• 73°

Republicans getting to ‘yes’

Republicans have excelled at concealing their brilliance in recent years and Democrats have exalted in their own good fortune.
Whether discussing women’s reproductive systems or offering up unelectable candidates — “I am not a witch” might have been a tipoff — Republicans couldn’t stop handing gifts to their opponents. As for tactics, a GOP Trojan horse is … a horse. And an Orca project is a whale-fishing expedition.
Meanwhile, Democrats successfully labeled the GOP as the “party of no,” assisted by Republicans’ consistent opposition to everything, and always flogging their own in an endless war between the party’s wacko birds (Sen. John McCain’s term) and establishment players who were variously referred to as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) or Republicrats.
Democrats weren’t wrong.
But then one day, President Obama apparently lost his magic ring. The sun broke through the pall of Republican despair, the fires of Mordor ceased and the spell of buffoonery and pettifoggery that had plagued the elephant herd was miraculously lifted.
Congress raised the debt limit without drama; Republican leaders shelved divisive issues such as comprehensive immigration and tax reform, and shifted the focus to unifying messages about which RINOs and tea partyers can agree and lock pinkies: Obamacare is a failure and Barack Obama is an imperial president.
In essence, Republicans destroyed the Democrats’ sharpest weapon and absconded with their slogan. No more the party of no, the GOP suddenly is the party of “Yes we can!”

Quite a transformation, that. And all along the message of House Speaker John Boehner, even though his tea party colleagues, gladiators armed with certitude, couldn’t hear him. Rather than listen to reason, they heard only the whispers of their beloved Wormtongue, whose identity I leave to you, dear reader, in hopes you have read J.R.R. Tolkien.
While some may view this strategy as another Boehner capitulation to the crazy caucus, others recognize its brilliance. Boehner is quieting down the elephant herd. This doesn’t mean Republicans are making a run on canvas to build a bigger tent. At least not this congressional crowd. But party leadership doesn’t hold all the cards anymore. Outsiders — widely known as billionaires — have their own agendas, which are not uniformly consistent with the GOP base’s. Nor are they necessarily sinister, though this most likely will be the spin from Democrats.
Wherever billionaires gather, something must be up. Politico suggested as much with its exclusive story earlier this week about mega-donors planning a GOP war council that will be meeting soon at “a swanky Colorado resort.” Do wealthy Democrats meet in abandoned warehouses?
This gathering of Republican swanks is being hosted by New York billionaire Paul Singer, who wants to help shape the party’s direction leading up to the midterms. Dum-de-dum-dum. Singer, who gives generously to humanitarian groups, including wounded warriors, also supports same-sex marriage, immigration reform and pro-Israel policies. He is, in other words, a New/Old Republican — moderate on social issues, passionate about human rights, practical about demographic change and election realities, hawkish about defense and loyalty to allies.

These positions are largely consistent with a sizable chunk of the American people, if not so much with the GOP’s libertarians, who increasingly lean toward isolationist, boot-strap policies. Hence the emerging narrative of yet another internal war within the GOP. Cue Darth Vader breathing sound, if I may mix my movies, and enter the Koch brothers — those heartless, free-market avatars with libertarian tendencies.
The same Politico story described the Koch brothers as bringing together “hand-picked operatives and politicians twice a year at tony resorts.” Hand-picked implies “special” while “tony” is a word only used by 1 percenters. (I don’t think I’ve ever heard — not even in movies — a diamond-laden debutante belaboring restaurant choices say: “Oh, Capers, let’s do pick some place tony.”)
And they say Republicans use dog whistles.
Democrats love to demonize these groups even though they have a couple of their own billionaire bundling operations. But the emerging narrative of the billionaire war within the party is both incorrect and an obvious attempt to revive the idea that Republicans can’t lead because they can’t even get along with each other.
It worked for a while, but no more. Within the party, the Koch brothers and Singer might best be described as co-belligerents. Picture them as set A and B in a Venn diagram. The overlap is the story — and the war isn’t internal.

Kathleen Parker’s email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Man faces kidnapping, assault charges after woman escapes at Webb Road Flea Market

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May