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The Republican Party has a rather large problem. The GOP has lost the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections. Even though the GOP, basically down to an anti-government political party now, has mastered the art of obstructing Congress and is very comfortable monkey wrenching from the minority side everything that has to do with a properly functioning government, or, god forbid, doing the will of the people.....they are finding that the gold ring of the White House is becoming more and more illusive.
The House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans since 2010, quite a few of whom are Tea-centric,.....operationally, has morphed into but a political messaging body for the GOP base. 37 repeal Obamacare efforts is but one example. Yesterday's House vote to pass an unconstitutional bill to arbitrarily limit a woman's right to choose is another. By a vote of 228-196, Republicans in the House passed a knowingly unconstitutional bill which the Senate will never even consider.
What accounts for such behavior by the House GOP? Why go through these motions?
My answer: The Republican Party is afraid of their far right base. Very afraid.
Demographically, the GOP is running out of groups to alienate for the sake of holding their base. Women, and their legal choices, have been taking a beating from state GOP legislatures since 2010....and women voters broke towards Obama by a 55-45% margin last year. With minorities the GOP is doing even worse......and younger voters surveyed recently regard the GOP as a stiff, intolerant, almost backwards political party.
Which basically only leaves white males as the GOP's base-voter foundation. Yet, a Romney campaign structured to win by relying on white voters exclusively failed rather dramatically just 7 months ago.
Yes, the far right base voters are patient....and understand that Rome couldn't be built, nor destroyed, in just a day.....but patience only takes you so far. Right wing fringers are looking for results. Sure, 37 separate GOP House votes to repeal Obamacare excites the partisan adrenaline, and in a sophomoric way, is temporarily satisfying.....but those 37 votes can't actually repeal Obamacare. A Republican presidency is required in order to accomplish that.
These fringers in the far right base want Obamacare overturned. They want Roe overturned, Planned Parenthood shuttered. They want undocumented immigrants deported. They want the social safety net slashed and burned. They want gays banned from the institution of marriage, unions and public schools plundered......and the federal government small enough to drown in a bathtub.
And although the far right base is primarily faith-based, by which I mean prone to reject scientific findings in favor of good ole' "common sense"......GOP leaders know that there's a limit to how much faith that same far right base of voters will have in a political party which can't produce the results they expect.
GOP Party leaders haven't forgotten the election in 1992, when a third party "patriot", Ross Perot, wrecked the re-election chances of George H.W. Bush by dividing the conservative vote...with Bill Clinton squeaking out a victory as a result.
Unlike the Democratic Party, the GOP is actually afraid of what their base voters will do. If the fringers, fed up with the GOP's lack of destructive progress, bolt the party for an independent or libertarian candidate or party.....Republican leaders know that their electoral goose is pretty much burnt to a crisp.
I've often wondered over the last decade or so why it is that Republicans keep feeling a great need to feed red meat to their base all the time. Democrats, on the other hand, take pride in bashing their base.....aka "punching hippies."
The choice of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate in 2008, as astonishing as it was, can only be understood as a direct result of how much the Republican Party now fears their far-right base voters.
It is this fear of their base which led House GOP'ers to a place in 2011 where they were within an eyelash of defaulting on U.S. credit obligations, settling for a national credit downgrade instead. Fear, as we are now witnessing in the Surveillance State details, can lead to much destructive mischief.
So, the next time someone shakes their head in disbelief over some crazy statement or event or piece of legislation set forth by Republican officials.....for example, the 38th time the GOP House votes to repeal Obamacare......and that someone asks you why Republicans are behaving like they have lost their minds entirely.....just tell them the truth.
The GOP is deathly afraid of it's base voters. The GOP will do ANYTHING to keep from alienating their far-right base. Because without that base, the GOP expiration date runs out.