Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Elephant Dung #1: Murkowski says Palin lacks "leadership qualities," "intellectual curiosity" to be president

Tracking the GOP Civil War


Allow me to introduce a new series here at The Reaction: Elephant Dung.

Basically, it is our view -- and we are certainly not alone in holding it -- that the emergence of the Tea Party, the clear co-opting of the Tea Party by the Republican Party (and vice versa), and the victories of right-wing extremists (Tea Party or otherwise) both in the Republican primaries and in the recent midterm elections will lead to a civil war, of sorts, within the party. The Tea Party has tasted power and will want more of it, that is, will want to control the party, while what passes for the party establishment, however conservative in its own right, will push back against any such coup. Already, we have seen many signs of this, and it will continue.

The Republican Party currently embraces an opportunistic combination of neoconservatism on foreign policy, theocratism on social policy, and libertarianism on economic policy. This, too, cannot hold, though what truly defines Republicans is their relentless pursuit of power. And it is this pursuit of power, with Republicans now in control of the House and smelling blood, that could prove to be their undoing over the next two years.

We intend to track this GOP Civil War by highlighting instances of Republicans coming undone by going after each other, by turning their sights on their own kind and ultimately tearing each other apart.

We have chosen the title "Elephant Dung." This is not to malign elephants, which are noble, wise, and dignified creatures. (Republicans do not deserve them as their mascot.) Nor is it even to malign their excrement, which can be turned into environmentally-friendly paper. Rather, the dung is the waste that elephants cannot use, and yet all Republicans seem to be contributing these days is dung: bad ideas and bad policies, fear and anger, bitterness and resentment, ignorance and bigotry. If they would stop heaping piles of dung upon the country, and upon the world beyond, perhaps they could find themselves once again included in mature and productive political discussion. But they show no signs of doing that anytime soon. Indeed, it only looks to get worse now that they've tasted power once again.

Watch here for new entries in the series. There will no doubt be many of them.

Let us begin.

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As the soon-to-be-declared-re-elected Murkowski told Katie Couric yesterday:

"You know, she was my governor for two years, for just about two years there, and I don't think that she enjoyed governing," Murkowski said. "I don't think she liked to get down into the policy." The Alaska senator added that she prefers a candidate who "goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about how we're going to deal with" important issues.

Obviously, there's no love lost between the two women, not with Tea Party Palin backing Teabagger Joe Miller for the Republican nomination earlier this year, but this clearly isn't bitterness.

Rather, it's an honest, if also extremely tame, assessment of someone Murkowski knows well.

I continue to believe that Palin will not run for president:

Sure, she might run, and she could be talked into it, not least if the sycophants who inhabit her little bubble appeal to her massive ego and delusional belief that she's divinely qualified to be president, but I really do think she has too much to lose and that it's better for her, and her quest for ever more fame and fortune, to remain a sort of celebrity kingmaker within the Republican Party. A loss to Obama, before which she'd be placed under a high-powered microscope, could effectively ruin her plans.

And if she does? Well, she's deeply unpopular with the American people and with the more reasonable parts of the GOP.

As Distributorcap put it recently, to those of us who live in reality (and this includes those Republicans who are thinking clearly about their '12 prospects), she's "a reality show star who lost the 2008 VP election, quit her elected job as governor for financial gain, and cannot name one Supreme Court case." She's "the political world's Zsa Zsa Gabor -- famous for being famous."

Murkowski, I would say, was being extremely nice.

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Oh, and as for the Murkowski-Miller race? As The Hill is reporting, Murkowski has been welcomed back to the Senate by her fellow Republicans. How will this go over with the Tea Party -- and with extremists like Jim DeMint?

(That is, when DeMint is finished beating up Mitch McConnell on earmarks. This is a big victory for the right, but just wait until Republicans realize that earmarks make them popular back home.)

Yup, grab the popcorn!

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