'Road Trip!' As Obamacare Crumbles and Dems Defect From It, AP's Babington Goes West to Write of 'GOP Infighting'

November 16th, 2013 10:00 AM

In Animal House, when the members of Delta Tau Chi fraternity faced imminent expulsion for poor grades, they decided to take a "Road Trip!" to, as Wikipedia's plot summary indicates, "take their minds off their troubles."

The presidential keister-kissers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are in a similar quandary. Over the past seven weeks, they've seen their favorite president's "signature achievement" devolve simultaneously into an national joke (HealthCare.gov) and a national disgrace (millions of health insurance policy cancellations deliberately devised through regulations). This has led to their favorite party's national humiliation. We now know that its members' guarantee that "you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" — made by President Obama, 27 Democratic Party Senators, and surely dozens of leftist congresspersons and other party apparatchiks — was a deliberate deception. The party itself has been torn asunder, as patron saint Bill Clinton called on Obama to "honor his commitment." With all of this going on, the AP's Washington-based Charles Babington somehow decided that now would be the best time for a "Road Trip!" out west to show how awful the divisions are — in the Republican Party.

Babington's report impugns the "ideological purity" of tea party-sympathetic leaders and supporters while attempting to protect established GOP incumbents (bolds are mine):


MONTPELIER, Idaho — Republicans have made the Mountain West a stronghold, which is why brewing party brawls in Wyoming, Idaho and Utah are bedeviling loyalists who yearn for GOP unity.


Closely watched elections this month in Virginia and New Jersey did little to resolve the growing struggle between tea partyers and the Republican establishment. Now, some of the sharpest infighting is shifting to the rugged Big Sky region, where the tea party scored its first major victory, ousting a veteran Republican U.S. senator in a Utah party convention three years ago. [1]

"We have to have this fight," said U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican facing a tea party challenger next May as he seeks a ninth House term. The struggle will continue well into the next presidential race, he said.

Simpson and three-term U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi from neighboring Wyoming are chief targets of tea party and anti-establishment groups that prize ideological purity above all, even if it leads to legislative defeats. [2] It's not enough, these groups say, that both men hold top ratings from conservative organizations such as the National Rifle Association.

Republicans run little risk of losing congressional races to Democrats in Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. But if longtime incumbents such as Simpson and Enzi can fend off their GOP challengers next year, the results conceivably could lessen the tea party's zeal and reputation nationwide. [3] That might encourage mainstream Republicans such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie [4] who are considering running for the White House in 2016.


[1] — The defeat of Bob Bennett in May 2010 at Utah's party nominating convention was not the "first major victory" by a tea party-backed insurgent. There were several which preceded it. One of the first, if not the very first, occurred in Pennsylvania in April 2009, when the exploding popularity of tea party favorite Pat Toomey forced desperate Republican incumbent Arlen Specter to become a Democrat. Toomey didn't even need an election to defeat Specter.

[2] — "Ideological purity"? Look to the left for ideological purity, Charles, on matters like abortion, Keynesian economics, and affirmative action. Dissent from the orthodoxy in these and other areas is brutally punished. As to "legislative defeats," Babington appears to be pointing to how the 17 percent government shutdown worked out. Well, Chuck, the people who tried to defund Obamacare are look pretty prescient right about now.

[3] — "Lessening the tea party's zeal" translates to "lessening the chances of a Republican nominee winning the presidency."

[4] — The definition of a "mainstream Republican" at the AP is "someone Democrats can beat."

But Babington's babbling is primarily about getting something — anything — into the news cycle about "divided" Republicans, in effect yelling "Squirrel!" as Democrats and the left deal with the ever-growing wreckage of and havoc wrought by their pet program.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.