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Orcs v. Goblins: Crazed Republicans Turn on Each Other in Ugly Fiscal Cliff Battle

The little people look on as evil threatens the land.

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The orcs are associated with the Club for Growth, which has a large PAC; Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks; Heritage Action for America; and contributors to ex-Senator DeMint's PAC. These orc-friendly elements want no deal, and their battle philosophy is summed up in Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller’s recent comments: “We are pleased that the Republicans did not vote to raise taxes. We need to get real about our problems and stop playing political games.”

The orcs are for all-out war.

The goblins, on the other hand, dance to the tune of different money wizards. They are painfully aware, as Rep. Steve LaTourette (R., Ohio) explained, that failure to make a deal "weakens the entire Republican Party” and makes it appear to be a "bunch of extremists that can’t even get a majority of our own party to support policies we’re putting forward." The goblins are close to the Business Roundtable, many of America’s largest corporations, and a fair number of Wall Streeters. Haley Barbour and Karl Rove are on the goblins' side. Even Grover Norquist, the anti-tax man himself, seems to fear the price of a take-no-prisoners goblin/orc war; he recently signaled peace with the goblin faction in his endorsement of Boehner’s “Plan B.” It was all to no avail. The orcs are battle-crazed and eager to attack the goblins again.

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson succinctly put it: "Inside the GOP, all the little piggies go to market. Just not the same market. That's the party's problem."

The spectacle of the Republican Party diminishing itself with nasty internal battles is certainly a welcome sight for the little people. But there are still plenty of ways they can get squashed. The goblin-backed theft of their retirement money appears to have the president's support, a great victory for the Dark Side. Coming debt ceiling negotiations will offer goblins and orcs another chance to rob the honest folk and enrich themselves. But maybe, just maybe, the goblins and the orcs will exhaust themselves enough fighting each other that the little people can mount a counter-offensive. Hope springs eternal. At least in the movies.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.