Some say that Ted Cruz has made a bed for himself in which he will soon be sleeping alone. A recent local article comparing the styles of Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell was not all that flattering to Rand, painting McConnell as more substance and success, and Rand as a pop-culture media hound.
Now an opinion piece at POLITICO has come up with a new way to describe what is happening within the GOP. The writers call them "Pod People".
In the classic 1956 sci-fi film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, an alien race comes to Earth and begins turning humans into “pod people.” Their bodies are left intact, but their minds are regrown, rending them humanoid robots under the aliens’ command. Unrecognizable to neighbors, the pod people take over until nothing is left of human society.
At the time of its release, the film was seen as a metaphor either for communist takeover (according to conservatives) or an ironic criticism of the irrational fears of communist takeover (according to liberals). Today, we think the body snatchers conceit perfectly fits another trend: the takeover of the responsible conservative movement — or least what is left of it. A small faction-within-a-faction — government-decrying, religious-fanatic, anti-science — have turned thinking Republicans into pod people.
There is continuing fascination with the rifts within the republican party. The old media helps to drive the discussion, which in turn gives the "new media" and "social media" savvy folks like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz fuel for their own personal fires.
But the real question is whether the sizzle over the rise of Rand and his brand of libertarianism and the unfortunate rise of pure obstructionists who lack his political skills which his popularity has spawned is good for the GOP in the long run. The authors of the POLITICO piece, think not.
There is growing concern that while Republicans may dominate off-year congressional elections, their ability to win a presidential election is diminishing. The crisis on the right revolves around two issues: demographic trends working against the GOP in the general election, and insanity working against the GOP in the nomination process. Extremist outliers now dominate both the public face and internal organization of the Republican Party. It is time to snatch these bodies back, and to steer the debate toward more concrete issues: America’s role in the world and the global economy; cultural divides over how to address environmental issues; our healthcare system and the costs of aging families; and bridging multicultural divisions in our country and around the globe. These are the issues the GOP needs to address head-on, with input from a wider range of perspectives.
Good point. While Rand's goal of increasing the size of the GOP may sound like a party building idea to his followers the "no compromise" positions that those same followers persistently take when it comes to their fellow party members feels more like a civil war than unity. If it has to be "their way" or "no way", the only party they are building is the one of their dreams, not the one they joined.
And the authors make another good point. There are some very serious issues upon which the GOP could take the lead and which would do a great deal of good for the party, the nation and the world. Instead many among this new band of republicans who went to Washington with the attitude that they are solely there to be an obstruction are missing the opportunity to get things of importance done in order to feed their egos on the attention their tantrums are receiving.
The entire POLITICO piece is an interesting read. Finally an adult discussion of the cancer which is killing the republican party.