September 18, 2013
The Capitol (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
The Capitol (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

If you want to understand the mentality feeding the insanity that has gripped the Capitol since the tea party swarm of 2010, all you need to do is take in the words of Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) in today’s Post.

“All that really matters is what my district wants,” Massie said. “And my district is overwhelmingly in favor of my position.”

His vaunted position is to defund Obamacare no matter what. Shut down the government over it? Yep. Destroy the full faith and credit of the United States by not raising the debt ceiling unless he and his cohorts get their way? You bet. All because the voters in their extremely safe Republican districts hate President Obama’s signature policy achievement that was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Much has been written about how tea party intransigence is hurting the GOP. Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas at Wonkblog sum it up in two sentences.

It would be a disaster for the party to shut down the government over Obamacare. But it’s good for every individual Republican politician to support shutting down the government over Obamacare.

But the Republican Party’s internal problems have dire national implications. Gone are the days when campaigning gave way to governing. Gone are the days when a member of Congress accepted the notion that there are times when “what my district wants” must give way to what the nation needs.

That tea party zealots are willing to crash the U.S. and global economies in a fit of pique over Obamacare is lunacy. That the GOP lacks a grown-up with enough cojones (to borrow a phrase from former secretary of state Madeleine Albright) to convince them that their idiocy over Obamacare will have more real-world impact on the country than the imagined consequences of letting the law be is also crazy.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.