OK, OK! Maybe apocalypse is not here, and Darwin’s and Spencer’s survival of the fittest theory would be grossly misrepresented by my reference in this piece. But what else can be patterned in describing the current disarray within the Republican Party?
Both men, simply put, believed competition between individuals/groups for limited resources inevitably renders some – relevant, and others – irrelevant.
So now, put the aforesaid dead-smack in the middle of the ongoing Healthcare Reform debate in Congress, and a mortifying picture begins to emerge.
The Republican Party saw its last sunrise well before the 2006 midyear elections, with George W. Bush halfway into his second term in office. It was the year that saw the Party losing control of both chambers of Congress in a fashionable manner.
Back then, everyone knew the Republican brand was in trouble, but it was really hard to prognosticate quite how much. And with the 2008 elections came a torrential downpour, one that flooded the Republican ranks thinner (even at state and municipal levels) – and saw the ascension of a Democratic president.
Now, referencing back to what I mentioned earlier — something about competition between individuals/groups determining who rises to relevance, or falls into the abysmal shadows of irrelevance – it becomes clear the Republican Party is aboard a wagon headed for a nasty party in hell.
That Republicans in Congress are entrenched in their opposition to a Democratic president achieving a feat unheard of, no longer becomes a cut-and-dried case of political obnoxiousness, but rather, a consequential matter of necessity. It is where love of Party must confront and triumph over the fires of annihilation or the Party goes down in flames.
It is this quest for survival that pits love of Party against love of country, which does not always share mutual interests (as is the case here). It doesn’t matter that ballooning healthcare costs will bankrupt the country in years to come; that lives will continue to be lost at a steady and rapid rate because of an inefficient system; or that citizens who need care cannot even tap into such a dysfunctional system. As far as Republicans in Congress are concerned: “Damn country! We gotta survive now.”
The President and the Republican Party do realize one thing. And that is, everything hinges on the passage of a Healthcare Reform bill before 2009 grinds to a halt. The President has made the reform his signature issue, and thus, mortgaged his presidency on the matter. If Republicans in their efforts can by chance cripple him with a failure to pass a reform this year, a new lease on life is Godsend. And with it, maybe, and just maybe, a map out of the wilderness.
But the alternative, passage of a reform bill, bears funereal news. It sends the Party into a long night of irrelevance as I hinted earlier; especially since the President would have demonstrated he can get things done in a partisan manner and still maintain favorable approval ratings.
However, one Republican has deemed it more efficient to sell her soul now than continue to dine with the devil she knows. The senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, is the only Republican to date to vote for any Healthcare Reform in Congress. But she will have to answer to her leadership for this. She will have to answer why she chose country over Party at such a crucial time; why she thought herself smart and jumped off the wagon to hell before it even had a chance to reach its destination.
The reform dance will continue down the road, and you’ll continue to see Republicans exhaling sulphur and brimstone in opposition to it, insisting “the system ain’t broke, so why fix it?” But please, remember, this is a necessary whimper from an animal fighting furiously to stay alive: it’s only instinctual after all.
To the Republican Party, even the cosmos must be in collusion with the opposition. Otherwise, how do you explain a first-year president being awarded something as precious as a Nobel Prize for work yet to be done?
The sun is setting real fast on the Republican brand. It has sent a mayday call to friends –insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry, and all others for help. Love of Party, and not of country, becomes the rallying mantra for survival now more than ever—in an age of looming doom.