Tea party's one goal starts to fracture the GOP
Updated: Thursday, September 19 2013, 08:14 PM EDT
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - 12 days and counting to see if the right-wing opposition to the Affordable Care Act will bring about another government shut down.
Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's another risky act in the world of high-stakes political theater.
It seems almost too incredible. The Republican Party here in Michigan and in Washington gauges what it does out of fear of the tea party.
Not because the tea party has so many members, but because it has oodles and oodles of money.
Money it is willing to spend when the least bit offended by a candidate here or there who steps over a line drawn by the tea party.
Remember Senator Tom Casperson? He's the conservative Michigan Republican from the U.P. who finally switched his vote two weeks ago so the State Senate could pass Medicaid expansion.
Well, that extra healthcare is a part of the Affordable Care Act.
That means Obamacare.
As a result, Casperson is already being targeted by the tea party.
Congressman Aaron Schock is a conservative Illinois Republican who two years ago voted to increase the debt ceiling and last year said 'yes' to a last-minute spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.
He, too, is being targeted by his friends in the tea party. So are ten of his colleagues.
The tea party is funded by people like Americans For Prosperity, a Koch Brothers enterprise, and by less transparent groups like the Club For Growth, or the National Liberty Federation, and others, who don't have to tell us where their money comes from.
As noted in the New York Times yesterday, these people—these right-wing conservatives—are now spending more money attacking Republicans than Democrats are. Imagine that!
Forget the fact our economy is still on shaky ground, that our middle class is disappearing, that our educational system stacks up poorly against other wealthy countries, or that we have a host of other problems at our feet.
The tea party has one goal: To repeal or defund Obamacare. Forget the fact there have been more than 40 failed efforts in Congress already to do just that. Each one voted down.
These radical conservatives are therefore prepared, instead, to shut down the government.
What happens in a shutdown? For starters, Social Security checks would most likely not be mailed.
Non-essential government employees would be furloughed. Parks and embassies would be shut down.
On-going projects would be put on hold. Contractors would not be paid. And it would open the door for concerns about our government defaulting on its bond obligations.
If that happened it would put the United States on a level with the city of Detroit.
The world financial community see us as a sadly out of control joke of a country on the brink of blowing its legs off.
Polls indicate the majority of Americans would blame Republicans in the event of a shutdown.
But the cash-rich tea party is willing to risk that in the name of getting rid of Obamacare, a fools errand if ever there was one.
To begin with, any legislation would have to get the President's signature. And that is simply not going to happen.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal called this wingnut war a kamikaze mission. The conservative National Chamber of Commerce is urging House Republicans to back off. Even Karl Rove said today he thinks the whole defunding effort is self-defeating.
Undaunted, the tea party continues its march toward shutdown.
It appears the only way Americans can shed themselves of this yoke called the tea party is to turn out in huge numbers on election day and quite literally vote against any candidate being supported by them.
And for moderate republicans to stand up for themselves.
The word moderate is not a dirty word.
Its time to tell the tea party and all of its wealthy backers to stop wasting our time.
In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.