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Who’s Running This Party?

August 5th, 2011 at 1:41 am | 56 Comments |

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The debt ceiling fight raises uncomfortable questions about the Republicans ability to govern. The fast pace of events has probably caused most people to forget about the failure of the Boehner Plan, but the GOP would be well advised to draw lessons from its failure.

The entire Republican and conservative establishment united behind the plan. As David Frum put it, they were all telling the same damn lie. Yet Speaker Boehner could not even get 90% of his caucus to support his plan. In order to avoid the embarrassment, he had to shelve it. Since he desperately wanted to pass something he tacked on the balanced-budget amendment and that was enough to satisfy some of the holdouts, but 9% of the caucus still voted against the Speaker!

(That addition also fundamentally altered the substance of the plan, so it was not really another version of the Boehner Plan but another version of the previously passed Cut, Cap and Balance.)

What’s really astonishing here is that the establishment lost control of the party not over some highly controversial legislation (like a grand bargain on the entitlements and taxes) but over what had always been a routine pro forma vote, which always easily passed after a little grandstanding by the opposition party. The last election should not have changed anything; 235 House Republicans had no qualms voting for the Ryan Plan which in the near future would require even larger debt ceiling increase than the one requested by President Obama.

Fairly or not, the Bush Administration (supplemented with Republican control of Congress) did not inspire much confidence among independent voters in the Republican Party’s ability to govern. The party lost all power in 2008. Last year, seriously unhappy with the situation in the country, the independents gave the Republicans control of one half of one of the branches of federal government and put the GOP on probation. The most important task for the Republicans is to demonstrate that they can govern. Otherwise they will not be trusted with power in 2012.

So how are they doing? Not very well. Sure, with much fanfare they passed quite a few high-profile resolutions – the Obamacare repeal, the Ryan Plan, two different versions of the debt ceiling increase coupled with some strict Cut, Cap and Balance requirement… but all these resolutions have absolutely no relation to governing the country. None of them were ever intended to serve as the basis of any actual legislation. They were all just political declarations expressing certain sentiments. House Republicans could have expressed them much more succinctly if instead they had just passed the following resolution on the first day: “It is a sense of the House that Obama is a bad, bad, bad, bad president and the Democrats are a bad, bad, bad, bad party.” They would have saved a lot of time on the legislative schedule. They also would have one more House seat now.

The actual governing record is dismal. There are two kinds of governing tasks in Congress. The first is routine governing. Keeping the governing running – approving funding, authorizing necessary borrowing, confirming presidential appointments (in the Senate). House Republicans have managed that, but only barely. They have been chronically late – and will again be late with the FY2012 budget. They have engaged in constant brinkmanship, threatening not only a government shutdown, but even a sovereign default! And in the end they have been unable to pass anything important (like the budget or the debt ceiling increase) on their own - Speaker Boehner always had to rely on dozens of Democratic votes. The House operates almost as if Nancy Pelosi were a co-Speaker. It looks like nothing of substance can happen without at least her tacit approval. The Republicans not so much control the House as merely prevent the Democratic control of it. This is especially troubling given that Republicans actually have their biggest majority in the House since the first half of the last century.

Things still get even worse when we look at the non-routine part of governing. Besides keeping the government running, the Congress needs to address major issues of the day. We have plenty of those – bad economy, high unemployment, really high long-term unemployment, the looming entitlements crisis, skyrocketing medical costs, rapidly rising education costs, irrational immigration policies, etc. What have House Republicans done on these issues? Nothing!

They have wasted inordinate amounts of time in arduous fights over the most trivial and inconsequential budget cuts in the current fiscal year. They have wasted a lot of time passing political statements masquerading as legislation. They will still spend who knows how much time passing the next year’s budget (incidentally, due already next month – not that it will be anywhere near ready by that time). And it is unlikely that anything substantive will be done during the presidential election campaign. All this means that the current Congress will probably end without a single legislative achievement to its name. Sure, they will have passed some backloaded budget cuts – which will then be promptly undone by the next Congress. It is clear that House Republicans have no intention to achieve any meaningful lasting bipartisan reform.

