Earth to the Republican Party. You aren’t faring too well in the polls.
In fact, the GOP is getting pounded by a public increasingly exasperated by the federal government shutdown most Americans blame on Republicans in Congress.
It appears that the reckless tea party insurgents, drunk with their goal of bringing down big government, instead are tearing down the Republican Party from within. And they are learning the hard way that the public doesn’t hate the government — they actually like it and are angry that the dispute in Washington has ground so many essential services to a halt.
Both the GOP and their sub-group of tea party hardliners have hit all-time lows in public approval ratings, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday.
Yet many Republicans seem unable to comprehend the disastrous impact of their failed strategy to try to shut down the Affordable Care Act by shutting down the federal government.
“The Republicans are not tone deaf,” pollster Peter D. Hart told NBC. “They are stone deaf.”
Not only do people blame the Republicans, they don’t like them very much.
Four out of five Americans describe Republicans as unlikeable, dishonest and not compassionate, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll released Wednesday.
Yet tea party enthusiasts, including Kentucky junior Sen. Rand Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, keep claiming victory in the face of defeat.
“We’re going to win this, I think,” Mr. Paul said recently to Kentucky senior Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, in a conversation they didn’t realize was being recorded.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the tea party Republican who helped drive the foolish shutdown over “Obamacare,” on Friday continued to exhort his supporters to “stand strong” against the health care law even as many within the GOP recognize the damage to their party.
They include Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu. “It’s time for someone to act like a grown-up in this process,” Mr. Sununu told AP.
But in a strange way, the tea party movement has done the nation a favor.
It has caused renewed appreciation of the value of a strong federal government for the most powerful nation on Earth. And if that causes the tea party’s demise, maybe this whole exercise wasn’t a complete waste of the nation’s time and resources.
This article first appears in the Courier Journal.