By Rachel Brody |
The world may not have ended for most of us, but last night the world as John Boehner knows it ended on a very embarrassing note. The failure of the Speaker to get his own caucus to support his own budget plan formalized the death of the traditional Republican Party.
The Party of Lincoln became the Party of Tea back in 2009, but nobody bothered to send the paperwork to the Federal Elections Commission. After Boehner's budget bust last night it's time to throw out (sorry environmentalists, the Tea Party doesn't recycle) the old stationary with "Republican Party" on it and replace it with "Tea Party"—letterhead, envelopes and checks.
Much to the relief of Barack Obama and the Harry Reid, the Tea Party became the official poster child for dysfunction in Washington last night. After the November election disaster, conservatism was in bad shape, now it's riding to hell in a hand basket.
Yesterday CNN released a national survey which indicated that more than half of the public (53 percent) believes the Republican Party is too extreme. By the time we finish the debates on the budget and gun control, the number will be well into the 60 percent range. The sky is the limit for the Party of Tea.
The problem is that the voters just aren't buying what conservatives are selling. Every national poll I've seen in the last year shows that about two out of every three Americans want to increase taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year. The same polls indicate that about the same number of people oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The conservative party—whatever it's called—responds to public opinion with a package that includes cuts in Social Security benefits and tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Brilliant!
Because of the public's opposition to the Tea Party's budget proposal, President Obama already had the upper hand in the budget negotiations. On top of that, the president's approval rating is higher than it's been in a long time. He won re-election with a 49-percent job rating. In the new CNN national survey, a clear majority of Americans (57 percent) give the president a positive job rating.
Its one thing for a Democrat and liberal like me to tell John Boehner that Plan B was a bust, but when the speaker, the Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and the Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy can't get their own caucus to support their signature plan, it's obviously time for conservatives in the House of Representatives to find new leadership. I'm sure Michele Bachmann would be glad to take the reins.
About Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research