The plan seems to be to wait till the next election and bet the farm on its outcome. This is wrong on so many levels. To begin with, it’s a huge gamble. A unified Democratic government is actually a likelier outcome than a unified Republican government. Some of the current problems are really acute – the unemployed cannot just wait for the next election! Other problems will get harder to solve – e.g. every day ten thousand retiring Baby Boomers are applying for benefits. And divided government is actually more conducive for a genuine bipartisan compromise than a unified one.

The GOP needs to prove that it is able (and willing!) to govern before the election – unless it wants to risk losing it. House Republicans need to work with the Democrats on real solutions to some of the most important problems. Showing actual results to the independent voters is much more important than demonstrating ideological purity to the Tea Partiers. The Republican leadership also needs to reassert control over the party. After all, why should the president negotiate with Boehner when he cannot even deliver his own caucus?

Some ruthlessness will be necessary. After all, the disproportionate influence of the Tea Party is based on the fear that it inspires in the hearts of Republicans by mounting primary challenges with no regard to the consequences. This fear can be seen, for example, in Sen. Hatch who now acts as if his body was snatched by Rep. Chaffetz. It is time Republican politicians started fearing the leadership too. If it is too impractical to punish all the insurgents in the House, then at least the ringleaders should be punished. Conveniently, one Republican seat will have to be cut in Ohio before the next election. The leadership needs to ensure it will be Rep. Jordan’s seat. If anybody other than him is redistricted out of the House in Ohio, the leadership will have even harder time controlling the Republican caucus in the next Congress.

The RNC, NRSC and NRCC should also declare that any candidate signing any pledge to any organization outside the official Republican Party will be automatically ineligible for party funding. After all, if politicians pledge allegiance to some external entities, is not it fair to expect those entities to fund them?

Recent Posts by Andrew Pavelyev



56 Comments so far ↓

  • Raskolnik

    Excellent post, thanks Andrew.

    • Luke

      Yeah. Seconded. I just read Paul Krugman’s piece from Thursday, along with this and I’m now utterly depressed about the state of American federal politics. It also hammers home David’s blog post called “Were our enemies right?”. It appears so.

      • Smargalicious

        Bullfeces. Yet another leftist diatribe from Andrew.

        One can only hope that January 20, 2013, a 60+ Republican Senate and a conservative president arrives before we’re past the point of no return. Even if it isn’t too late it will take a conservative government quickly enacting serious pro-market / pro-constitutional policies several years to turn this disaster around.

        • baw1064

          “One can only hope that January 20, 2013, a 60+ Republican Senate and a conservative president arrives before we’re past the point of no return.”

          Not gonna happen. You’d better move to a different country.

        • jenk

          This would be based on what exactly? What do the extreme conservatives offer the country at this point? Fear and a promise that Medicare will not exist. The first can get you elected briefly, the second is suicide.

        • DeathByIrony

          You know? You are ABSOLUTELY right Smarg.
          He ISN’T a true scotsman.

  • JohnMcC

    Mr Pavelyev, I must count myself as someone confused by the welter of plans and deals. But if you think it’s remarkable the only 9% of the House Repub caucus supported Speaker Boehner’s ‘Grand Bargain’, I can top that. With the Balanced Budget Agreement included, that gentleman only got 174 members of his caucus’ vote. He needed Ms Pelosi’s assistance in passing it. The Repubs are truly a cult not a serious governing party.

    • armstp

      The GOP is just a protest movement at this point.

      • jamesj

        I agree with the way you’ve put it. And it gets pretty depressing when you start wondering exactly what it is that they are protesting.

  • cporet

    I don’t think many people realize how screwed we are. The only entity spending any money is the government and now we are cutting government spending. The old canard is that the Republicans believe government doesn’t work and every time they are in control they prove it. This post should be required reading.

