Writings and observations

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Were I a thinking, moderate Republican – which I’m not- but if I were, I’d not only embrace Ted Cruz, I’d be an advocate for everything he stands for. I’d do anything I could to help him get his venomous message out. Seldom has a national political party had such a quick and ready answer to solve what ails it. And how to fix it. Cruz is “da man!”

At this point, some of my more independent, moderate – and especially liberal – friends are reaching for their heart meds and asking for water. But hear me out.

Interviewed by CNN in San Antonio last weekend, Cruz flat out said Republicans “are the single most damaging thing” for the GOP in 2014. The exact quote: “The single most damaging thing that has happened to Republicans for 2014 is all of the Senate Republicans coming out attacking the House Republicans – attacking those pushing the effort to defund Obamacare and lining up opposite the American people.”

Wow! Right on, Teddy! Let the good times – and the divisive rhetoric – roll, baby! Give ‘em Hell! Pure B.S. but go for it!

O.K. Let’s check out some facts. Republicans are going to have tough sledding in the 2014 national election. There are lots of very valid indicators around – all with bad news for Republicans – enough to make professional GOP campaign folks consider taking the year off.

The latest from Public Policy Polling – taken during the height of the budget-debt ceiling fracas – was in 25 GOP held districts. Remember – the questions were asked of folks who already had a Republican member in Congress. In 15 of the 25, respondents preferred a “generic Democrat” to their own representative by name. Just “any old Democrat” to whoever was there now. Ouch!

But it gets worse. Combined with other surveys by the same pollster in the last three weeks, those old “generic Democrats” win 37 of 61 Republican-held districts! Ouch again!

And when told their Republican office holder supported the government shutdown, 11 more districts flipped to”generic Democrat” and one race was a tie. OUCH big time!

Democrats need 17 seats to retake the House. These results show they could get as many as 49! Doubt it’ll happen but some will flip. Maybe 17.

Here’s another sampling – CNN/ORC International polling during the same time. Folks questioned – 54% – said it’s a bad thing the GOP controls the House. 54%! That’s up 11 points since December. Just 38% say it’s a good thing and that is a 13 point dive during the period.

The same sampling found more than six in ten people said Speaker John Boehner should be replaced. AND – nearly 60% favor the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or say it doesn’t go far enough.

So – what has all this to do with Ted Cruz and thinking, feeling Republicans? Simple. Whether the numbers cited here hold up or things move a bit more to the right, the Republican Party is going to take a “hit” at the polls next year. People are fed up with congress. No sampling of public opinion in the last year has found otherwise. None. Only question is who and how much. The brand is sour for all but the most diehard GOP voters.

The Party is badly divided. Party machinery – those controlling who gets on the ballot in many states and who gets monetary support – is in the hands of the far right in a lot of places. Candidates of a more moderate stripe will be – as they often have been – shut out. Oregon is a prime example. The Party chairman is a nut case elected to the job by other similarly politically handicapped souls. New faces on our 2014 national ballots will most certainly be tilted toward the edge of their square earth. Moderates need not apply.

For the last 30 years, the Republican Party has been lurching ever farther out. It has been a happy hunting ground for the Bachmanns, Ghomerts, Brouns, Labradors, Robinsons and others of their ilk. There is no question the Party – in its continued attacks on women and minorities – is headed to oblivion as it tries to appease a diminishing base of older, white voters.

Despite repeated proclamations from its leadership to the contrary, the GOP – as it now exists – is headed to the basement. To become viable again – to become more open and welcoming to a broader base – there must be a complete housecleaning top to bottom. Wiser, more moderate members must find their voices and their place in a new leadership. But that takes time. That takes years.

Then, voila! Along comes “Texas Crude” – our man Cruz. The one guy that might just cut years off that purging and rebuilding. The one political kamikaze pilot that could speed up that process for all Republicans.

Given their head, Cruz, Lee, Rubio, Paul and a few others could bring the intra-party cleansing to a head in the next few months. A year or two tops. Cruz – especially Cruz – could be the crazy shepherd who first divides, then leads the far right lambs off into political swamps in a minority-minority GOP splinter party destined to fail. Yes, this would leave the majority of thinking Republicans in a minority. But only for awhile. Far less time than if the contaminated mess now extant in the party hierarchy continues. Rebuilding the Republican Party into a functioning, welcoming, more attractive place for moderates and independents – even disaffected Democrats – could come a whole lot sooner if the Cruz cancer is exorcized. Surgery and healing now is better than letting the disease – which is killing the Party with more and more voters – metastasize until there is nothing left to save.

Cruz may be just what the doctor ordered. A strong dose of politically curative castor-oil followed by self-directed excommunication. Cut the whackos out and get on with the healing.

For that reason, I’m a Cruz booster. Whatever he says is fine with me. Go for it, Teddy! Drink the Kool-Aid.

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Rainey