BY KOBI AZOULAY
The Republican party is dividing, and House Speaker John Boehner’s announcement that he will be resigning from Congress at the end of October is a sign of how deeply divided it is.
In recent months, Boehner has been critical of his Republican colleagues who try to push their agenda with no chance for success.
“The Bible says beware of false prophets,” Boehner said. “There are people out there, you know, spreading noise about how much can get done. I mean this whole notion that we’re going to shut down the government to get rid of Obamacare in 2013—this plan never had a chance.”
Despite this, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was one of the most vocal congressmen urging a government shutdown in 2013, and this year he tried to again.
“Now is the time for Congress to act and actually end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” Cruz said.
As recently as last week, he planned on openly defying his party’s leadership to do everything he could in order to get Planned Parenthood defunded, even if it meant shutting down the government.
When the Speaker of the House cannot lead his party’s decision making, it reveals the inner turmoil within the party.
A Quinnipiac poll on shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding revealed a divide in the Republican Party, as well. While 56 percent of Republicans opposed the idea, more than a third supported it at 36 percent.
At first glance, this may seem like a simple difference of opinion. Disagreement is common, even necessary, within political parties. It’s the strongly-worded statements that Republican politicians are using against each other that give the poll more meaning.
Republican Congressman Peter King said that Boehner’s resignation as some Republicans were attempting to shut down the government was proof that “the crazies have taken over the party.”
When Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio announced news of Boehner’s resignation at the Values Voter Summit, he was met by a standing ovation.
You know there is a problem when conservatives get ecstatic over the resignation of the guy who helped cut federal spending projections over the next 10 years by $5 trillion.
It is obvious that some bad blood is forming among Republicans; they are treating each other the same way they would typically be treating Democrats.
The divide extends into the Republican Primary.
Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are at the top of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, garnering a combined 52 percent support. None of the three have held political office and all of them are gaining support from the side of the party that’s getting tired of career politicians, like John Boehner.
They don’t want to work with Democrats, or even the Republicans who know that compromise is necessary. They want to do everything they can to get their ideas enacted into law no matter the cost.
That kind of heavy-handedness is the party’s biggest weakness right now.
In order to further their agenda, Republicans need to work together. They don’t have to have the same opinions, but coordinating their direction is necessary to keep the party organized and together. This civil war within the party only makes them look bad.
Patty Miller, President of Salisbury’s College Republicans club, agrees that Ted Cruz’s strategy is a bad idea for the party.
“I don’t think that’s the action that leaders should take,” Miller said. “You have to take in other opinions and compromise.”
Even though Miller acknowledges that the divide appears to be growing because of far-right hate towards John Boehner and towards Washington in general, she thinks that it’s mostly driven by the media.
“The media is really trying to pull out the controversial things that they’re saying,” Miller said.
It’s true that the media tends to play up stories, but that doesn’t change the things that politicians say and do. John Boehner is still resigning due to his differences with the right-wing of the party and Ted Cruz is still trying to build up support for a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
Miller does concede that, “With the elections coming up people tend to become nastier.”
Combine the disagreement among Republicans in Congress with the anti-Washington movement in the 2016 election and you have a Republican Party that appears to be dividing.
Only time will tell just how deep it will go.