Republican Party

The GOP Can Always Get Worse—And It Will (Midterm Election Copout Edition)

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Hey GOP, how's that post-election total reboot coming? Oh yeah, can't be bothered to actually change anything or articulate bold new plans to cut the size, scope, and spending of government because MIDTERMS. AND THEN ELECTION 2016.

As the summer started, it seemed as if at least some folks in the House Republican leadership were taking ideas about cutting government semi-seriously. When named the new House Majority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) even immediately announced he was going after the low-hanging fruit that is the Export-Import Bank, an FDR-created pork program that gives cheap or free financing to foreigners to buy American-made products. Ex-Im's funds mostly go to benefit big companies such as Boeing, General Electric, and Caterpillar, and McCarthy told anyone who would listen that he would move to let the bank expire at the end of September, when its current authorization ends. Why? "Because it's something the private sector can be able to do," McCarthy told Fox News.

Needless to say, Ex-Im funding is part of the useless continuing resolution Congress passed last week. Here's my writeup at The Daily Beast about just how feckless the Republicans have become when it comes to actually proposing an alternative vision of government. 

Ex-Im funding will now be temporarily extended, and then the GOP will figure out a way to reauthorize it for another few years. After the midterms, look for stories talking up "bold" and "important" reforms that will do nothing to redirect the hyper-concentrated flow of Ex-Im funds to a single state (Washington, which pulls in over 40 percent of all disbursements)….

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 toldThe 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.

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.

More here.

Memo to Republicans: If you are perceived as very similar to the Democrats, just more awful when it comes to gender and race, you're not going to flourish. Your odds of pulling in independents and libertarians who are tired of massive government intrusion on all aspects of our lives would skyrocket if you laid out a governing strategy that accords with what you say you're all about.

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    1. “And what the back of your husband’s hand means for your weekend picnic plans tonight at 11.”

    2. I suggested they interview Phil Hartman for their report.

  1. Just a couple of weeks before ascending to the big-boy chair in the House of Representatives in 2011, Boehner was asked to “name a program right now that we could do without.” His answer: “I don’t think I have one off the top of my head.”

    Not to defend the cowardice, but any answer any GOP’er would give would either be reported as racism incarnate or look to the base as softness on national defense.

    1. Or anti-woman. “You don’t support the “save our women” amendment? Why do you stand with Ray Rice?”

      1. The GOP anti-wymenz? They have binders full of teh wymenz.

    2. Not only that. Once again, what were Republicans going to do? Shut down the government?

      If Republicans win the Senate, we’ll see if Obama has the energy to veto, say, legislation to kill the insurance company bailouts that keep Obamacare on life support. If he does, well, it’s stalemate through 2016 at a minimum.

  2. Oh, come on, Nick. You’re just a cosmotarian Democrat in sheep’s clothing.

    1. Well, lines like this make me wonder.

      If you are perceived as very similar to the Democrats, just more awful when it comes to gender and race

      So the GOP can improve how it’s perceived on racial issues by doing …… what? Supporting affirmative action as vigorously as the Democrats do? Throwing more of a tantrum over the name of a certain NFL team?

      1. Yeah, that line struck me as disingenuous. GOP is perceived as anti-woman because they don’t think companies should be forced to buy birth control and because their membership is disinclined to join the outrage factory over Trayvon or whatever.

        1. Fuck them. Thier silence condones the accusations. They are simply pussies. Instead of making a case, they allow their opponents to put words in their mouths. They deserve everything they get.

          1. They’ve taped their own mouths shut because of abortion. There is NOTHING they can say that can’t be construed as daddy government smacking misbehaving ladies.

          2. Pretty cheeky for a guy hiding behind a fictional character’s name, commenting on an obscure blog, to call people whose real names are attached to their statements and broadcast on TV “pussies”.

            1. Having their real names attached to their statements is their fucking job.

            2. If they want to be in charge you have to actually, you know, lead

      2. Outstanding point my friend, and a great catch. What the fuck does “more awful when it comes to gender and race” mean anyway? That certainly does sound like something a leftie would say.

        But what can you expect from someone who’s writing for those renowned Libertarian entites Time Magazine and The Daily Beast anyway.

