The ultimate messaging goal, of course, is the delegitimization of the other side entirely; if Schumer & Co. (and by Co. I mean the Legacy Media) can render conservative principles beyond the pale of polite discussion, they will; they do not seek accommodation but total victory — and I think we need to admire them for that. They know what they want, and this “crisis” comes as a handy tool.
And naturally the Republicans make it easy for them. In the figure of Barack Obama, the Democrats have the perfect front man, the living embodiment of all their dreams and aspirations, a man who hates constitutional conservatives as much as they do, and doesn’t mind the using the Bully Pulpit, and the media that comes along with it, to lambaste the other side as often as possible. And the GOP has… who?
Not John Boehner, the milquetoast speaker, who found Maureen Dowd inside his head today, and who clearly never wanted any part of this fight:
He scans Politico. “As if things weren’t bad enough, Harry Reid’s office leaked these e-mails to show what a hypocrite I was for raising hell about Congress’s special subsidy for health insurance this week after he and I had wheeled and dealed to keep the darn thing,” he rumbles. “I can’t stand Harry, but you gotta admire his methods. That’s how they do it in Vegas, baby. While I was hoping Democrats would slip on a banana peel, Harry labeled us banana Republicans.”
The phone rings. It’s Eric Cantor, in his oleaginous Richmond drawl, assuring Boehner that if the speaker wants to defy the Tea Party and make a deal with the Democrats, Cantor will be behind him all the way.
Ending the call as he leaves the diner, Boehner cracks to a member of his security detail, “Hey, pal, pull the knife out of my back.”
Mo shouldn’t quit her day job and try her hand in Hollywood, but you get the idea. And she’s right about the hypocrisy; Boehner’s real problem is that he belongs to the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, and can’t understand why these pesky Tea Party types are trying to upset his applecart — nor does he particularly like having Schumer, Obama and the media hold his feet to the fire. And if those aren’t enough cliches to describe a man who’s pretty much a walking stereotype of a Country Club Republican, well, they’ll just have to do. Meanwhile, Cantor’s AWOL, nobody on the right trusts Kevin McCarthy, the whip, or any of the other prominent House Republicans. Ted Cruz has vanished and neither of the party’s past two failed presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and the distinguished senator from the Media, evinces the slightest interest in a leadership role, however symbolic.