The First Shots of the Republican Civil War Have Been Fired – Bring on the Insanity

goplogoAnyone who’s been following politics for the last few years had to see this coming.  Since the tea party burst onto the scene, the right-wing radicals of the GOP have been frothing at the mouth to take over the Republican party.

The tea party was originally embraced as a PR stunt to try to “rebrand” the GOP following eight years of a disastrous Bush presidency. It was also the racist response to America’s first black president. Sure, most Republicans will never admit either of these things, but make no mistake, those two issues were the driving forces behind why the tea party was pushed so heavily by conservatives.

But now that they’ve unleashed the monster, they don’t know what to do with it.  And the fact is, I don’t know if there’s anything they can do.  The tea party has incredible funding.  Not only does it have the funding, but tea party Republicans are often the die-hard voters that turn out in large numbers during primary season.

Meaning that many of the Republican candidates for president or congressional seats will have to appeal to these right-wing radicals the tea party has energized.

And there’s the problem for Republicans.  See, tea party policies are extremely popular with the far-right base that often determines which candidate will represent the GOP in the general election.  However, these radical candidates don’t often appeal to the majority of Americans.

The recent shutdown is a prime example of this.  While many Republicans actually supported the shutdown, the vast majority of Americans not only rejected it—they blamed Republicans for it.

Even before the shutdown began you had Republicans calling the whole idea of shutting down our government foolish.  And even in the face of indisputable reality that the shutdown wouldn’t be successful in defunding “Obamacare,” tea party Republicans continued to insist that they wouldn’t support reopening the government unless it included gutting “Obamacare.”

See, when it comes to tea party Republicans, they really don’t care about reality.  These people live in a world where what they want to be real is more important than what’s actually real.  Who cares if the Affordable Care Act was deemed Constitutional?  They don’t feel that it is—therefore it’s unconstitutional.

Who cares if President Obama was overwhelmingly reelected by the majority of Americans?  They don’t like him.  Therefore any and all actions to oppose him are acceptable.  I really believe that these people would rather see our nation collapse into the abyss if it meant defeating President Obama on something—anything.

See, according to the tea party, President Obama is “destroying the United States!”  So, I guess it’s okay for them to do it—-to stop him from doing it?  Because that makes perfect sense.

Even many Republicans can’t reason with these people.  Many long-tenured Republicans are having to pander to the tea party out of fear of facing a primary challenger and losing their seat in Congress.

That’s why people like Ted Cruz are so dangerous for the Republican party — because Republicans love him.  The GOP is at risk of being torn apart by its own ignorance.  Tea party-backed politicians like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul can spout off whatever nonsense they want, much of which is completely fictional, and as long as it sounds like something tea party voters want to hear—it’s going to gain them support.

It doesn’t even matter if what they’re saying or doing is disastrous nationally for the party as a whole — they don’t care because it’s good for them.

Because no politician is safer in their position right now than a tea party-backed conservative in a “strongly Republican” part of the United States. 

Which is great for them, but disastrous for Republicans in more moderate districts and states which face voters that aren’t right-wing radicals.  Someone like Ted Cruz can pretty much say whatever asinine statement he wants because his Senate seat is safe.  He doesn’t care that his statements, when published nationally, make the Republican party look terrible.  His behavior and actions boost his standing with the tea party, but they make his entire party look like a group of out of touch radicals determined to divide and destroy our country.  And he’s perfectly fine with that.

So while Republicans like John McCain or Jeb Bush make comments alluding to the need for the GOP to “calm down” or “move on” (both comments obviously directed at people like Ted Cruz), it doesn’t matter to the tea party fringe.  Their seats are safe.  It just emboldens them to act even crazier and get even more accolades from the majority of delusional voters in their districts and states.

And right now, you’re seeing the first real shots being fired within the GOP.  Tea party Republicans built on unwavering support from their radical base vs. more moderate Republicans that see the bigger picture nationally for their party.