    +1 Pavelyev

  • jquintana

    Interesting post. Unemployment has been stuck in the 9 – 10% range for the past 2 years and may go higher, and many—if not most—economists believe the economy is heading towards a double-dip recession. Obama’s rhetorical answer? Let’s keep doing the same thing that hasn’t worked over and over again: raise taxes, punish success, demonize big business, continue to push for runaway unsustainable government spending. Who’s showing they can’t govern?

    Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had their way unobstructed in the executive branch and both houses of Congress for a solid 2 years, and they blew a $5 trillion hole in the budget without any improvement in the economy. This proves once again that, if we’re in a troubled economy, the answer is clearly not MORE leftists in government, but fewer. I’ve been predicting, since 2009, that we won’t see any solid economic improvement until 2014—after we’ve had a good 2 years of conservatives controlling both Congress and the White House. Until then, God help us.

    • Demosthenes

      $5 trillion hole in the budget

      What exactly are you referring to?

      U.S. public debt has increased by $1.65 trillion in 2010, figures are not yet complete for 2011 but I highly doubt our debt will have increased by an additional $3.35 trillion in 2011.

      If you are somehow backhandedly talking about the Affordable Care Act, it is still (as it always was) revenue positive according to CBO.

      Other than the ACA and the stimulus bill which clocked in at under $800 billion, it is very difficult to ascertain what $5 trillion of spending you are talking about, far less how you arrived at that particular figure. At that level you might simply scream and yell because total annual federal outlays are $3.4 trillion meaning Obama has “spent” $7 trillion in his two years as President. Other irrelevant numbers include the number of seconds you spent thinking up a “$5 trillion hole in the budget,” though I am inclined to guess the answer converges asymptotically on zero.

      • TerryF98

        jquintana is a well known liar as you have proved very simply, just ignore.

        • Xunzi Washington

          As soon as someone writes “Obama, Pelosi and Reid” in a comment or in a post, I just stop reading, because I know the possibility of objective analysis ended right there.

        • Smargalicious

          And as soon as someone writes “The debt ceiling fight raises uncomfortable questions about the Republicans ability to govern” I immediately recognize a diatribe about to begin.

    • planetirving

      “…we won’t see any solid economic improvement until 2014—after we’ve had a good 2 years of conservatives controlling both Congress and the White House.”

      Didn’t we already have that during the Bush years of 2001-2006, when the GOP had both Branches? Not exactly a boom time compared with the 80s and 90s under mixed governance.

    • talkradiosucks.com

      “Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had their way unobstructed in the executive branch and both houses of Congress for a solid 2 years”

      Okay, I have to ask — do you REALLY believe this?

      Are you not aware of the record number of filibusters the Republicans conducted during this time?

      I sometimes really wonder about statements that can only be due to at least one of profound ignorance, dishonesty or self-delusion.

    • vishnu

      “punish success”???? so taxation is a “punishment” of success? what a load of CRAP… and yes we do need more govt spending, the kind that puts money in people’s pockets — everyone.. THAT’S how you stimulate the economy… but you guys have no problem with govt “spending” as long as the spending is giving money to the rich… we gave them a huge windfall in 2001, then again last year, and how many jobs have they created huh???? the right-wing approach to the economy is complete bullshit — it’s not a policy, it’s just an ideology that says give more money to the rich and we will all be ok.. I mean you’re still selling this snake oil??? only die-hard short-sighted right-wingers still believe this crap…

      • Chris Balsz

        Why shout at us that government spending solves the problem when it hasn’t for two years? The Democrats do want to punish, they’ve bragged about it.

    • jamesj

      “raise taxes, punish success, demonize big business, continue to push for runaway unsustainable government spending”

      The Senate and White House seem well to the right of Reagan on each of the points you list above. We have tax rates that are historically low, correct? We have a political and cultural climate that is extremely friendly to business by historical standards and by the standards of the rest of western civilization, correct? We have a political and cultural climate that is extremely harsh on labor and entitlements by historical standards and the standards of the rest of the industrialized world, correct? As a result, businesses and our top income earners are taking in a larger share of the national pie than at any other time in the last 100 years, correct?

