I have to confess that I was not a huge fan of the TV show “Lost,” certainly not nearly as addicted to it as my kids. But the current state of the Republicans, particularly in the House, strikes me as the political equivalent.
The report of a not-so-secret meeting last night at the Tortilla Coast restaurant between Ted Cruz and about 15 to 20 of the most outlandish Republicans from the House was like the crew from “Lost.” The long-abandoned island resembles where these members of the suicide caucus may soon end up, complete with bickering, intrigue and increasingly bizarre behavior.
Actually, many reasonable Republicans would probably just as soon exile this crowd to a desert island somewhere far, far away.
Of course, so would the American public. Gallup polling has the Republican Party’s approval sinking 10 points, to an all-time low of 28 percent. And an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey has them at 24 percent, the lowest since the poll began nearly 25 years ago. Furthermore, the blame for fiscal chaos is coming down hard on the Republicans and will get much worse if they blow up a bipartisan deal that the Senate is crafting.
Think down the road for a moment. If Republicans were to be so foolish as to allow a debt default and the stock market were to tank, retirement plans and 401(k) accounts would be devastated. Furious seniors who are Republican voters would desert their party, as would those who are approaching retirement. Folks, this is the only age demographic the Republican Party has been able to win in the past two presidential elections.
Plus, if this same crisis scenario is perpetrated again by the extreme wing of the Republican caucus, with support from the leadership and the vast majority of House members, do you really think the American public is going to stand for it? If this happened again in January or March or June, who will get the political blame? The Republican Party will, as well it should, for devastating the American and world economies.
The Republicans will lose the House. And the nation, composed of moderate-thinking, pragmatic, reasonable voters, will be ready to export the Tea Party caucus to sip tea on some desert island, out of sight and out of mind.