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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