      I think you’ve lost perspective. You are politically opposed to an enemy that doesn’t exist. It is a figment of your imagination. I don’t mean this to sound like a personal insult so I hope you don’t take it that way. I’m just saying from a purely rational standpoint I don’t see how you think that taxes are too high and businesses are being oppressed. It makes no sense.

      • Chris Balsz

        “We have a political and cultural climate that is extremely friendly to business by historical standards and by the standards of the rest of western civilization, correct?”

        Not at all.
        Construction of factories and power plants and big stores is harmful to “communities” and should only happen after years of review and complaint. If at all.
        Business does not own the funds they earn for goods or services; they are merely stewards, and their stewardship is subject to review by political leadership.
        Commercial interests are special interests subject to the superior guidance of the political process.
        No one has a “right” to do business in America, no one has a “right” to their profits and no one has a “right” to limit, reduce, or cease their business in America. All of those things are limited and conditional on agreement by the pragmatic political administration on a case-by-case basis.

        “We have a political and cultural climate that is extremely harsh on labor and entitlements by historical standards and the standards of the rest of the industrialized world, correct?”

        No, they are at their peak of political and financial influence.

  • balconesfault

    Let’s be honest.

    The 2010 GOP House Majority was not elected to govern.

    They were elected to keep Obama and the Democrats from governing.

    If you look at their campaign rhetoric leading into 2010, there is no real vision for governing – just a commitment to keeping that socialist Kenyan interloper from succeeding.

    In a way, the problem isn’t the GOP Congress. They’re pretty much doing exactly what they pledged to do during the campaign. If you don’t like the results, blame the voters.

    • kuri3460

      “If you don’t like the results, blame the voters”

      I don’t, and I do.

      I understand that, to some degree, the job of the minority party is to keep a check on the party in power, but it should be as a part of a functioning government, not as an agent of obstruction. What bothers me is this recurrant notion that we’re voting for the minority party simply to keep the president from doing anything. In this sense, all the talk in 2006 about putting an end to George Bush’s “rubber-stamp” Congress is no different than the platform the Tea Party ran on in 2010.

      Granted, it is our right to “throw the bums out” in a democracy, but I’m not sure what we’ve really accomplished in recent years with this approach. The past three Congressional elections have seen 69, 29, and 37 seats change hands. Compare that to the preceding five (1996-2004): only 7, 10, 6, 5, and 11 seats changed hands in those years.

      The fact that each successive election seems to produce a landslide victory for one of the two parties says something very unflattering about the state of our political system. We’re not a group of concerned citizens voting with our heads and our hearts; we’re more like an angry mob with pitchforks and flames laying waste to whatever is right in front of us, tarring and feathering today the person who was leading us yesterday.

      • balconesfault

        In this sense, all the talk in 2006 about putting an end to George Bush’s “rubber-stamp” Congress is no different than the platform the Tea Party ran on in 2010.

        False equivalence.

        In fact, the Democrats prior to 2006 worked out compromises with Bush on pretty much issue on his agenda except for his plan (largely undiscussed during the 2004 Presidential Campaign) to privatize a big chunk of Social Security.

        Maybe you have a different recollection, but from my memory the only “rubber stamp” that was being debated was the discretion Bush was given to continue to escalate the war in Iraq, and the free hand he was given to trample the Constitution on the GWOT. And even there, once elected, the Dems hardly began a campaign of filibustering and blocking everything Bush wanted to do.

        If the 2006 Democratic Congress was reining in anything, it wasn’t Bush. It was the same crazies who still run the GOP Congressional caucus. Or do you forget the Terry Sciavo vote already?

