We used to think of the Republican party as a monolith, where they all marched and voted in step with one another. That made them a formidable foe for Democrats, who often look like a collective of special interests trying to work together. Yes - herding cats.
Things have been changing however, and the Republican party is becoming more fractious. There are the traditional Republicans, who are a dying breed. They tend to be moderate and willing to work across the aisle, and still believe government has a place in our lives. There are the corporate Republicans who never met a corporate tax cut / giveaway / special law exemption they didn't like. There are the Tea Partiers who in general tend to hate all taxes but still want government services. They are somewhat allied with the libertarian types, who don't want taxes OR government services. They also want to smoke weed and stay out of foreign wars which makes them occassional allies with Democrats (this is dangerous), and at odds with the chickenhawk Republicans who love all wars, and want to send poor people's kids to battle. What they don't ever seem to care about is what happens to them when they come home. This is not unlike the social conservative Republicans (like Mike Huckabee
) who hate abortion and gays, but don't seem to care about unaborted fetuses once they're born
The social conservatives like to legislate morality, which puts them at odds with the libertarians. It's all becoming quite interesting, and sometime creates interesting news items.
In Louisiana, a so-called "Religious Liberty" bill failed to pass when a faction of Republicans sided with Democrats to defeat it
, much to Republican Bobby Jindal's chagrin (and FWIW, here
is the FOX "News" spin). It turns out that religious posturing and fearmongering does not win out over the potential loss of business. One would hope they voted it down because it was the right thing to do, or even the constitutionality of it. I am still going with Big Business.
In Missouri, there's been in-fighting, scandal, and even death
, making them wonder: "who are we, exactly?"
The latest fallen star is Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, who resigned in disgrace last week after acknowledging that he had exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a 19-year-old Capitol intern.
The saga has left people asking: "What's going on with Missouri and the Republican Party in that state?" said Dave Robertson, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
There is no simple answer. Some of the party's woes stem from poor decisions by individual members — the types of things that could happen anyplace. Other problems have revealed internal divisions that have been amplified as the GOP's ranks have grown, providing a cautionary example to majority parties elsewhere.
Missouri Republicans have at times been split among a moderate, business-oriented wing that has traditionally provided its financial base and a more conservative, tea-party element.
There has been a slow trickle of moderate Republicans defecting to the Democratic party, and in-fighting on Capitol Hill
. Where the Republicans seemed so unstoppable in the 2012 and 2014 elections, they now seem very stoppable. All one needs to do is push the wedges into the right places.