Because while I rarely agree with Republicans like McConnell, McCain or Boehner—they know these tea party antics are a threat to their party.  Our government can’t function with an “all or nothing” approach to governing, forced on us by people who live in a conservative land of make believe.

But that’s how the tea party operates.  They see “negotiation” as them saying, “This is what we want—or else.”  In short, they don’t negotiate—they use blackmail, extortion and hostage-taking tactics to try to force the opposition to do what they want.

Doubt me?  Just look at what they do to members of their own party.  There’s already talk of tea party operatives working to find tea party-backed challengers to defeat current GOP members of Congress who voted to reopen the government.  Those conservatives didn’t give in to their demands, so they’re threatening to find “real conservatives” who will.

And this is only going to get worse for the GOP.  Unless moderate Republicans in the party find some kind of large system of financial support to combat tea party radicals, their party is doomed.

Because make no mistake, the civil war within the GOP has already started.  It’s going to be messy, it’s going to be ugly and it’s going to shake the entire party to its very core.

And at the end of the day, the whole ordeal will simply reek of irony.  The tea party, a mechanism meant to lift their party to new prominence after eight years of failed Bush policies, becoming the very thing that destroys the party from within.

While I’m not 100% certain how it’s all going to go down, I do know one thing for sure — it’s only going to intensify drastically heading into next year’s midterm elections.

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

  • Mr Smith

    “So, I guess it’s okay for them to do it—-to stop him from doing it?”
    This falls back on another forwardprogressives article. Where in that was mentioned, the republicans cause problems and then blame it on the democrats. I have been seeing this for decades. The republicans cause the problem, get un-elected, the fallout of the problems they caused start effecting the average person while the democrats have the power and the people re-elect republicans to fix the problem only to cause more problems and so on so forth, perpetually.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  • Sherrey88

    It’s going to end badly for the whole country – not just the GOP. The Tea Party are right wing conservatives, which is where all of the MONEY is. The wealthy wants to keep their money. They want to make more money. The SCOTUS has been voting in their favor. That all means lower wages (and less benefits) for employees, a bigger divide between the wealthy and the rest of us. Less taxes from them and more poor, hungry and uneducated in the general population. The environment is going to suffer. They will allow big business to govern itself. They will all but destroy the EPA. Oil will be drilled everywhere.
    Yes, Obama won both elections, but they have stopped him from accomplishing anything, other than the ACA, in the last 5 years. He had great ideas and foresight – which is what we were voting for. The Tea Party want him to fail, so he has and he will. The media makes it worse – and it’s not just Fox News. If everything these Tea Party royalty is saying is untrue, then why is it constantly being aired and talked about? Why aren’t these people called out or even put on TV? Because the media is both addicted to their advertising revenue and in love with the frenzy they cause.
    How will it end? The big business-screw the environment-give me all my money that I earned off your back Tea Party will win in the end. Money is the thing they value most and they will never have enough. Have you ever heard of any of them doing an act of kindness?

    • Mr Smith

      And yet they claim to be Christians.

    • sally

      When enough working and middle class Republicans are jobless, cold and hungry, they will leave this new GOP. Right now, they’re distracted by our President’s complexion, and will in the short term, continue to shoot themselves in the foot. ?feet?.

    • walter77777

      The Right Wing Conservatives do NOT have all of the money. Thefre are many filthy rich individuals who are strong supporters of moderate political and economic movements. Bill Gates, Warrn Buffet, George Soros and others serve to balance madmen like the Koch brothers.

  • Fafnirswill

    ” But that’s how Barack Obama and his toadies operate. They see “negotiation” as them
    saying, “This is what we want—or else.” In short, they don’t
    negotiate—they use blackmail, extortion and hostage-taking tactics to
    try to force the opposition to do what they want. ”

    And that’s exactly what they did, easy re-wording. The democratic administration outright menacing the public during maybe less than 20% of gub being “shutdown”, pinning the barbaric blame on republicans… yeah, yeah, same old bland coffee that never gets old.