        • kuri3460

          Fair enough. The point I was trying to make was that turning every single election into a referendum on the president is poor politics and bad for America. But we, the people, are generally stupid lemmings, and we eat that s**t up.

          I think you and I are pretty much on the same side here anyway. For all the flaws of the Democratic Party, and for all the crazy rhetoric that was floating around during the election of 2006, Nancy Pelosi came out and clearly said that impeaching Bush was off the table. Comparing that to John Boehner’s reponse when asked whether Barack Obama was an American-born Christian should tell you all that you need to know.

        • balconesfault

          Right – I just wanted to push back against the meme that “everyone does it” in terms of the current level of obstructionism we’re seeing from the GOP.

          The Democrats fundamentally believe that Government is a necessary and positive actor in the economy, and that good governance is an achievable goal (perhaps not perfect governance … but good governance).

          The current GOP seems fueled by a conviction that Government involvement in the economy will always result in losses of freedom, and that any and all loss (or even constraint) of freedom will result in negative economic consequences. Also, there is a belief that at virtually every level, but particularly at the Federal level, good governance is not achievable, and thus any and all expansion of governance should be resisted.

  • zaybu

    The recent plunge of the stock market is not only indicative that the economy is about to nose-dive into a double-dip recession but also that our policy-makers in charge are incapable to keep it afloat. In the meantime, the Republican party led by the tea partiers are talking about contracting the money supply when it is quite evident that the opposite is needed to boost up the economy. Why is it that the Right never gets it right?

    • jenk

      The GOP has no interest in governing… they want to rule.

    • armstp

      There is absolutely no evidence that the U.S. is about to go into a double dip recession. Can you provide some please? There is no large catalyst out there that will drive the economy back to negative economic growth. The stock market is volatile. What are you going to be saying when we are up 500 points again? Everything is great.

      • sweatyb

        “There is no large catalyst out there that will drive the economy back to negative economic growth”

        Would the collapse of the euro zone do? I am not saying it’s going to happen. But it’s not like everything is smooth sailing ahead.

  • Slide

    The public is noticing:

    A record 82 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job — the most since The Times first began asking the question in 1977

    More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country.

    Nearly three-quarters said that the debate had harmed the image of the United States in the world.

    The Republicans compromised too little, a majority of those polled said. All told, 72 percent disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations

    The public’s opinion of the Tea Party movement has soured in the wake of the debt-ceiling debate. The Tea Party is now viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of the public and favorably by just 20 percent, according to the poll. In mid-April 29 percent of those polled viewed the movement unfavorably, while 26 percent viewed it favorably. And 43 percent of Americans now think the Tea Party has too much influence on the Republican Party, up from 27 percent in mid-April.

    The poll found that Mr. Obama was emerging from the crisis less bruised than the Republicans in Congress.

    Americans said that they trusted Mr. Obama to make the right decisions about the economy more than the Republicans in Congress, by 47 percent to 33 percent

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/us/politics/05poll.html?_r=1&hp

    I think all the reports of President Obama’s political death were a bit premature.

    • kuri3460

      I think what’s most telling is that even a Fox News Poll conducted last week showed that more of the responders blamed Congressional Republicans for the debt issue than President Obama.

      Of course, though, every poll that gives a result you don’t like is simply biased…..

  • jcm433

    Let’s hope for a catastrophic Republican loss in 2012 so the Tea Party will be fully and finally discredited. This result is as necessary for the survival of the Republican Party as the Democrats.

  • Oldskool

    As Frum noted, Rs work for Fox. You can extend that to say they work for Limbaugh, Beck, etc, and the craziest of the crazies in their party.They work for the monsters that they created. The question is, why did they create them in the first place.

  • Stewardship

    It’s even worse at the grassroots level. I’ve stopped going to my county GOP meetings. The local tea party (about a dozen retirees on social security, a couple long term disability recipients, a couple farmers, and some home schoolers) have taken over the agenda. Now, it resembles a fundamentalist prayer meeting. All of the old R’s…the business people, middle income folks…have stopped coming because “it” is a turn off.

