This devil’s bargain that the GOP has made with the Tea Party since the GOP’s traumatic loss in 2008 — which seems to have driven the party half-mad with grief, and into the arms of the snake-flag crowd — just looks worse and worse. And not just from the perspective of UnPartisans like me. I would feel a lot worse about it were I a Republican. I mean a real one — of the Lincoln, Eisenhower, or Reagan variety.
Of course, the Democrats are eating it up; they think it’s great — the crazier their opponents get, the better they like it.
For the rest of us, watching these extremists drag down the GOP in the debt “debate,” and the GOP still clinging hard enough to drag the country and the world’s economy down with it, is pretty agonizing.
And if you’re a Republican, this has to be really uncomfortable. First, they helped people like Nikki Haley roll right over the actual conservatives like Henry McMaster (and Bob Inglis, and others).
And then, you have to watch stuff like this Kershaw County “when to shoot a cop” thing just getting worse and worse. It gets hard to disassociate yourself from a guy like Jeff Mattox, as much as you’d like to.
Last night, the picture above cropped up in two places — in an e-mail from the Democratic Party, and in a post by Will Folks. It purports to show Jeff Mattox, the Kershaw County GOP co-chair and member of Kershaw County Patriots (which, according to the Camden paper, he calls a Tea Party group) with you-know-who.
If you’re a mainstream Republican, you cringe in private at Nikki Haley being your governor, if you’re paying attention. Now you have to face the fact that all this anti-government stuff takes you to some pretty crazy places. It’s a matter of degrees, a series of steps.
- One step: Mere anti-government rhetoric, with a hint of menace. Gov. Haley likes to say people in government “are incredibly scared and it’s a beautiful thing.”
- Another step: This Mattox guy “likes” the cop-killing post, but says he doesn’t really want to kill cops: “No. It’s just kind of a conversation.” Eloquent defense, huh?
- Next step: “Basic logic dictates that you either have an obligation to LET ‘law enforcers’ have their way with you, or you have the right to STOP them from doing so, which will almost always require killing them.”
And then you have cops in Kershaw County going around wearing body armor.
It’s all connected. And it’s no wonder that Matt Moore and others over at party HQ are trying to cut themselves off from the more extreme end of the rope.