    Try something new! Like… big nanny government toadies exist in the majority and we are living in a one– not two! –party system where neither does anything right and they agree on 90% of everything. People sill honestly believe they represent something, and frankly, neither of them do except for “Big Government Expansion”. That’s all they are, bought-out lip service snakes who gobble lobbyist and taxpayer money up like turkey.

    • Oldfart

      I think people like you take the easy, lazyman’s way out. Blame everyone else but themselves. Don’t vote. Don’t participate. I really suggest you move to another country. We don’t need your kind here any more than we need right wing extremists. Because people who don’t participate give power to the greater evil over the lesser evil.
      And then complain about it.

      • Skyhollower

        I agree, we must vote, even where gerrymandering has become pervasive, get out and vote. it is the only way we can fix this problem.

    • gemma liar

      typical white trash crybaby regressive reply,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      • Charles Vincent

        Typical liberal ad hominem attack.

      • John Baker

        Truth hurts.

      • Charles Vincent

        bwahahahahaha no what hurts is having to see replies like this, no substance no facts just emptiness sort of like the space between your ears johnny if you have an argument you would should spit it out. C WUT I DID THAR??

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      You are making no sense.

  • Sandy Knauer

    McConnell, Boehner, and McCain don’t get to have it both ways. They assisted the people in their party who chose to call themselves tea party through fundraising, endorsing, remaining silent when they shouldn’t have been silent, obstructing for/with them, voting with them . . . they are a guilty as anyone. More so, in my opinion, since they were supposed to be leaders.

  • cheeriogirl

    Today’s GOP IS the Tea Party. NO matter what the Republican leadership says publicly against the Tea Party, look at their voting records, remember their silence when the birthers first crawled out of the woodwork, listen to their current lies about the ACA. Is this the work of a rational group of people?

    Then ask yourself how an overwhelming majority of Republican Representatives voted to keep our government shutdown, no matter the cost. How can they blame their own votes on the Tea Party caucus within?

  • Ann Fendesack

    The far right has been coalescing since the 1960’s and the Neo Cons began to develop and gain steam, beginning with economics but gathering right wing nut jobs as they went along. I do agree that this has racism at it’s core and religious fundamentalism as its base, but it began far before GW Bush’s term as president. Sexism was added during the Reagan presidency as every societal ill was laid at the feet of liberated women and drug abusers. This has been building for a long time and everyone could see it coming.The first time I noticed the GOP obviously pandering to the right was during Bush Sr.’s campaign for presidency. It was subtle, but he needed it for election. He campaigned much further to the right than he governed as president. Without this palpable gain in influence by the right wing of the GOP, the witch-hunt during the Clinton years would have been impossible. Then came GW and the unfortunate timing of the 9-11 attacks and the rest of that miserable decade (vis-a-vis politics and civil rights) begat…this. The GOP jumped on the bandwagon before it mowed them down and sang kumbaya desperately, but they knew what was happening. This shutdown shows how powerless they are in the face of this monster they invited into their House. As far as the Dems go, they continue to disappoint because they still look so reasonable compared to the Tea Party. There’s been no real, effective push for reform on the left. And here we are. Just my two cents.

  • Smilton

    It’s broken and dysfunctional. VOTE them all out of office – demand TERM LIMITS folks – we can fix this but it will take everyone. How many Americans continue to fail to vote? How many don’t bother to register? American apathy and ignorance is partly responsible. However term limits will abolish the long term entrenchment and power currently enjoyed by the members of both houses. Change political funding especially executive PAC contributions that have become members’ slush funds and allowed them and their families to profit.;

    • Elinor Smith

      We have term limits for our state legislature in Florida–it does NOT fix the problem–they simply are continually running for office for the time they are there, and sucking up to those with money, then flipping from House to Senate after they’re term limited out of one the one. They have absolutely NO memory of the past, since they weren’t there, or don’t care about it–they only care about their future in the legislature. The thing to do is to limit the campaign contributions, and encourage GOOD people to run.

