It must be really strange to be a Republican these days. Gone are the days when you could simply call Barack Obama a socialist and expect to win the love of your fellow Red Staters. Today, you must profess your hatred for your fellow Republicans.
In part, you can thank bark-happy liberaterriers like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Jim DeMint who have made their careers nipping at the heels of the bigger dogs in the GOP — and generating a lot of campaign cash in the process. Unfortunately, Cruz and his pack of wild dogs have inflected Republicans with a virulent form of rabies, one in which the act of foaming at the mouth is mistaken for a filibuster and madness for party purity. But we’ve gone beyond that now.
Now, even die-hard GOPers like Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Susana Martinez, and Nikki Haley, who have never spoken an ill-word about their fellow Republicans, have decided to pounce on their GOP brethren in Washington D.C. like an NFL-career-eyeing Jadeveon Clowney on the injured-list bench.
Last week, Haley, Jindal, and the other members of the Republican Governors Association released a stunning rebuke of their Beltway colleagues. In a splashy new ad campaign, the RGA says, “We are no longer going to outsource the Republican brand to the talking heads in Washington. We are not going to allow the Republican Party to be defined by the dysfunction in Washington. We are not going to allow the antics in Washington to damage or destroy what we stand for.”
Evidently, the whole Mexican standoff that Ted Cruz created and everybody in the GOP was all sex-nuts for just a few weeks ago isn’t as popular as it once was — you know, after people started getting furloughed from their jobs, the national parks were barricaded, and there was nobody on the job to stop antibiotic resistant bacteria-laden chicken from entering the food chain. Apparently, Democratic voters aren’t the only ones who suckle at the federal teat and depend on the kindness of Uncle Sam.
Of course, we all know that Jindal, Kasich, Martinez, and Haley’s decision to unlike Congress has next to nothing to do with any sort of real ideological divide between them and their Beltway brethren. They’re just worried that any hatred directed towards John “The Great Pumpkin” Boehner and his band of hollow gourds might inversely affect their own aspirations, whether that’s a run for the White House or a deal as a Fox News pundit, it doesn’t matter. They want their treats, and so they’ve pulled a trick on the D.C. GOP.
Consider S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. In a speech at a pro-industry luncheon in Charleston on Tuesday, Haley made no effort to hide her disdain for her Washington D.C. teammates. “You send people to D.C. to work. You don’t send them to shut something down,” she said. “I’m frustrated by both the Republicans and Democrats. There are no saints in Washington right now.”
Haley’s particularly incensed at how both parties are allowing petty gamesmanship to ruin the lives of regular Americans. She added, “You can’t do this on the back of the people. You just can’t. There’s too many people hurting from this. And when you look at that, it’s almost you’re just saying you’re going to close an eye to all of this and it’s a game … My job is not to play their game in D.C., but to make sure South Carolina keeps running.”
However, if Haley truly gets her way, South Carolina won’t be running either. Unlike many of her fellow Republicans in Washington, she doesn’t believe the debt limit should be raised. “We are having the wrong discussion in Washington D.C. Never should you have the discussion of raising the debt ceiling. At what point do you have the discussion of living within your means?”
While that’s a valid question to be sure, it’s one that we already have an answer for — never. And Haley should know that.
After all, if a temporary government shutdown forces her to turn against her own party, then what does she think will happen when the federal government shuts down whole segments of the government for good? What happens when those national parks never reopen? What happens when Medicare dries up? What happens when Uncle Sam decides that it’s no longer in the business of subsidizing Hoveround wheelchairs and Boeing? Evidently, a little bit of hurt bothers Haley, but a whole helluva lot of hurt, not so much.