Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Steve Benen writes, The House Republican tantrum that knows no end:
By all appearances, House Republicans are now actively seeking a government shutdown, specifically aiming for their goal rather than making any effort to avoid it. Indeed, the unhinged House majority appears to have gone out of its way to craft a spending bill designed to fail.
The bill approved after midnight would deny health care benefits to millions of American families for a year, add to the deficit by repealing a medical-device tax industry lobbyists urged Republicans to scrap, and in a fascinating twist, make it harder for Americans to get birth control. As the New York Times report noted, "The delay included a provision favored by social conservatives that would allow employers and health care providers to opt out of mandatory contraception coverage."
Yes, in the midst of a budget crisis, the House GOP decided it was time to go after birth control again. Wow.
Senate leaders and the White House patiently tried to explain to radicalized House Republicans that voting for this would all but guarantee a government shutdown -- so House Republicans voted for it en masse.
In fact, take a look at the roll call. Jonathan Bernstein asked on Friday, "Where are the sane House Republicans?" That question was answered quite clearly last night: literally every GOP lawmaker in the chamber voted for their government-shutdown plan. There were zero defections.
This was not, in other words, an isolated tantrum thrown by an extremist faction of a once-great political party. This was rather an organized tantrum thrown by the entirety of the House Republican caucus.
Keep in mind, I use the word "tantrum" largely because Republicans told me to. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in July, "Shutting down the government to get your way over an unrelated piece of legislation is the political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum. It is just not helpful."
Last night, Cole linked arms with his fellow conservatives and joined them as they jumped off the cliff together. Apparently, he discovered his affinity for tantrums over the last couple of months.
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What happens now is less clear . . . House Republicans continue to fail at completing even the most basic of tasks. The public doesn't expect much of Congress anymore, but most seem to believe lawmakers should be able to keep the government's doors open.
As things stand, that now appears unlikely.
It is clear that the modern Republican Party has lost any legitimacy as a political party capable of governing. The GOP has becone an anti-government isurgency. Many pundits are now calling the GOP the "suicide caucus" or the "kamikaze caucus" (after the WSJ editorial).
We may be witnessing the death throes of the modern Republican Party, its dead carcass hollowed out by the parasites of its far-right extremist fringe groups, just as the Whig Party imploded in 1852 and gave rise to the nativist and anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party, which eventually was replaced by the Republican Party in 1860. What emerges from this dissolution of the modern Republican Party remains to be seen.