To put the Republican Party’s relationship with the Tea Party in Facebook terms, “It’s complicated.”
But the Tea Party may be ready to change its status to “Single.”
First Michigan’s Republican Party chairman faced a challenge from a Tea Party candidate that he only survived because Republican governor Rick Snyder flew home from Washington, DC to save him. Now the Republican chairman in Ohio is about to face a similar challenge as the tri-corner-hatted wing of the party aches to show its displeasure with Governor John Kasich.
For those of you who don’t live in the Midwest, you may not know that Snyder and Kasich have both implemented a far-right agenda that had the Koch brothers high-fiving so often that their butlers had to start doing it on their behalf.
Both tried to bust unions, both cut taxes for business and both shrank social services. As Scott Walker got the nation’s attention, they implemented like-minded policies. As a result, job growth in Michigan and Ohio has largely relied on President Obama’s wildly successful auto rescue, which renewed the region’s economy.
But the two governors face difficult re-elections in their states, which both went for Obama… twice. So both are trying to get their state legislatures to accept Medicaid expansion, the first policy either has pursued that would definitely create jobs (and save lives). But Michigan’s Tea Party legislators have rejected Snyder’s plan and Ohio is likely to do the same.
Both governors need to win statewide elections. Their state’s Tea Partiers, meanwhile, have been safely ensconced in gerrymandered districts they can only lose to someone who has a better Ronald Reagan tattoo.
And this is the Republican Party’s essential crisis. They’ve redistricted themselves into legislative majorities, yet they can’t win statewide and national elections unless they infuriate the extremists they’ve redrawn the map to protect.
So how do you keep a party torn between those needing to govern and those elected to prevent governing?
You stick to the easy stuff — like hating gays.
At a Republican National Committee meeting in Los Angeles on Friday, members unanimously voted to reaffirm its stand against same-sex marriage. The vote added to the language in the 2012 platform, urging the Supreme Court to “uphold the sanctity of marriage” in their rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Whose idea was it to make it super-clear that the GOP is still the party that wants government to be just small enough to fit between two consenting American adults who want to marry?