With Republicans taking control of the Senate, there is much doom and gloom among Democrats. But the Republican leadership and the professionals that run the party surely must be concerned as well because their caucus in the Senate may end up being as fractious and dysfunctional as their caucus in the House.
Think about the difficulties that John Boehner has had trying to hold on to power as the Speaker and remain somewhat tied to political reality while dealing with the far-right Tea Party types in his own caucus. As Sahil Kapur writes, Mitch McConnell may be in for the same thing:
If you thought House Speaker John Boehner has had a miserable time trying to govern, wait until you see what incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is about to deal with.
The Kentucky Republican achieved his lifelong dream on Tuesday night in a massive victory for his party, and is positioned to move into Sen. Harry Reid’s ornate suite in the Capitol when the next Congress convenes on Jan. 3.
But it is likely to be a short honeymoon.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the influential tea party firebrand, is poised to make life very difficult for the old-school Kentuckian by harnessing the power of the GOP base’s rightward drift to wage fierce battles with President Barack Obama.
Cruz telegraphed his strategy in a post-election interview Tuesday night on Fox News, calling on Republicans to do whatever it takes to repeal Obamacare and and prevent Obama’s upcoming executive actions on immigration.
And yesterday’s election provided a few new potential recruits for Cruz’ army of dissidents, including Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado and James Lankford of Oklahoma. Just as in the House, there may be enough Tea Party ideologues among Senate Republicans to hold the rest of the caucus hostage to their demands in many situations. McConnell may hear the words “careful what you wish for” reverberating in his aching head sooner rather than later.To show you just how disconnected Cruz is from reality:
“The two biggest issues nationwide were, number one, stopping the train wreck that is Obamacare; number two, stopping the president from illegally granting amnesty,” Cruz said.
It always cracks me up how ideologues claim that the American people are on their side on everything. If the repeal of Obamacare was such a huge issue, why did nearly all Republicans stop running against it during this campaign? Because their polling told them it would be a losing issue. Now that the law has provided health insurance for millions and millions of people, repealing it would be a political disaster for those who support doing so. And they know it. In a recent poll, only 39% supported repealing it.
As for immigration, poll after poll shows very strong support for allowing those who are here illegally to stay and have a path to citizenship. In a Pew poll last night, that support was over 70%. The polling consistently shows more than 60% support for it and have for years. Cruz simply denies reality and pretends that a majority of people agree with him, just like he still claims that shutting down the government was popular when the polling shows more than 80% opposition to it.
There’s an old saying that politics is the art of the possible, but for those who see compromise as betrayal or surrender it’s really the art of the delusional.