Tuesday, December 04, 2012

GOP will have to pick a side and go with it


It doesn’t seem to matter what you do in life, you’ll always second guess yourself. Maybe you should have stuck with something longer. Or quit something earlier. Maybe you should have taken that job at that place. Or gone to graduate school.

Looking back on life, it’s usually easy to see how you got where you are. It has been a straight line, after all. Even if it didn’t seem it at the time. But when you reached those forks in the road, you had to pick a direction. And you wonder if you picked correctly.

The Republican Party now finds itself at just such a fork.

The “conservative” or “tea party” wing of the party believes that they lost the presidential election because their candidate, Mitt Romney, wasn’t conservative enough. This, they feel, caused “the base” to be reluctant to turn out to vote, which, in turn hurt other Republican candidates and causes.

The more moderate (or liberal, if you will) side of the Republican Party believes that it’s actually those uber-conservative ideals which hurt them in this election cycle. Many have said that they feel they have been painted with a very wide brush that makes them look as though they're uncompromising and hard to get along with.

So you have two sides of a political coin, if you will. And it’s currently in the air waiting to come down heads or tails.

My personal belief is that the tea party wing of the party overplayed their hand and got hurt because of it. When you give ultimatums as they have made a habit of doing, you have only two options: everything goes your way or nothing does. They had gotten used to getting what they wanted and have no idea how to handle the current situation where they may very well get nothing.

That would be all well and good if they learned that lesson. But they seem to feel — as evident from Grover Norquist’s appearance on “Meet the Press” this past weekend — that the problem wasn’t their unwillingness to budge. The problem was that they weren’t strong enough.

Norquist predicted that there will be a huge resurgence of the tea party in 2014 if the president takes us over “the fiscal cliff.” He’s calling for the GOP to stand firm and refuse to cave to the White House’s demands for tax increases as part of a budget compromise.

I’m not sure if Norquist is bluffing or if he really believes that, but I think the GOP has painted itself into a corner and missed the memo that the nation as a whole took a left turn at the last election.

Of course, only time will tell. And when we look back on it, it will all make sense. Hindsight is 20-20, of course.

Scott Leffler can not see the future. This column is intended as entertainment only. All rights reserved. And other legal mumbo jumbo. Call your doctor if you feel more columns are right for you. And be sure to follow Scott on Twitter @scottleffler — as long as your doctor says it’s OK.