He said this at a conference organized by House Democrats, who’ve spent several years in the minority and are doomed to spend at least a few more at the hands of The Party That Doesn’t Exist. My favorite part in the clip below is where he touts the fact that ObamaCare, which has been underwater in public approval since the day it was signed, nonetheless hasn’t annoyed quite enough people to build a majority in favor of repeal (yet). To hear him talk, there must be a Democratic landslide brewin’ in November.
But he’s not wrong about the fracturing of the GOP, really, after a week when the Speaker of the House couldn’t find 218 votes in his own caucus for any debt-ceiling package. This is a nice bookend to yesterday’s posts, in fact, about Republicans trying to hide their vote-switching on the debt ceiling from the base and then blaming Ted Cruz for somehow singlehandedly derailing the big amnesty jamboree. Thought experiment: If you were proposing a major piece of legislation and were eager to get the two parties on board, who would you want to sit down with to guarantee smooth sailing towards passage? For Democrats, that’s easy: Since 2006, Pelosi and Reid have been enough. For Republicans, you’d start with Boehner and McConnell but you wouldn’t end there. You’d need Ted Cruz at the table for sure; there’s no one else in either chamber with as much sway over tea-party opinion. You might want Rand Paul too if you’re proposing something a bit more liberal on social policy, to try to bend grassroots righties towards the libertarian position. In the House, you’d need Paul Ryan if your bill involves centrist fiscal policy; if there’s anyone who can sway Republican undecideds in the caucus to support economic measures they’re leery of, it’s him. And you’d probably want several House tea partiers to round things out since there’s no obvious leader of that group. Raul Labrador and Tim Huelskamp, for starters, would be helpful.
There’s at least two fairly distinct ideological strains represented by the crowd I just mentioned and, if Rand Paul continues to win people over, a third in the making. Which is not a critique: As Paul himself said yesterday, “There is a struggle going on within the Republican Party. It’s not new and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud of the fact that there is a struggle.” But Diamond Joe does have a point. Let that be his consolation when he loses the Senate this fall.