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By Tom Cushing

Inheriting the Wind

Uploaded: Oct 10, 2013

The slow-motion devolution of the fractious GOP continues in a very public way. It's far-right, Tea-addled radicals have overplayed their hand, recklessly in every sense. They have reveled in the attention they always craved, without thinking about the greater implications of their actions. In the spirit of those who nominated unelectable candidates in Indiana, Missouri and my Delaware homeland, they have troubled their own House. They are about to inherit the wind.

The modern GOP is not a unified whole, but an odd bedfellowage of evangelical Theocons, now traditional Neocons, anti-regulation businessfolk, anti-government libertarians, aforementioned anti-tax TeaPers and so-called Moderates – I'd call them Eisenhower Republicans; others would use the derisive term RINOs. They are together, not in a common vision, but in opposition to the big, progressive Democratic tent across the aisle.

With the government shutdown precipitated by their own caucus rules being widely blamed on them, they face the calamitous prospect of a government default next week. Rather than acknowledging their overreach and backing away from the precipice, they have doubled-down. The TeaPers have now concluded, against ample evidence, that maybe defaults don't matter, anyway.

Perhaps we should not expect anything else from a bunch that wears factual denial like a medallion. And in case there's Any rational process afoot here, in a game of chicken there may be value in signaling that you are utterly nuts. But they have alarmed their own uneasy GOP coalition partners, particularly those wealthy business-types (WBTs) who underwrite the adventures.

As reported here earlier (having completely missed the Syria breakthrough, I need to gloat a bit), WBTs are heavily invested in world markets, capable of remembering history -- and they despise risk. Accordingly, their various lobbies, which traditionally contribute very heavily to elect GOPers, are in open revolt.

Here's the head of the heavyweight National Federation of Independent Businesses: "There clearly are people in the Republican Party at the moment for whom the interests of the business community — the jobs and members they represent — don't seem to be their top priority. They don't really care what the N.F.I.B. thinks, and don't care what the Chamber (of Commerce) thinks, and probably don't care what the Business Roundtable thinks."

Being accustomed to their Representatives hewing to the lines that financed their campaigns, they are not amused by the current shenanigans. Michael J. Driscoll, a former managing director of Bear, Stearns & Co. and lifelong Republican, expects the WBTs to shift campaign contributions away from House lawmakers. "One thing about Wall Street, it is very aware of who is working in their best interest," he said.

Further, as stated by the head of another influential business lobby: "there's a lot of talk around town about the need for Republicans to get into primaries and protect people who are being attacked because they are only 96% pure. I, for one, think that would be a healthy exercise."

Republican Moderates have not shown a lot of public backbone in this pre-fabricated crisis, but one thing they can be reliably counted-on to do is to be able to count, and to check the balances in their campaign accounts. The business lobby will give them cover – and cofferage – to stand and be counted in an eventual vote to forestall the default. Once that happens, the emptiness of the shutdown gesture will be apparent, I believe, and will go to the weedy graveyard of called bluffs.

So the crisis will be settled where it started, within the GOP ranks. While that's a good and necessary thing, it only gets us back to zero. If time was unlimited and delay had no meaning, it would be an unqualified good thing. But what of the opportunity cost, in terms of the things that weren't accomplished while this intramural drama has played-out? What of immigrants in limbo (and what about my passport renewal?).

Time does matter, and as the saying goes: justice delayed is justice denied. We have all inherited some of the wind blown (and broken) in this most-recent ridiculous affair. Perhaps there will be some new tenants in The People's House next year?

Synopsis: in biblical terms, "he who troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind" (Proverbs). In political terms, the TeaPers have troubled their own Party's House; the results are about to be calamitous for them -- in biblical proportions.