    Funny that the angry mob (at least in my county) are the biggest beneficiaries of government programs!

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  • Frumplestiltskin

    Sure, they will have passed some backloaded budget cuts – which will then be promptly undone by the next Congress. It is clear that House Republicans have no intention to achieve any meaningful lasting bipartisan reform.

    This is why I found the Democratic hysteria so amusing.

    Just one criticism of this piece: Conveniently, one Republican seat will have to be cut in Ohio before the next election. The leadership needs to ensure it will be Rep. Jordan’s seat.

    You can’t prevent Jordan from running in the combined district that he will share with another Republican next term, so there is no way to guarantee that the voters in that new district will not choose Jordan. Ohio is losing 2 seats and being that Republicans want to get rid of Kuchinich, are likely to lose 2 Republicans from census losses and one from trading off to get rid of Kuchinich.

  • DFL

    The author is naive. We have two parties with divergent world views on economic, social, defense and foreign policy issues. The mutual contempt between the two sides is readily apparent. How are they to work together on most issues? They can’t. Instead, each side must engage in political war until one side or the other gains a supermajority similar to what the Democrats had in 2009.

    • balconesfault

      The author is naive. We have two parties with divergent world views on economic, social, defense and foreign policy issues. The mutual contempt between the two sides is readily apparent.

      That said, Democrats have continued to show a respect for the political process and worked with the GOP to pass bills (with improvements) that rankle the Dem base. Consider Bush’s tax cuts … never filibustered; Bush’s No Child Left Behind testing requirements … passed with Dem support; Bush’s corporate friendly Medicare expansions … passed with Dem support. As I noted above, the only place where they really dug in their heels was on the Social Security issue, and you can argue that it was Bush who showed disrespect for the political process in this issue, having not really mentioned a desire to overhaul SS throughout his 2004 Presidential Campaign and then immediately trying to drive it through before he was even re-inagurated.

      Contrast that with, say, Obama declaring throughout his Presidential Campaign that he was going to pass a major stimulus bill, that he was going to pass a major healthcare bill, that he was going to increase troop strength in Afghanistan, and that he was going to pass a cap and trade bill. I would argue that in filibustering bills that were clearly debated in front of the public throughout the Presidential Campaign, and where the President won an overwhealming majority, the GOP is showing not only contempt for the other party, but for the political process of the US in general.

  • Chris Balsz

    “There are two kinds of governing tasks in Congress. The first is routine governing. Keeping the governing running – approving funding, authorizing necessary borrowing, confirming presidential appointments (in the Senate)… It is clear that House Republicans have no intention to achieve any meaningful lasting bipartisan reform.”

    Do you go to a Chinese restaurant and holler at them to bring you lasagna?

    • Solo4114

      Nope.

      Do you hire a contractor to destroy your house?

      • balconesfault

        You do if you believe the house is structurally unsound to the point that it needs to be completely demolished and rebuilt from scratch.

        And if you’re rich, and can find nice digs to live in while the contractor takes 2-3x longer than he bid, with multiple cost adjustments and change orders to finish the new house, it’s a nuisance but you can deal with it.

        If you’re not rich, when someone takes a bulldozer to your home … you’re screwed.

    • Chris Balsz

      If you wanted lasagna, why go to a Chinese restaurant?

      You had a Republican party that ran against the idea of borrowing more money, spending more money, and cooperating with the Democrats. If you don’t want what the candidates said they were going to do, why vote for them, even on “probation”?

      • Solo4114

        Beats me. Maybe they went to a Chinese restaurant, ordered the General Tso’s Chicken because it said “Spicy” next to it and wanted to try something different instead of their usual Beef Lo Mein, tasted the chicken, and found out that they really weren’t kidding about “spicy” and now it’s burning their mouths and they don’t like it.

