First thing this morning I happened to read two pieces on the Republican House that, while separately true, are strikingly incongruous. One could also say contradictory, or, in conflict, or, incoherently patterned--in fact that's precisely what I'd say, the last one, that is. There is in the House emerging a GOP membership pattern that is altogether incoherent and thus immeasurably hopeful. Their conference seems to be a rotting relic of chronic, anti-New Deal monomania and acute tea partyism--and it is disintegrating.
The first story:
Michele Bachmann’s latest Obamacare repeal bill doesn’t have a single co-sponsor in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.... [T]wo other anti-Obamacare bills ... also do not have any co-sponsors.
The second story comes from Milbank, whose field observation of the exotic Steve Stockman, newly re-elected congressman from Texas--he of the embryonic impeachment groundswell of one (two, counting Ed Meese)--concludes:
What’s frightening is he no longer sounds like an outlier.
Yet Stockman, as you can see, is as much of an outlier as Michele Bachman appears to have become, although both sit atop the GOP's dominant bell curve of clusterfuck crazy. It's damn near Hegelian: little antithetical deviations from the underlying thesis of status-quo crackpotism, whose apparently too-familiar, yawn-worthy grind before the anthropoid base requires ever-more amusing feats of discrete lunacy.
Eventually this chaotic, expanding universe of idiosyncratic quackery will cease defying the laws of earthly political physics; it will pop or rapidly contract. And that's where the really interesting question comes in: What next for the GOP? It will have tried and failed at radicalism, which is of course the pseudoconservative antithesis of authentic conservatism. Yet the GOP may find it difficult to open a new front of classic Burkean conservatism, since the Obamian Democracy has already expropriated that philosophical territory.
Where to go? There's the rub--and a chief reason the GOP is, for now, staying where it is. It may be incoherent and disoriented, but at least it's hopelessly lost in familiar territory.