Matt Taibbi’s piece on Jim DeMint is well worth a read:
Not to stretch too far to bring a football analogy in, but DeMint is sort of the Fireman Ed of the conservative movement. The upcoming fiscal cliff cave is the political equivalent of that amazing ass-to-face fumble by Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on Thanksgiving night. The instant famed Jets fan Fireman Ed saw that play, he decided he didn’t want to be the guy in the stands the networks panned to for the next five years every time Sanchez threw a pick six or fumbled the ball off his face – so Ed picked up his little face-paint kit, went home, and penned a completely serious formal resignation. DeMint just did exactly the same thing, only now he’s going to make seven figures at the Heritage Foundation just to not go to the games.
DeMint’s departure was not exactly mourned on the Hill. (“He’s the biggest douchebag in Washington,” is how one congressional aide explained it to me, “and this is the douchebag capital of the world.”) The writing was on the wall for DeMint and his Tea Party cronies when Boehner whacked four Tea Party-aligned Republicans from committee assignments earlier this week.
Privately, what you hear on the Hill is more and more complaining that Tea Party extremism of the DeMint type has not only cost Republicans the Senate (where DeMint’s support of losers like Christine “I dabbled in witchcraft” O’Donnell and Canada-bashing Nevada candidate Sharon Angle may have cost the party winnable elections) but perhaps the White House as well. You hear talk that Republicans are listening to polls showing majorities are tired of DeMint-style filibustering tactics and will blame Republicans, not Democrats, if this fiscal cliff thing goes completely sideways.
Taibbi thinks things could get ugly in the Republican party as the hard-core teahadists battle the faction of the party that would like to win elections. We’ll see. My money’s on the teahadists winning, at least for now.