As if in response to my challenge to name a reasonable Congressional Republican, David Corn profiles Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, a Gingrich Revolutionary apparently reborn as a sane (e.g., pro-carbon-tax) conservative. The bad news: the profile follows Inglis’s shellacking by a tea-party candidate in a Republican primary.
Inglis says what some of the rest of us have been saying: These people are freakin’ whacko, and it’s not good for the country, or even, in the long run, for the GOP. Inglis on a meeting with some teabaggers:
I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there’s a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life’s earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, “What the heck are you talking about?” I’m trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, “You don’t know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don’t know this?!” And I said, “Please forgive me. I’m just ignorant of these things.” And then of course, it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff. And now you have the feeling of anti-Semitism here coming in, mixing in. Wow.
Inglis gives a charming little sermon about why he wouldn’t call the President a socialist to please the base:
I refused to use the word because I have this view that the Ninth Commandment must mean something. I remember one year Bill Clinton—the guy I was out to get [when serving on the House judiciary committee in the 1990s]—at the National Prayer Breakfast said something that was one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard from anybody at a gathering like that. He said, “The most violated commandment in Washington, DC”—everybody leaned in; do tell, Mr. President—”is, ‘Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.'” I thought, “He’s right. That is the most violated commandment in Washington.” For me to go around saying that Barack Obama is a socialist is a violation of the Ninth Commandment. He is a liberal fellow. I’m conservative. We disagree…But I don’t need to call him a socialist, and I hurt the country by doing so. The country has to come together to find a solution to these challenges or else we go over the cliff.
It turns out that Inglis was interested in working with Obama toward bipartisan solutions. He lost his primary 71-29. Who else do you think is going to walk down that path? If the Republicans take control of either house in November, we’re on track for gridlock. I’ve had sensible people explain to me that the shutdown of 1996 was such a disaster for Gingrich & Co. that the Republican leadership wouldn’t try it again. But that assumes that the leadership, and the rank-and-file, will have the nerve to defy the tea party crowd and Grover Norquist and the Club for Growth. I see no reason to expect that to be the case.
The lunatic fringe is now fully in control of the Republican Party. The people now sitting on their wallets and complaining about Obama and the Democrats being a “disappointment” are playing with fire. And so are the libertarians.