The government shutdown hasn’t gone quite the way Republicans had hoped. The party’s national support has cratered; the public holds them responsible for a wildly unpopular crisis; and it’s going to take a while for the GOP to recover from a self-inflicted wound this severe.
But no one should assume they’ve hit rock bottom. Yesterday’s theatrics in Washington were a reminder that the Republican Party’s far-right wing can still make matters worse.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) attended a rally protesting the closure of the World War II Memorial, according to reports.
The lawmakers and the former governor – and 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee – joined a crowd that removed barricades at the memorial and chanted “tear down these walls,” according to Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP.
Cruz told the crowd that President Obama is using military veterans as “pawns” to draw support for his argument in the budget impasse, which has resulted in the two-week closure of the federal government and the memorial.
Brilliant. Flailing Republicans lack leaders and direction, but they’ll certainly get back on track now that the former half-term governor of Alaska is stepping out in front.
I’m not sure who was more delighted to see Palin and Cruz whining at a memorial Republicans closed when they shut down the government: far-right activists or the Democratic National Committee.
Indeed, it was quite a day yesterday. Right-wing activist Larry Klayman, who helps lead a group called Freedom Watch, told conservative activists, “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.”
Soon after, protestors made their way to the White House gate, where someone had the bright idea of waving the Confederate flag.
It’s a relief to know Republican lawmakers are motivated solely by what will satisfy their right-wing base, isn’t it?
Postscript: Cruz demanded to know yesterday why the federal government is “spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial.” Noreen Malone answered the question in some detail, but the answer really isn’t that complicated. Republicans, led by Ted Cruz, thought it’d be a good idea to shut down the government, which in turn closed a lot of parks and memorials. Does the senator really find this confusing or does he assume Tea Partiers are easily fooled?