        1. I guess it means their foreign language skills are weak, and they’re slow.

      3. It’s even worse than that. With the possible exception of abortion, every position that causes the GOP to be “perceived as more awful when it comes to gender and race” is shared by libertarians.

        Reason is up to the same games they were in 2012… nitpicking the GOP to death to negate the advantage they have for supporters of ltd govt.

        1. It’s also kind of absurd when you consider that the GOP couldn’t do anything (besides shut the government down) right now even if it were completely controlled by libertarian and TEA Party republicans, and Welch and Gillespie fully understand this, but like to pretend otherwise.

          And last time, when we actually had that pseudo government “shutdown” and the douchebag Obama put up his Barrycades around DC, so-called libertarians like Mr. and Mrs. McArdle went borderline hysterical about how awful that was.

          1. So what are they doing in states they dominate? Not all the action’s in DC.

            1. Quite a bit in some cases. Take Scott Walker for example. He has probably done more to cut spending and rein in out of control government than pretty much any individual person in the country. They also successfully converted Michigan to a right to work state.

        2. Maybe the GOP should actually try being the party of limited government that they continually claim to be?

          It’s not like establishment republicans continue to crucify and alienate the few voices of limited government in congress right now or anything.

          1. Maybe the GOP should actually try being the party of limited government that they continually claim to be?

            I’m not sure how this would make them less “awful when it comes to gender and race” and you do know that a libertarian GOP will have either have to cause shutdowns or sell out until they get supermajorities in both houses?

            1. They aren’t going to get away from that because kulture war. However, my point was that’s it’s not nitpicking to point out that they don’t live up to their smaller government hype.

              1. They aren’t going to get away from that because kulture war. However, my point was that’s it’s not nitpicking to point out that they don’t live up to their smaller government hype.

                Except people were criticizing Nick for his “more awful when it comes to gender and race” remark which is rather disingenuous in an attack on the GOP for being too statist and too close to the Democrats. Something which you appear to agree with.

                1. Of course Nick didn’t say they were ACTUALLY worse on those issues, just that they’re PERCEIVED to be demlite plus being bad on those issues.

                  I took the last paragraph as saying: “If you’re going to be perceived as racist teabagging misogynist AND you’re not going to try and reign in the spending even a little, don’t be surprised when nobody votes for you.”

  3. Is this evidence the GOP is getting worse? Seems like he is laying out the case GOP is business as usual.

    As for the chances of taking over the Senate disappearing, 538 has had this as a 50-60% likelihood, with a recent shift toward Dems based on developments in Kansas. What are the odds I’m going to have to endure articles here about how Greg Orman is the new voice for voters tired of politics as usual, even though he’s a conventional third-way progressive who pretty much favors doubling down on everything the government is presently doing?

    To me, it boils down to this. If Republicans win, it forces Obama to play defense and not screw things up for his party in 2016. That means he can’t do anything. Since everything he does sucks, that’s a desirable outcome.

    Further, a 51-49 Republican majority maximizes the power of liberty-oriented Republicans in the Senate. In particular, it gives Rand Paul an opportunity to define himself and his presidential candidacy (for better or worse). Further, it will mean Boehner no longer holds a monopoly on being the voice of the Republican party, which is always a good thing.

  4. Thomas Frank is still crazy, just in case anybody had any doubts.

    He was just on Meet the Press talking about how high taxes are what made this country great.

  5. Meet the press is now defining America as “Chik-fila” vs “Starbucks” country. Starbucks, of course, represents the suave, urbane elites, while Chik-fila is the banner of redneck hillbilly Biblethumpers.

    These guys are geniuses.

    1. I dunno, Chik-fil-A thrives by competently preparing a simple product and selling it inexpensively. Starbucks thrives by destroying a simple product and selling it at a massive markup.

      Which of those options you prefer probably says a lot about how you perceive government, IMO.

      1. I dunno, Chik-fil-A thrives by competently preparing a simple product and selling it inexpensively. Starbucks thrives by destroying a simple product and selling it at a massive markup.

        There’s a certain genius in this observation.

    2. There is a Chik-Fil-A and a Starbucks in my podunk little hillbilly town.

      McDonalds has better coffee than Starbucks. Much better.

