Rush Limbaugh said he could not remember "any major political party being so irrelevant" as the Republicans are right now. PHOTO: Reuters
The Republican Party is in tatters right now. They went all-in on an attempt to tackle Obamacare via the government shutdown and then the need to raise the debt ceiling. It failed miserably. The Senate agreed to a deal that essentially strips out any concessions to Republicans and the House will put it up for a vote later today. This was unconscionable to Republicans two weeks ago, but it is now reality.
But don’t take my word for it, here are 5 quotes from Republicans that show just how messed up the Republican Party is right now.
"I was trying to think if ever in my life, I could remember any major political party being so irrelevant. I have never seen it. I have never seen a major political party simply occupy placeholders, as the Republican party has been doing. There has not been any serious opposition...against what's happening in this country. The Republicans have done everything they can to try to make everyone like them and what they've ended up doing is creating one of the greatest political disasters I've ever seen in my lifetime...I was pondering if I could ever remember...a time when a political party just made a decision not to exist, for all intents and purposes."
Limbaugh seems to think that the problem was Republicans not being obstructionist enough (more on that later), but he comes to the same conclusion as many saner people: the GOP is in real trouble right now.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.):
“I think it’s obvious that we are now seeing the end of this agonizing odyssey that this body [the U.S. Senate, not McCain’s body] has been put through, but far more importantly, the American people have been put through. It’s one of the more shameful chapters that I have seen in the years I have spent here in the Senate.”
John McCain has decried the Tea Party intransigence that led to this mess for a long time. With no elections in sight, he is straight talking McCain, and he is calling it as he sees it.
The next one is a combination of quotes, the first from Republican Senator of New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte on the conservatives who want to wage this same fight again in a couple of months:
"They have learned nothing…If we learn nothing else, I hope we learn we shouldn't get behind a strategy that has no endgame."
Senator Ayotte, meet Representative Steve King:
"If we're not willing to take a stand now, then when will we take this stand?"
Dude, you took your stand. It didn’t work. Not just because the Democrats stopped you, the American people hated your whole “hold Obamacare ransom” plan.
But if you ask Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID), it’s not the Republicans fault, it’s that damn liberal media:
"You guys in the media continued reporting that what the conservatives were asking for was the full repeal of Obamacare. That's absolutely false...We never asked for a full repeal of Obamacare because we can't get that. We have voted on a full repeal of Obamacare that the Senate has rejected every single time. But what we were asking for, our position from the beginning, was exchanging a one-year CR for a one-year delay of Obamacare. That was something we thought both sides were giving on something."
Labrador sums up the Tea Party consensus on this whole saga: we offered a fair deal (undo Obama’s signature legislative achievement in exchange for keeping the government running) and Democrats spat at us.
If Republicans want to become relevant again, they need to decide if they are the party of people like Labrador or people like McCain. They have been the former for a few years now, and it’s not clear that they can hit the brakes and get back to sanity anytime soon.