  • Johnny B Good

    The only thing the Republican Party can do to survive is pray the Tea Party gets so uppity they split to run their own Cruz / Palin ticket for their Whitehouse bid. Of course that would split the conservative vote and assure another Democrat presidency. However, Tea Baggers and mainstream Republicans alike have proven they won’t use common sense when deciding on what moves to make, so we can hope the insanity continues into 2016.

  • estfar

    Well the fight is on. What’s scary is the idea of “history repeating itself”. In Germany, no one ever thought that Hitler would rise to power. For me as a student of history, the tea party is like the “brown shirts”, a small radical group that took over streets and then towns and cities in Germany. Backed by dark money, they paved the way for Hitler’s advance. Germans, both Jews and non-Jews saw the handwriting on the walls but thought it could not happen there, Hitler would never take control. For this reason, I think the dangers of the tea party is far worse than any of us are willing to admit. Their endless supply of funds is funneled from a group of billionaires headed by the Kochs. In the very same way, big money funded Hitler because they saw the money to be made if the world was at war – planes, trains, ammunition, would be needed, industries would be fueled from unleashing a killing machine. You may laugh at my comments, but the men behind the tea party, the ones busing protestors to key locations, the men who pay Palin to come out of her rats hole each time they need her stupidity on display (after all she’s their Bitch), the men funding people like Cruz and the other extremists know that we stand on a very fragile democracy. They have been testing possible ways to shake the roots, and they can afford to do so because we have all made them rich. We continue to buy their products and provide them an unholy safety net. It is going to take all of us who still have our wits about us to fight against this force. Remember Senator McCarthy? After hearing Ted Cruz, I went back and did a little research, McCarthy was a bought politician who said anything for attention and through his lies, destroyed many innocent people’s lives. His witch hunt terrorized Americans – he went after the intellectuals, the prominent, the public figures, the influential – in the end it took one courageous President and one courageous Journalist to take him down. It’s going to take more than that to take down the Kochs, but we need to expose them, we need to shine bright lights on them and the other dark monied lot – that’s what they fear most – exposure!!!! Back them against a corner and the rest of that phony teabagger contraption will fall to pieces.

  • Ruth Kevghas

    It’s sort of funny when I started figuring out what my view of the Republican Party started out as- Nixon was in the White House, Kissinger was a Statesman and I thought that Republicans were for Big Business and only the well educated, because to make sense out of their strategies at the time took a lot of global knowledge about how to make connections with other cultures- like the first trip to China by Nixon and I thought Kissinger was brilliant. As time has changed- definitely thought Reagan’s 2nd term should not have happened- he fizzled (little did I know at the time that Nancy was orchestrating more of the still going on so she could protect him and his dementia) — as time has progressed, what I have seen since the Tea party came into its own, they now pander to the uneducated so that they can keep people downtrodden- like the Company Store used to do– they get people to buy into their service – never to dig their way out again. Now I see the Democrats increasingly strive to bring the educated populace to their bandwagon and it makes sense- who wants to be caught looking like an idiot wearing a tricorn with dangly teabags or a tinfoil hat? I have become a Democrat over the years because the stuff the other side spouts makes me cringe from the sheer magnitude of ignorance it displays!

  • Sapphire Possible

    Tea Party and Republican Party are the same. They pray everyday for the downfall of evildoers….and their prayers have been answered with the their own downfall.

  • free2b1956

    It’s time for the smoke and mirror articles to stop. Half of these are government releases that are filtered down to sub groups. The Democrat party of which up until now I cherished , is just as guilty of sub diversion. While people are snipping about the ineffective Tea Party, Our own Democrat majority Senate screwed us, and no one is even intelligent enough to feel betrayed. We are taking a screwing from our own party , the Senate voted to pass Paul Ryan’s bill for goodness sake and we should be pissed , if not for ourselves then for our parents who are going to suffer financially

  • Christine Shock

    Welcome to the Republiklan party…

  • Common Tator

    The lies in each article on this website are so obvious and in your face that it makes me wonder who is reading and believing this stuff. No wonder our country is going to heII with folks that think like this.