Breaking Bad, Tea-Party Style

Last night, I stayed up past midnight to watch the ball drop over Capitol Hill.

The question on my mind this morning is this: What costs are reasonable Republicans --- those who want to govern --- willing to pay in order to mollify extremists in their party? Yes, there are districts that keep electing extremists who don’t believe in governing. They will keep doing so, thanks to the kinds of gerrymandering that took place in 2010, carving out ‘safe’ districts (which, in many cases, meant safe from communities of color who could otherwise have growing electoral power). But Tea Party types are not likely to gain control of the Senate or the White House anytime soon. And they don’t know how to act as the loyal opposition. They only know how to tear things down.

What can we learn from the Tea Party’s dedication to their extreme principles? Not to be extremists ourselves, in response. But their collective strength, which greatly outweighs their actual numbers, suggests that a majoritarian strategy (50 plus 1 percent) isn’t always the best path to power. A solid 25 to 30 percent that is highly motivated and crystal clear about its purpose, its ideology, is more powerful.

The Grand Old Party continues its downward spiral. Too bad for our country. It is always better to have worthy opponents, principled opposition.

The looming debt ceiling crisis is going to be a doozy.