      1. And the converse: you can barely throw a rock in the DC Metro area without hitting a Chik-fil-A.

  6. Pretty much see where the elections are going by this alone:

    1) O-care has raised costs and agro for nearly everybody, and succeeded in signing up

    1. Squirrels ripped my post!

      Pretty much see where the elections are going by this alone:

      1) O-care has raised costs and agro for nearly everybody, and succeeded in signing up less than 5% of the supposed uninsured at tremendous costs, along with other ‘qualities’.
      2) The GOP opposed requiring companies to provide contraceptives.

      Which got the media attention and lies?
      Don’t mess with free shit!

  7. If you are perceived as very similar to the Democrats, just more awful when it comes to gender and race

    The crucial word is “perceived”. Some people will never vote for a Republican. As disappointed as they may have been by his performance in office, a large segment of the voting population voted for Obama a second time, because a disappointing Democrat is perceived by them to be infinitely better than a Republican.

    As has been discussed here at length, many people look only at the stated intent of a government program and ignore its plainly obvious real world effects. Since the Great Society, if not before, government programs intended to improve the lives of black Americans have had disastrously adverse real world effects, yet many people still believe any attempt to change or eliminate those programs must be based solely on a racist impulse to hurt black people.

    The people most likely to be harmed by wholesale changes to the welfare system are white unionized government employees.

  8. A little while ago,on Meet the Press, they were huffing and puffing about how Sam Brownback has “destroyed” Kansas by cutting taxes. Because government spending, in and of itself (like pixie dust) is beneficial. There can be no qualitative distinction between one government dollar and the next. Asking if any government program, at the margin, is adding value, is like hate speech.

    Some people are completely impervious to any rational analysis of the real world effects of public policy. They no more want to examine their faith in government than they do their faith in God. They want to believe, so they do.

  9. Your odds of pulling in independents and libertarians who are tired of massive government intrusion on all aspects of our lives

    Libertarians are 0.5% of the electorate, and many will never vote or never vote non-LP out of principle.

    Independents love big government, they just flip to the other major big govt party when things get unpleasant.

    Why again would anyone listen to Nick Gillespie for political strategy?

    1. Libertarians are 0.5% of the electorate, and many will never vote or never vote non-LP out of principle.

      That constitutes a pretty massive gain from where I stand. Libertopia is only 300 years away!

    2. Libertarians are 0.5% of the electorate, and many will never vote or never vote non-LP out of principle.

      You must be considering only radical libertarians. What about moderate libertarians? Moderates constitute the bulk of each political tendency.

      1. What about moderate libertarians?

        Yeah, like Bill Maher.

  10. Are we talking about the perceptions of libertarians and independents or the perceptions of liberals?

    Because Gillespie’s whole paragraph made it sound to me like he was talking about libertarians. But you’re talking about people who consider a dissapointing democrat to be “infinitely better than a republucan”. And those people are called liberals in my book.

    1. They’re independents in my book. My unscientific evidence shows that people who consider themselves non-political overwhelmingly vote Democrat. It’s the default party of uninformed voters.

      1. This is actually how it pretty much boils down in my opinion.

        There is a large swathe of voters that have no overriding philosophy about government, other than it exists to solve “intransigent” problems. There are no fundamental limits to government power, there are only problems which require a clever law or regulation to fix.

        The best you’ll get out of these independents *cough*millennials*cough* when their own innovation or entrepreneurial spirit is doused by a regulation or statute is to suggest that we need new, better regulations to allow for this new venture.

        These people overwhelmingly vote Democrat because people who believe in limiting government Republicans are just homophobic, misogynistic racists.

  11. They’re independents in my book.

    Maybe it’s a local phenomenon, but most of the people I know who describe themselves as “independent” would rather be boiled in oil than vote for anybody who isn’t a Democrat. They whine incessantly about obstructionist Republicans and Congressional do-Nothingism.

    1. Lots of liberal democrats seem to like to pretend that they’re independents these days. It’s Dave Weigel syndrome. I think it’s a strategy of concern trolling that came out of the Journolist.

    2. I think we’re saying the same thing, because that’s pretty much what I’m describing. All the people i know who call themselves independent or non-political vote Democrat.

      And I think it’s about perception. Who ya gonna vote for, the mean, stingy, fat old white men, or the cool Black guys and feisty womens?

