“A house divided against itself
cannot stand.” — Abraham Lincoln
As 2013 winds down and the much-anticipated races for the 2014 elections heat up, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, set the tone for politics in Washington last week when he did, by all appearances, an about-face on the Tea Party. The blurred lines between Republicans and the Tea Party have caused the two parties to become as one and, further, caused damage to both of the ideologies when they aren’t necessarily coming from the same school of thought.
After the fiasco of the 16-day government shutdown because of failed budget negotiations, apparently masterminded by the Tea Party (known to be completely inflexible), the GOP took some major hits in approval ratings around the country, Americans fed up with the nonsense at their cost. When it came time to negotiate the annual budget earlier this month, the process went smoothly, Congress approving a budget while avoiding detrimental budget cuts. At a press conference on Dec. 12, Boehner spelled out his thoughts on the Tea Party:
“They are misleading their followers. They are pushing their members in places they don’t want to be and, frankly, I just think they have lost all credibility.”
And so Boehner, in essence, declared a separation between the Tea Party and the GOP, though many political pundits still have their doubts. No matter the case, it was a welcome gesture signaling that, maybe, politics will be about compromise rather than stubborn refusal.
Locally, however, things are panning out a little differently. Late last month, Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, R-Camarillo, who is serving his second term in the state legislature after being re-elected last year, announced he was going to challenge freshman Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, in the 2014 election.
“Partisan games and gridlock in Washington are crippling our great nation. I’m sick and tired of it, as are most Americans. We need real leadership, not political posturing, to fix our broken Congress,” Gorrell stated in a news release.
It’s expected that such powerful seats will be contested, though perhaps Gorrell may be a bit fresh out of the gate to take on this challenge, having spent only two full years thus far in his position in Sacramento since he was on active duty for one year during his first term. He has, though, made a good name for himself, showing he can cross partisan lines in his work, including partnering with Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in an effort to spark job growth. In somewhat of a surprising turn, Republican Simi Valley businessman Rafael Dagnesses announced earlier this month that he would be challenging Gorrell in the upcoming election. Dagnesses has not run for office before.
While the only way to fulfill political aspirations is to run for office, the face-off between Gorrell and Dagnesses is reminiscent of the divisiveness in Washington that Americans are sick and tired of. Surely, this is nothing new in politics — Democrats are just as much about the fight for office even at the cost of the party, but Americans, in general, seem to be just exhausted by Republican against Republican, Democrat against Democrat, the barrage of mailers, emails, phone calls, nevertheless, the shamelessness in putting down opponents. We can’t be certain what will come of this election, but it would be nice, for once, not to put the voters through the ringer and for the party to hold up one person as the strong leader to run. Eventually, Americans may just tune out the infighting and vote for the most cohesive party’s candidate. There is surely only so much more divisiveness we can take.