Now, nearly two months in to Obama's second term and with more than three months of Congressionally-manufactured fiscal crises hanging over our heads, it's clear that the GOP is not ready to deal with reality, let alone help to govern the nation. Senate Republicans are one thing and while there is a notable nut job wing in the group (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and sometimes, Tom Coburn), I think that the lot of them typically understands that there must be some middle ground to be found. It's not much, mind you, and it's still governed by the ridiculous desire to filibuster every damn thing, but I suspect that the proper incentive would get them to at least regularly show up at the table.
House Republicans are a different story, led (though that hardly seems like the right word) by John Boehner. Speaker Boehner has mostly been able to move legislation forward this year with the help of the Democrat minority and a handful of the sane Republicans in his caucus. The other Republicans in the House are prepared to take us over the cliff and then some.
I find that I am at a loss to explain the level of nonsense that is going on in Congress. To call the institution dysfunctional hardly gives credit where it is due. This is kind of dysfunction that holds the national interest hostage to the narrow and irrational interests of the Tea Party wing, a group who is elected to serve in a government that they abhor. That Republicans believe potential longterm debt (an actual non-issue, as Paul Krugman regularly reminds us) is a more serious concern than immediate jobs, infrastructure development, and the environment drives me round the bend with its foolish ignorance of reality. Hey, fellow citizens: this is our government and it is our responsibility to ensure it serves the national interest. Let's demand action.