Just a few months ago, when Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) became the House Majority Leader, he announced the GOP would allow the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes purchases of goods made by politically connected U.S. firms, to expire "because it's something the private sector can be able to do."
That was then. The budget resolution approved by Congress yesterday not only continues funding for the Export-Import Bank, it signed off on the Iraq-Syria War of 2014 without actually putting the matter to a constitutionally mandated vote:
The GOP, which claims to be the party that pledges maniacal fealty to the Constitution, can't be bothered to push for a declaration of war, but it's happy to shovel more borrowed money toward a dodgy group of Syrians. "I frankly think the president's request is a sound one," Speaker of the House John Boehner told The Washington Times. The only real disagreement among Republicans is whether to put American soldiers on the ground to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which appears to be what Sen. John McCain is pushing for.
In a new column for The Daily Beast, I argue that the GOP's inability to stand for anything other than occasional attempts to screw poor people, vilify brown people, and demagogue gays and lesbians is the main reason its once-seeming lock on taking the Senate has disappeared:
As the differences between the two parties are blunted, it's no wonder that Republican chances for retaking the Senate are evaporating faster than those anticipated federal surpluses in the early Aughts. "Democrats now have a 51 percent chance of holding the Senate," reports The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, who notes that just a few months ago, the odds were better than 80 percent that the Republicans would pick up six seats to gain a majority in both houses of Congress….
In a two-party system, we're effectively down to one party that wants to keep spending essentially the same and to start a new war without having to go on the record as voting for it or against it. No wonder that just 25 percent of Americans identify as Republican, according to Gallup, and the GOP probably won't win the Senate despite appalling poll numbers for Obama's Democrats. Because when you go from being stupid to being useless, voters are smart to stick with the status quo, no matter how miserable it might be.