It is referred to as the Phony War: that period of time in World War II between the blitzkrieg on Poland in September, 1939 and the battle of France in May, 1940, when pretty much nothing happened, yet every one hunkered down for what they thought was going to be a battle royale. Of course when hostilities did finally commence the War proved to be the bloodiest in history, but those eight months also proved an age-old axiom that expectations often exceed reality.
But, like the aforementioned Phony War above, the onslaught never comes. The President throws a curve and strikes a deal with the enemy, taking the wind out of their sails and derailing what promised to be quite a showdown. It was as if the Red Coats and the Colonial Army had sat down to tea and crumpets a mile outside of Trenton. Heavens to Murgatroyd, Snagglepuss, now what are we going to do?
Well, not to worry. History always repeats itself, and like that Great War of generations ago, the real war is coming. On that you can count. Of course, the problem is that the combatants aren’t who you think they are. In deed they are the most unlikely of adversaries imaginable.
While most pundits think the next two years will witness an all-out blitzkrieg between Democrat and Republican for control of America, I’m guessing the real hostilities will come within the Republican Party itself. Which isn’t to suggest that London and Berlin aren’t going to launch their fair share of rockets red glare at one another. Far from it. But before this “war” is over, I’m betting the ranch that the Grand Old Party is in for one hell of a French Revolution, and I for one can’t wait. In deed I am absolutely giddy with delight at the expectations.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the last two months. Already the Tea Party is grumbling that the Republican Party – you know the same Republican Party that Tea Party candidates ran under during the last election – has sold them out in the tax cut deal with emperor Obama. And now Michele Bachmann is going to give the rebuttal to not only the President’s State of the Union address this Tuesday, but also to the Republican response to the same address. Dazed and confused yet? You should be. It’s one thing to have power go to your head; it’s quite another to have all the oxygen leave it.
While the cornucopia of candidates of the far-Right line up to see who is more bat-shit crazy, the rest of the good ship loony tunes vies to find a suitable candidate – anyone – that can present a legitimate challenge to Barack Obama in 2012. Good luck, I say. Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and (just for laughs) Rudy Giuliani headline the list of wannabe presidents who are the best the Republicans have to offer. Can you say, “None of the above?”
Seriously, even with unemployment hovering just under ten percent, Obama beats all of these “candidates” handily, with only Romney giving him a run for his money. As Southwest Airlines would say, “You are now free to roll around the floor in hysterical laughter.” Not since the late 1980s has a major political party in this country been this far out on a ledge with no net. Ronald Reagan must be spinning around in his grave.
And with Obama expected to continue his march down the MOR Alley, look for his numbers to continue to improve among independents, while the Republicans’ numbers continue to plummet. Already he has a 53% approval rating – almost twice that of the Congress, both Democrat and Republican. Compared to Reagan and Clinton, who at this point in their presidencies were still substantially below 50%, Obama is practically revered. If he manages to deliver something substantial in his State of the Union – say a Clinton “The era of big government is over” moment – lookout below. Things could turn nasty in a hurry in GOP land, as finger pointing and infighting break out in full bloom.
Already battle lines are being drawn between establishment Republicans and the newbies who got elected last November. When no less a political hack as Karl Rove throws the likes of Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell under the bus, you know things are getting dicey. It is well noted that Rove was livid that Sharon Angle won the Republican primary in Nevada and openly questioned the strategy and wisdom of the Tea Party movement in many of its Senate campaigns. The irony is that had the GOP listened to him, both Houses of Congress might well be under Republican control. Don’t think for a moment that Mitch McConnell isn’t seething over what happened.
The latest “vote” to repeal the healthcare law is an abject lesson in how not to learn from history. For almost two years all we heard from Republicans was how Democrats were “taking their eye off the ball” in their pursuit of healthcare reform. So naturally what’s the first thing the Republican-lead House decides to take up? You guessed it, healthcare repeal. No jobs bill, no tax incentives, nothing to help an ailing economy; just yet another example of how strident, partisan and foolish this party has become since it was kidnapped by the Tea Baggers. And this is just the first month of their reign. Imagine how much more entertainment awaits us in the months ahead.
Yes, the war is coming, all right. Better get your popcorn ready, boys and girls, this one’s going to be a beaut!