Here's a tip: one way to tell when a party is ready to govern what fancies itself a rich and powerful nation is to look for signs of infighting, disregard for leadership, and the absence of party discipline. Those are all good signs. Vote for that party and you can't go wrong.

The noted commie pinko rag Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on the Republican Party's inability to organize, of all things, a single coherent response to Tuesday evening's State of the Union Address. In addition to the official party response, the Tea Party (Mike Lee, the Utah Republican, even though the Tea Party is nonpartisan and totally not just an extreme wing of the GOP) and Rand Paul (just…on his own accord, I guess) will be giving responses. Then the official party strategy is to rush members of Congress out of the chamber and to "rapid response stations stocked with iPads" to encourage them to start Twittering and Facebooking and recording 6-second Vine videos.

On a tangential note, I still don't get Vine. Like, at all.

It's easy to point and laugh at John Boehner and other Republicans in "leadership" positions and call them ineffectual. So let's do that right now, shall we? Boehner and McConnell have the charisma of sea cucumbers and McConnell built his career on a tactic – threatening to withhold party financial support via the RSCC – that is no longer relevant now that every half-baked wingnut who wants to run can raise vast amounts of money from eccentric and wealthy donors. As the successive redistricting sessions make incumbents safer and safer, the ability of the leadership to do anything to rein in their members is rapidly approaching zero. So as much fun as it is to mock Mr. Boehner, he's probably doing the best he can. And Joe Cannon himself couldn't keep this mob of militiamen and sociopaths in line.

The amazing thing about this particular bit of disorganization is that giving the response to the SotU address is tantamount to political suicide in recent years. Nobody benefits from doing it. If you do well, no one will remember. The only thing you stand to achieve is failure that will haunt you forever (Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio). This is the sixth year of the Obama presidency. Even people who like him are weary of hearing the same speeches. And even what little audience sticks around until the end is unlikely to wait even longer to heard some D-list Republican give an awkward rebuttal in an empty room. There is everything to lose and nothing to gain, yet they're too full of themselves to realize that the leadership might be trying to stop them for their own good:

The response is a risky endeavor, often marred by inelegance and blunder. "There's never been a good one," said John Feehery, who was an aide to J. Dennis Hastert, a Republican and a former House speaker. "There's this element of getting too close to the sun. They think they're hot stuff, and their hot stuff gets melted in the glare of the lights. It's very risky."

It's a good indication of where the GOP has gone in the last decade-plus that its zealots from the Nineties now sound like the sober voice of reason in a chorus of barking hyenas. Best of luck tonight, Rand. I'm sure you're gonna do great!