The first clue: Teabaggers calling themselves the Tea Party.
In retrospect, it is astounding that not one GOP leader stood up and asked, “don’t you already belong to a party – it’s called Republican?”
From the outset, this weird breed of irascible cranks was a distinct species that had little in common with country club Republicans. Sure, they started as a weird science project directed, in part, by Republican operatives like Freedom Works Dick Army. They gladly took the free money funneled their way by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.
But from Day 1, these insurgents keenly understood they were a Frankenstein monster, that detested their mainstream masters and yearned to break free. They never intended to coexist with their naïve creators. The Tea Party’s goal was to supplant the Republican Party.
For years, this scheming cabal lived like an alien inside the host body of the GOP. From this cocoon, it feasted off the money and clout provided, while opportunistically attacking when they sensed weakness – such as running divisive Tea Bagger candidates in primaries with centrist GOP candidates.
They patiently bided their time until they amassed enough power to stage a coup. At the moment of truth, they ruthlessly seized the speakership from John Boehner. Then they flexed their bulging biceps and muscled the next guy in line, Kevin McCarthy, out of the succession race.
Mainstream Republicans still don’t get it. They continue to play a fools game and reason with Frankenstein. Their latest gambit at peace is to try to elevate Rep. Paul Ryan to the position of savior. They are promoting the former vice presidential candidate as a respected elder statesman who can unite the party.
Shouldn’t it be obvious by now that these unreasonable, flame-throwing extremists don’t want unity? They want to kill the host. Country Club Republicans must sober up and declare that Frankenstein is not a lovable, cuddly, pet who just needs a little patience. He is a true monster who needs to be put down.
It is unclear if the few remaining moderate Republicans have the will to fight the Tea Bagger juggernaut. The radicals have all the energy and leverage. Miraculously, they turned the once coveted position of Speaker of the House, into a position less attractive than cleaner of the house. They now demand that the next speaker drastically weaken the position and rule with a limp gavel.
In response to such treachery, moderates seem poised to shrink from the fight. They appear close to allowing the Republican Party to officially morph into the Tea Party. A National Journal headline this week read, Moderate Republicans’ Threat: Paul Ryan for Speaker—or We Quit.
The reaction by Tea Baggers was a yawn and a shrug. That is exactly what they want to occur. This is a nasty, dirty war of attrition and right wing brawl for power. If some mainstream opponents unilaterally bow out of the trenches because they don’t have the stomach to fight – that suits the insurgents just fine.
It is unclear if moderate Republicans can save their party. The establishment candidates for president are faltering. Scott Walker bowed out and slithered back to his hole in Milwaukee. Chris Christie is the world’s first invisible 350-pound man. Gov. John Kasich is a non-entity outside of Ohio’s borders.
And, of course, the biggest surprise is that Jeb is nearly dead. He’s a walking political corpse, having fallen to a miserable 8% in this week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Not even a $100 million SuperPAC can save this stiff. RedState.com reports that the Bush campaign is on life support, with staff being cut and Jeb flying commercial.
Meanwhile, a thin-skinned reality TV star and a seemingly brain damaged brain surgeon surge in the polls.
The only corporate Republican with any fight left seems to be George W. Bush. At a fundraiser, he slammed Tea Bagger legend and fellow Texan, Sen. Ted Cruz, as opportunistic. According to Politico, the former president went onto opine, “I just don’t like the guy.”
Ronald Reagan once warned about speaking ill of fellow Republicans. Conversely, tea-bagging politicians have trouble speaking well of their compatriots. The New York Times had an article this week that profiled five members of the secretive Freedom Caucus. In the piece, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash slams John Boehner by claiming that he runs the House through “intimidation and coercion.”
The article also featured David Brat, who unseated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, portraying him as captive to Washington and special interests. Cantor, like many corporate Republicans deserved what he got – since he posed as a Tea Bagger and helped recruit this motley crew to come to Washington.
It’s time for moderate Republicans to end their denial. They are under siege by the extreme forces they helped nurture and cultivate. Frankenstein has arrived.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”