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.
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.