As GOP infighting rages on over whether to negotiate the debt limit increase as part of a budget resolution, an increasing number of current former Republican members of Congress have been speaking up about the state of the GOP, and it isn't pretty. Last week John McCain took to the Senate floor to tear into a Republican colleague, and over the weekend former Republican Senators Bob Dole and Olympia Snow expressed their disappointment with the state of the party.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and some of his colleagues are blocking a conference committee to reconcile budget differences between the House and Senate in order to create a passable bill. They cite the risk that the committee will raise the debt ceiling without imposing spending cuts, a gross misunderstanding of what exactly such a committee has the power to do.
Speaking on the Senate floor, McCain said that some of his fellow Republicans like Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) don't know how Congress works: "So again, maybe the senator from Utah ought to learn a little bit more about how business has been done in the Congress of the United States." McCain says the Tea Partiers are "absolutely out of line" and setting a bad precedent by blocking negotiation. Meanwhile, Rubio has said: "I'm not all that interested in the way things have always been done around here." Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas followed up by saying that he doesn't even trust his own party: "Let me be clear, I don't trust the Republicans," he said on the Senate floor.
Speaking over the weekend on Fox News Sunday, former Senate Majority Leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole said his party should hang a "closed for repairs" sign on its doors until December to figure out how to fix the party that neither he nor Reagan could recognize. "It seems to be almost unreal that we can't get together on a budget or legislation, I mean, we weren't perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done."
Former Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she agrees with Dole, saying the GOP must "rethink their approach as a political party." She noted Dole's ability to find consensus, "And that, unfortunately, has been lost today on Capitol Hill." Many have blamed the lack of consensus seekers in the GOP for the creation of the sequester and blocking action on checks on gun purchases. Some fear this will spill over into the immigration debate, where most recently the GOP has been slammed for suggesting an individual mandate for immigrants to get healthcare ... the same policy that is so strongly opposed in Obamacare.
It's been a tough few days for the GOP. On Tuesday, Politico published a story entitled "John Boehner's Shrinking Power," which begins: "House Speaker John Boehner, who by title and position should be the second most powerful person in Washington, sure doesn't seem or sound like it." Then Wednesday, the same day a report was released showing the Party's claims thus far this year have been false 52% of the time, Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann announced she would not run for reelection.