Can a Bit of Kabuki Theater Save the Republican Party?

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The Republican kabuki going on right now is a marvel of the age. Apparently pretty much everyone in Washington, DC—Democrats, Republicans, tea partiers, House Freedom lunatics—has agreed to keep mum about John Boehner’s lipstick-on-a-pig budget deal with the president. Everyone, that is, except the presumptive new speaker, Paul Ryan:

“I think the process stinks,” said Ryan, who is expected to be elected speaker on Thursday. The Wisconsin Republican added that he hadn’t gone through the details of the agreement, which was released Monday night.

“This is not the way to do the people’s business,” Ryan said. “And under new management we are not going to do the people’s business this way. We are up against a deadline—that’s unfortunate. But going forward we can’t do the people’s business. As a conference we should’ve been meeting months ago to discuss these things to have a unified strategy going forward.”

This is so staged it makes Dame Edna look serious. Ryan has basically been given permission to blast the deal in order to verify his conservative bona fides, and everyone else understands this is just an act. Even the ultras have apparently made the following, fairly obvious calculation:

So the deal was struck. Everyone eats the shit sandwich. Paul Ryan pretends to oppose it. A battered, bruised, but slightly less slapstick Republican Party moves forward.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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