The big news today, if it is news at all, is that Republicans in Montana are at war with each other.
Some juicy emails [PDF] were published by the Great Falls Tribune Wednesday, showing the machinations of rightwing Republicans such as Jeff Essmann and Art Wittich as they try to vanquish the moderates, led by ousted Senate President Jim Peterson. Presumably, these missives were leaked by one of the moderate legislators in the scrum, who thought it would be good to publicize the schism.
There are some hilarious exchanges, and the article in the Trib, by John Adams, is required reading for anyone interested in Montana Politics. It’s fun to observe the various leaders, or aspiring leaders, openly agitating against the opponent faction.
But it is also quite disturbing. For the emails reveal that the objective of Tea Party Republicanism is to control all branches of Government, with absolute power, in its entirety. Here is an excerpt from a September 2012 e-mail by Essmann to his ultra-conservative cohorts (the subject line of the email is “Agenda Control”) about how a redistricting of legislative seats will make the ultimate goal achievable:
Jon Bennion was able to draw a map with 63 safe Republican seats. If we can implement the long term strategy we will be in a position to actually elect a majority of conservatives in both bodies, adopt conservative legislation and have a court that will uphold it.
And here is one from Art Wittich, describing efforts to get rid of moderates in GOP primaries:
We must help the purge along. Hopefully, a new phoenix will rise from the ashes.
Sadly, these writings and many of the other emails that were disclosed to the Tribune reveal an almost jihadist mentality at work. The right wing of the GOP views itself as an historic movement seeking a distant, ultimate triumph in which the opposition will be vanquished and the right-wing view of the world will be imposed, imposed upon all Montanans even if a majority of the voters don’t want it.
How can this type of thinking possibly be the basis for a successful political movement? It can’t, which is why Republicans are currently circling down the toilet nationally. America has a two-party system and regardless of what party you are in, to be taken seriously and help the greater good you must work with the opposition, and accept the fact that your opponents are not enemies, but simply a counterbalance representing the viewpoints of many.