Minutes after the revelation, MSNBC's Chris Matthews posed this question: If Republicans can't get united around a leader, then are they a party? And why should the Democrats bail them out?
Good question. A political party has to lead—they have to be able to build enough consensus to lead. Right now, Republicans can't build that consensus—even though they have one of the biggest majorities they've had in the House since before the New Deal.
The situation calls to mind Nancy Pelosi's prescient words on the day John Boehner announced his exit.
"This all comes down to the fact that the Republicans in Congress, if you take some of the issues we talked about, are anti-governance—not government. [...] The degree of government has been the debate in our country for a couple hundred years. How much government? How much federal, how much local and state? So that's a legitimate place of where you are on the spectrum. But anti-governance—shut it down and celebrate—that is unacceptable. And President Washington, as he was leaving office, cautioned against political parties of which were at war with their own government. And that's really what we're seeing evidence of now—a political party at war with its own government."How can a party that's been overrun by anti-governance fanatics actually govern?