Monday, March 22, 2010

What Do You Do When You Bet the Ranch On A Turn Of the Cards And Lose It?

That's the conundrum that the GOP faces this morning.

It is what one would call a Political Hangover Writ Large.

Of course I'm talking about health care reform and the bill that passed the House by six votes. What's in the bill? I'm sure we're going to learn about it in excruciating detail over the years of its gradual rolling implementation, but one thing's for sure-implementation is going to make turning the Jahre Viking on a dime child's play by comparison.

But those are what we call Details.

The legislative process, or, How We Got Here, is well summarized by a story in Mr. Dooley's Philosophy entitled "Platform Making", written by Finley Peter Dunne 100 years or so ago. It's worth a look see for perspective's sake.

One thing's for sure, though. The GOP pulled out every stop, and handed out markers all over the territory to stop this thing. Whether it was Mrs. Palin's 'death panels' or Chuck Grassley's 'pulling the plug on grandma' or the wholesale mobilization of an army of irredentist teabagger yahoos for street theater, threats of voter revenge in November, calls for a do-over, and the efforts of an army of talk radio fuhrers, they did it all.

They mortgaged everything on the expectation that they could cause the Democrats in Washington to blink. After all, the theory goes, anything resembling a liberal or a Democrat is by nature a waffler who can be bluffed off a flush by a pair of deuces, steely resolve and sufficient amounts of nerve.

It didn't work. The suckers, or so they were perceived to be, stuck to their guns.

If you're part of the GOP this morning, what you need to ask yourself is "What did we create, and what do we do with it now?" Enabling the tea bagger National Lower Intestinal Tract Movement was a strategy that was a part of betting the table and it came up short.

But having brought this hulking, angry, petulant child into being, and thereby enabling every discredited crank, conspiracy theorist, birther, tenther, sixteenther, John Calhoun states' righters, Alaskan Joe Vogler neanderthals, gunslingers and plain old country racists to find a voice and a platform, now the GOP has to figure out what to do with what they gave birth to.

And that's not going to be an easy task, any road. There's no reason to think that whatever passes for leadership in the tea bagger movement is going to suddenly change course, get with the program, and buckle down for the long slog.

After all, when you've hurled a brick through a window and set the house on fire, what's next for you? Another part of the hangover for the GOP will be "How can we possibly have any input here if we arm wrestled and lost? We've burned a lot of bridges fer Chrissakes."

Well. They created this stinking mess and they've got the unenviable task of making with the sackcloth and ashes here for a while.

My old man was a pretty smart guy, and when I'd come home with some mess on my hands that I'd created he'd look up from his Newark Evening News, look over the top of his wire rimmed glasses and he'd say "You bought it-now fix it."

That seems to describe the GOP this awful hungover morning.


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