The dust is settling a bit from former GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor's defeat in the June 10 Virginia primary, but the former proud political party that has been usurped by Republican-in-name-only tea partiers remains deeply troubled and in disarray.

The House GOP elected California's Kevin McCarthy as its new majority leader. McCarthy had served as the majority whip so the elevation was pretty much your standard political shuffle of anointed ones ascending to the throne. Louisiana's Steve Scalise beat out a more ardent tea party opponent to take over as majority whip. Scalise, however, is also closely aligned with the tea party contingency.


Ten different political pundits will give you 10 different answers concerning how it is that a little known and dramatically underfunded candidate could topple Cantor. Personally, I hope the reason is because more GOP voters saw him as part of the problem with Congress and someone who needed to go, and I hope that in coming primaries more Republicans and Democrats who are responsible for the dysfunction in Congress get the boot.

Moderates are largely gone from Congress. Over the past decade they have tendered their resignations, most citing the nastiness of the job and the fact that Washington is so badly broken as they packed up their belongings and headed home.

The candidate pools in political races from the national level all the way down to the smallest local government are loaded with candidates who have no clue about what it takes to effectively govern. Soapbox politics, empty speeches and meaningless rhetoric are about all you get from most of the candidates. No one, it seems, has any vision concerning what we need to do to get the country back on track, nor do any seem the slightest bit interested in trying.

Everyone is out for their own piece of real estate, and they'll trample on anyone who attempts to get in their way. Trash talking takes precedence over real action, and the results can be seen in the fact that our economy continues to struggle in its recovery, people continue to suffer and the entrepreneurial spirit that has fanned the flames of our growth and dominance in the world for generations is but a spark of its former self.

Perhaps more voters this election cycle will say enough is enough. Traditionally, while people give Congress record low rankings for performance, in the past, people have been generally happier with their own representatives and senators, who they always tend to send back to office when election time rolls around. But recent polls suggest that people are getting fed up with even their own elected officials, and my hope is that the shift was a part of why Cantor lost. I also hope that it is a precursor to other divisive officials getting the boot.

Even if that happens, there aren't a whole lot of moderates on any of the ballots to replace the troublemakers, so we can pretty much expect that not too much is going to change in Congress if we send one group of left and right extremist troublemakers packing and then elect another similar group to replace them.

No, it will take a few election cycles to get things back on track. Eventually, if we did our job and kicked out the dysfunctional members of Congress from both the major parties, we would start getting better candidates running for the job.

In essence, we are responsible for creating the poisonous atmosphere in governments at all levels because we keep electing or re-electing the same nasty idealists who make it a point to not want to govern.

The tea party takes the heat for dividing the GOP and promoting candidates who cripple government with their "never compromise" stance on issues, but the reality is that we were headed down that road for a long time before the tea party came along. It was evident in each election cycle as the extremists in both parties, because they are the ones who typically vote, kept pushing candidates who were on the fringe while getting rid of the moderates and those most capable of governing. The tea party just hastened our decline into ungovernability.

We need to turn this trend around if we are to have any hope as a nation. We've seen for years now how it doesn't work to have two sides that each declares is right, with neither willing to listen to the other.

In short, we created this mess. It is up to us to fix it. Perhaps Cantor's defeat is a sign that we are finally ready to start.