        I like to think of myself as a pretty informed and rational voter who rarely just rolls the bones and hopes for the best on a candidate (although I will do “holding my nose” votes or “better than the other guy, at least” votes, but such is the nature of our “2-party” system). However, I don’t necessarily ascribe such voting habits to other voters. I think some people will do a “Give ‘em a chance” vote from time to time, or they like the overall “sound” of a candidate’s platform without having any kind of deeper understanding of the significance.

        For example, some people may vote for Tea Party candidates based on their own sense of “kitchen table economics,” which, of course, doesn’t exactly translate perfectly to economics on a national scale (and, as others have pointed out before, the voters themselves don’t even practice the way they say they practice — buying on credit, having a mortgage, etc.). Once the Tea Party gets into office, though, the voters who put them there start to realize the implications of the choice and what it really means.

  • armstp

    Andrew,

    What makes you so sure that the Republicans have any interest in governing? I think their main goal is to win elections, tear down government, destroy the economy, so Obama looks bad and push their social and religious agenda on all of us.

  • valkayec

    “David Frum – Wanted: a congressional majority interested in governing.”

    Yep. I’d go along with that statement. I’d like a congressional majority more interested in building up the US and its people rather than tearing down the government and reducing wages to minimum wage. That’s not how to have a successful, competitive economy or a thriving population. As I’ve told my libertarian son-in-law, this is not 1799. The world has changed and we need a government able to meet the challenges posed by an interconnected, highly competitive world.

  • Graychin

    You reap what you sow.

  • IntelliWriter

    Good article, especially the part about signing pledges to outside entites. Grover Norquist IS NOT an elected official. He should not have nearly the power that he has to stop Congress from enacting one of its basic Constitutional powers and that is to raise and levy taxes. Senators and Congressmen take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the Taxpayer Pledge of Grover Norquist. He needs to be diminished and drummed out of Washington….and soon.

  • paul_gs

    I think Andrew raises some good point. As a conservative, I too wonder who is running the Republican party. No one of prominence in the party spoke out loudly when the Birther movement had its day, not even against Donald Trump. And the candidates for the 2012 nomination like Romney and Huntington are MIA on any guidance or philosophy on major issues.

    Other then George Will or Charles Krauthammer, I can not think of any Republican or conservative who is at least attempting to provide a coherent, workable governing philosophy.

  • balconesfault

    And the candidates for the 2012 nomination like Romney and Huntington are MIA on any guidance or philosophy on major issues.

    To be fair, the GOP retook the House and made major gains in the Senate in 2010 without providing any coherent guidance or philosophy on major issues except that if Obama was for it – they were against it.

    It may well be Romney and Huntsman’s best course to just take the same pathway – particularly when Rick Perry has been on it for a long time already and gets a lot of GOP love because of it.

    Coherence might just be the most direct pathway to losing in GOP primaries.

  • FosterBoondoggle

    There has been very little “conservatism” in the GOP for the last 15 years. It’s become a party of xenophobia, fear (sharia in Oklahoma! oh my!), spending on the elderly (Medicare Part D), war-mongering (Iraq), tax cuts for big business and the wealthy(refusing to restore oil royalties, the carried interest loophole, subsidies for agribusiness, etc.), and gutting protections for the little guy (SCOTUS’ 5-4 Janus decision allowing a fund company to lie to its investors with no consequence). Oh yeah, and intrusion into peoples’ most private & personal sphere (Terry Schiavo).

    What does any of this have to do with conservatism? It seems to have to do entirely with the rich and powerful arranging things to make the country better for the rich and powerful. The xenophobia and fear mongering get them the votes of the bed-wetters, and the rest of it makes life better for the CEOs in the gated community. (At least for a little while.)

  • rockstar

    Hey, FosterBoondoggle:

    My mother never went to college. She lives in a 4-4 house free and clear.

    I went to one of the best colleges in the country and I’m aspiring to a job which requires me to wear an apron and a vacuum and which could be easily filled by an illegal immigrant.

    Wanna talk about conservatism?

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