Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Sand Castles for the TP and GOPOS
Published: The Huffington Post 2011.07.20
Can the GOP be split by the President into two factions -- Tea Party (TP) and GOP Old School (GOPOS)? GOP Old School are moderate GOP Members who are too scared to move without TP approval, but disagree with what the TP is.
Until the end of the month, President Obama has some interesting cards in his hand.
My guess is that he will let the TP and GOPOS attempt to destroy the economy, as they have scheduled for August 2. Then President Obama will step in with the 14th Amendment and obliterate their sand castles. All the whining over the last 2 months will get flushed out with the next tide.
President Obama can hold-up the GOP jellyfish in a shovel and say, "Look these guys wanted to poison the economic ocean and make it unsafe for anyone to swim in. Can they be trusted with anything?"
Another card is more interesting.
Stories like "Tea Party Nation Targets John Boehner, Mitch McConnell On Debt Ceiling" are the starting point.
The TP is using threats to bully the more moderate GOPOS members and leadership into submission. These threats are a sign that the GOPOS is going to get hammered anyway. It is a hostage situation that the GOPOS will need to stand up to and take defensive action. This is the fissure point.
Anyone looking at the polls can see the TP holds about 15%-20% of the population. That means 80%-85% see them as nuts. The GOPOS can still save the Republican Party from itself by showing some courage and standing up to the TP.
It is clear that all GOPOS members have TP targets on their chests. They will be primaried anyway -- so why sell their souls to the TP?
The President has a role in this too. Everyone knows the first rule of negotiating is to deal only with people who have the power to make decisions.
It has become abundantly clear that the House GOP has no real leadership. The TP and GOPOS are playing a rope-a-dope game with President Obama. The TP has threatened their own coalition, now is the time for the fissures to be exposed.
The President can pick who he wants to deal with -- and make a spectacle of it.
President Obama can offer cover for GOPOS members to get themselves out of an abusive political relationship. The President needs to strengthen the hand of John Boehner against the likes of Ryan and Cantor to create a clear thinking coalition to be joined with the Democratic Caucus.
At the next press conference, I would love to see President Obama throw out the idea that he will only listen to one GOP Voice. Speaker Boehner needs to muster a coalition of his own members or President Obama will look for a new dealing partner. If Speaker Boehner cannot supply enough votes to form a coalition with the Democratic Party, then he needs to step aside, simply because dealing with him is a waste of time. Time is of the essence.
Boehner will be given the opportunity to form a coalition government of GOPOS and Democrats to stem the flow of the Tea Party. The President can make it clear to the GOPOS Leadership that if they will not negotiate with him in this manner he will cut THEM out of the process. The GOPOS refusal will allow the President to negotiate only with TP Representatives.
Why -- because the GOPOS are cow-towing to the TP. Who would bother wasting time talking to the GOPOS since they will do what the TP wants anyway?
The Speaker will be exposed as a leader without any power. The President will unleash the TP Congressional sharks to pose an immediate challenge to Speaker Boehner. The question becomes -- Does Speaker Boehner have enough support to withstand a TP Challenge to his leadership?
If President Obama can topple the GOP Congressional Leadership from the inside, will he be able to isolate the uncontrollable TP Members from the GOPOS? If he can, President Obama can create a situation where the Democrats could return to some form of control in the current Congress.
In other words -- force the silent GOPOS members to take sides -- Boehner or TP. If enough GOPOS members stand up we will see the formation of a third party from the molten rock coming out of this fissure. A power-sharing deal would be cut with the Democrats for the next year going into the election.
This is a last chance for the GOPOS to have credibility and to stand up for themselves.
Otherwise, I see a President with a shovelful of GOP jellyfish on the beach.