !

  • Pope-1