For those of us who were hoping to see at least some post-election maturation occur among congressional Republicans, this morning's talk shows were disappointing to the point of exasperation and near disbelief--even if anticipated.
Their infantilization of the political process continues. Today, as throughout the last several days, Republicans' whining about President Obama's opening salvo--and that's all it was, an opening shot--was simply embarrassing. They whimpered, they moaned, they brooded with extravagant flourishes about that mean, unreasonable chief executive in the Oval Office, yet not once did any of them utter ... oh, a counterproposal?
OK, so the profound prepubesecence of the Republican Party is decided and its negotiating strategy is fixed. For the next two years, it seems, the biggest, boldest manifestation of the pseudoconservative machinery will be carpet-chewing.
Yet this does represent a shift of sorts, which might actually reflect a sort of end game.
Prior to the election, Republican pols were quite bold in their calls for essentially dismantling the welfare state (as evidenced, chiefly, in their proposal for Medicare's voucherization). In less than a month, however, they've grown timid, and intimidated. The cause of their twitching silence on a counterproposal to President Obama's initially proffered deal is self-evident: They're terrified. They're paralyzed with at-large electoral dread at even the notion of now furthering their pre-election obsessions; yet, for localized electoral reasons, they can't let go of them.
I don't see a way out. Republicans persisted in overreaching farther and yet farther when they still had a chance to rein in the madness. At some undefined point, though, they passed that critical point of fundamental sanity's retrievability. Now, as a national party, they aren't. They've marginalized themselves. They're regionalized. And how they break out, I just don't know, I can't see it.