    3. That labeling got a lot of impulse in the late 19th & 20th C., when the Democratic machine was perceived as corrupt and needing to be reformed from within. Reform Democrats styled themselves the way they saw themselves, as independents. That stance persisted as wave after wave of reformers came in and became the new machine, so that now practically all Democrats are Reform Democrats, or “independent voters”.

  12. nitpicking the GOP

    Pointing out the obvious uselessness of Boehner and McConnell hardly qualifies as nitpicking.

  13. You played the race card. I thought we had an understanding that that meant your resignation. Why compound your mistake?

    1. Wait, what?

  14. The GOP doesn’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They jam their fist down its esophagus, through its stomach and wrench it fully digested from the colon.

    1. Huh, so they are libertarian after all…

  15. Memo to Republicans: If you are perceived as very similar to the Democrats, just more awful when it comes to gender and race, you’re not going to flourish.

    What about the accepted political wisdom, capture the center? Or just the general business advice, or advice in just about any endeavor, which is to copy the successful?

  16. Your odds of pulling in independents and libertarians who are tired of massive government intrusion on all aspects of our lives would skyrocket if you laid out a governing strategy that accords with what you say you’re all about.

    More militarism?

  17. Memo to Libertarians: your holocaust denial”holocaust denial nonsense just suffered another blow from reality: Sobibor gas chambers unearthed after 70 years.

    In reality, your Nazi buddies may deny the holocaust publicly, but privately they think it is a groovy thing and should happen again. Your desire to destroy Israel and its SIX MILLION JEWS is quite understandable. You’ll probably deny that the six million Jews died just as you deny the holocaust.

    “Six million Jews didn’t die in WWII; they just went out for pizza.”

    The Mad Revisionist

    1. Shit, he’s on to us…

    2. You are one giant truck load of crazy.

    3. Well, I mean, come on guys, any philosophy that credits and borrows heavily from Ayn Rand (born Alisa Rosenbaum), Ludwig von Mises (Jewish) and Murray Rothbard (son of Jewish immigrants) is clearly anti-Semitic.

      It’s also not like the commentators on Reason will defend the shit out of Israeli defense policy, to the extent that the one guy who questions Israeli tactics is called an anti-Semite.

  18. Sobibor gas chambers unearthed after 70 years

    To be refurbished?

  19. voters are smart to stick with the status quo, no matter how miserable it might be.

    So is Gillespie endorsing Obama here? And doesn’t this contradict his “libertarian moment” and “independent libertarian millenials”?

    1. If you keep redefining libertarianism such that it sounds a lot like progressivism light, then yes, the libertarian moment is upon us. Feeling freer yet?

      1. If you keep redefining libertarianism such that it sounds a lot like progressivism light, then yes, the libertarian moment is upon us.

        This is also closer to what the Republicans he attacks want as well.

  20. Your odds of pulling in independents and libertarians who are tired of massive government intrusion on all aspects of our lives would skyrocket if you laid out a governing strategy that accords with what you say you’re all about.

    What makes you so sure that independents want that?

    just more awful when it comes to gender and race

    What is he talking about here? You do know that the progs regard libertarian gender and race policies to be terrible?

  21. I think that libertarians should stop conflating GOP electability and GOP libertarianess since those are two different issues. Extremely disingenuous.

    1. For example Democrats love conflating Republicans with libertarians when it suits them. They point out the GOP isn’t really fiscally conservative or limited government when it suits them. They also conflate libertarians with Republicans when it suits them. All three arguments are contradictory and only the second part is actually true but this is politics.

  22. my best friend’s mother-in-law makes $68 /hr on the computer . She has been without work for 6 months but last month her income was $17210 just working on the computer for a few hours. hop over to here…

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

  23. I think Reason sometimes tries too hard to bash Republicans, but I must say this piece is 100% correct. They’ve been kneecapping the Tea Party and now are heading into an election without a message. Idiots. The Contract With America got them the House in ’94, and something similar could get them the Senate this year, but nooooo, they’re going to play it “safe” and wimp out. How hard is it to find facts and figures that emphasize our bloated, inefficient, wasteful government? Hell, the National Science Foundation just blew $700,000 on a musical about global warming that immediately bombed. Illegal aliens get better health care than veterans. I could go on all day with things that would make killer campaign ads, but the GOP is too stupid and timid and too in bed with the Chamber of Commerce to rock the boat.

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