Sunday, April 10, 2005

Turn Out the Lights

Is it midnight in the garden party of Republican politics? Have the forces of evil, that combined to form the worst nightmare for the American people since Watergate, finally turned on each other? It may be too early to say for certain that the GOP is in dire straits, but there is definitely trouble in paradise.

My first whiff of GOP vulnerability came the day Terri Schaivo died. Tom DeLay made his infamous "the judiciary will pay" speech, which went over about as well as a mazel tov at a prayer meeting, but instead of standing by their man, the notoriously circle-the-wagons Bush administration distanced themselves from the majority leader's comments. Over the next few days DeLay continued to be his pompous, overblown self, and the White House continued to isolate him. I actually started feeling a bit sorry for old Tom and wondered if he wasn't throwing himself on his sword for the greater good. I am so naive sometimes.

Bush never does anything without being told what to think. Cheney's a political animal and would never speak publicly without good cause. And who keeps his finger to the wind, measuring the strength and timing of each coming storm, then disseminates the information like a political weather alert...beep,beep,beep...there is a storm rising from the religious right...indications reveal a foul wind, isolated temper tantrums and rains of self-righteousness...all those in the storm's way should duck-n-cover until they have blown themselves out...beep,beep,beep...this has been Karl Rove reporting.

Over the next week dozens of Republicans opined from one side of the issue or the other (in a few cases, both). The judicial branch is bad, they are good, they need to be reigned in or impeached, they need to be left impartial. John Cornyn, a newbie Senator from Texas and former prosecutor wondered aloud, and for the Congressional Record, if judges weren't bringing troubles on themselves, then turned around and said his comments, despite being made in an open forum and for the public record, had been taken out of context. Senate Majority leader Bill Frist has done more-about face dancing in the last week than soldiers in boot camp. And who stands in the middle of all this whirlwind of controversy- Tom DeLay, who spoke via videotape to a Christian conference while he himself was in Rome for the Pope's funeral, and sounded not the least bit chastised, fearful or reticent to make his case to the faithful.

This has all lead me to wonder if there is not a powerplay being conducted within the Beltway, between two of the powerful forces in the Republican Party, Rove representing the neocons, DeLay representing the religious right. It has already been suggested that the traditional conservatives are less than happy with these other two groups. If we are witnessing the beginnings of open warfare in the GOP, can it be weakened enough in the next 18 months, to be plucked from power in Nov. '06? Howard Dean, you better be paying attention!