I am already worried about the next round of deadlines that the Congress must meet. Let us not delude ourselves. The Tea Party has changed American politics forever. We have gone beyond ideological disagreements into religious zealotry.
I am certain that the Tea Party is the exact group that the Founders sought to block. Thank God the Senate worked as the Constitution intended.
Here are the facts: sixty-two percent of the House Republican caucus voted against the bill written and passed by the Senate (even Paul Ryan voted against). I have not even checked but I bet all the Republican Senators thinking of running in 2016 voted against the bill. Mitch McConnell is being raked over the coals for his role in crafting the compromise and may be retired from the Senate in a year.
Even worse, the influence of outside political groups that have tremendous financial resources are magnifying the religious zealotry of the Tea Party. The only fear these wing nuts have is being beaten in a primary by someone who is further to the right than they are (if that is possible to imagine).
As a nation, we are in uncharted territory. I can only think of two solutions to save our government.
First, the time has come for responsible Democratic and Republican consultants to join forces and create their own outside funding sources and consultative services for candidates. I know there are plenty of responsible Republicans out there to make this happen. Money from Wall Street and traditional Democratic donors must be pulled together to field viable candidates in every district and state where they have a chance to prevail.
I know some of my Democratic friends are saying this is crazy talk. But it is not. As a nation, we have no choice but to meet fire with fire. Republicans who want to serve the national interest must have cover. Right now they are governing in fear.
Second, it may be time for Republicans to consider breaking away from their brand and form a new party. Too emotionally attached to being called a Republican? Snap out of it (to quote Cher from Moonstruck)! This Tea Party contagion is dangerous and must be isolated from the American body politic as soon as possible.
Let’s face it, the Republican brand is forever tarnished now. The field for 2016 will be loaded with more crazy politicians. Reagan Republicans, do you honestly think you can survive another round of that nonsense?
I personally have no problem engaging Republicans who are fiscally prudent and want a more efficient government. But in an attempt to secure the Congress in 2010, Pandora’s box was opened. Republicans made their own bed. While some may feel it is best to let them die in it, that is also wrong.
America needs a strong two-party system (may be even three). Checks and balances are important to our system of government. If the Democrats were to get absolute power, the corruption will be equally absolute.
Those of us who are old enough, remember the clock that symbolized how close we were to a nuclear confrontation. There were many times when the hands came perilously close to midnight. That is where our system of government is right now.
If we are to remain the world’s economic force, the time is now to think outside the box and find solutions so we can govern again.