Election 2014

What Will Republicans Do If WHEN They Win the Senate? A Limited-Govt Scenario

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It's looking increasingly likely that the GOP will take control of the Senate. The New York Times' model gives Republicans a 65 percent chance of gaining a majority and Five Thirty Eight is giving them a 62 percent shot. "Midterm momentum belongs to GOP" says The Washington Post, whose latest poll with ABC News finds that even Hispanics, often the target of Republican immigrant-bashing, are up for the change.

So what might Republicans actually do if they have majorities in both houses of Congress? If past behavior is any indication of future performance, the short and likely answer is: screw it all up. The Wash Post's "Right Turn" blogger Jennifer Rubin offers up advice, much of which makes sense. She says the GOP should think about legislation as belonging to one of two piles. The first is stuff that "enjoys bipartisan support." The second includes things "the GOP cannot accomplish without the White House." For the latter, she says, Republicans should take their case to the public and force President Obama to 'splain why he's dragging his heels. In all cases, says Rubin:

Bills should follow some basic criteria: 1. The principle purpose is reform, not penny pinching; 2. The lower or middle class benefits; and 3. If the welfare state bureaucracy is doing something poorly (e.g. Obamacare, food stamps) replace it with something better. That leaves the field wide-open for welfare reform, full-blown tax reform, regulatory reform, and an Obamacare alternative. Legislation may include a more decentralized solution in which the feds take a more supportive role (e.g. funding)  but states construct programs.

That all sounds pretty good. But of course we know what Republicans and conservatives really want to do is spend lots of money on stuff that favors their constituencies and ideological fixations. So that means:

What Republicans can't do is spend their time trying to chop chunks of government, obsess on the spending side, cut holes in the safety net, perpetuate cronyism or let paranoia gut anti-terror measures (e.g. drones, NSA). Senate gadflies are about to learn that being in the majority is far different than throwing spitballs from the minority. They will need to show they can problem-solve (or they will confirm concerns that they cannot).

Read the whole article.

I agree with Rubin that this election is not about Americans being suddenly dazzled by Republican proposals. People are fed up with Obama, whose signature legislative accomplishments either didn't work as advertised (the stimulus) or remain genuinely unpopular (Obamacare). "Voters are looking for executive competence," writes Rubin, "something the Congress can affect only indirectly through oversight and the budget." She warns that Republicans "misread public opinion at their own peril."

True, true. But so do Washington Post bloggers. First and foremost, it's clear that Americans want Congress to do its job and actually vote on a war declaration regarding the current adventures in Iraq and Syria. According to the latest Reason-Rupe Poll, fully 78 percent of us want to see that. And don't mistake the recent post-beheading spike of support for action against ISIS as a long-term shift. The Reason-Rupe Poll found that 52 percent of Americans are against ground troops fighting in the Middle East. Tellingly, the poll also found that more people today claim to have supported opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq than actually did at the time. We're a nation of summer soldiers, it turns out.

The Republicans would in fact do well to "obsess on the spending side." Rubin is probably right that it's not a winning political strategy to start calling for an end to the Department of Commerce, but the GOP should absolutely make the case that spending and debt is a real issue and that we need to get by with less of both. Had the GOP in the past actually started cutting corporate welfare first and social welfare second, they would have confounded expectations and won some plaudits from libertarians as well as fiscally serious independents and Democrats. But when you cut food stamps without targeting farm subsidies, the jig is up. A Republican Congress could kill the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare institution that is supported by such progressive Democrats as Sen. Elizabeth Warren) as an opening salvo.

If the GOP is interested in hitting on specific measures that enjoy broad majorities of approval, it would do well to follow Rand Paul's lead in pushing on sentencing reform and other criminal justice fixes. Polls routinely show 75 percent and more of voters believing in such things. Given that such measures would disproportionately affect minorities, they would also help recast the Party of Lincoln as something other than a good old boys' club too.

If the Republicans are interested in catching some spark with millennials, they would also do well to push social issues (including immigration) off their near-term agenda. The GOP pulls poorly among 18-29 year olds, with just 23 percent of millennials self-identifying as Republicans. The Reason-Rupe Millennials Poll released over the summer strongly suggests taking a break from freaking out over gay marriage and pot legalization. Millennials support both and Republicans are generally against them. Yet the Republicans could also tell a story about economic policy that might resonate with younger Americans. Large majorities of millennials believe that government is too big and regulates too much; that cutting taxes would help the economy; and that cutting spending by 5 percent would help the economy. Younger Americans are worried about state surveillance and tend to be anti-war too.

The GOP would be wise to think through its approach to foreign policy. George W. Bush left office with record-low approval ratings. Obama may well set new lows. While both presidents have done poorly economically, both have followed a largely interventionist, largely disastrous foreign policy. It's not tough to outline a defense strategy that protects Americans without breaking the bank or coming to the aid of every country in the world which nonethless votes to kick us out after a decade of occupation (such as Iraq). An engaged America needn't be an American that spends itself to the poorhouse on the military.

If the Republican majority actually laid out policies that fell into line with all that while explaining a theory of limiting government and increasing individual freedom, they might just win over people who worry (not without reasons) that the GOP is simply a socially reactionary party that wants to cut spending on the poor but lard it up on wealthy people and the military-industrial complex. 

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle: Don't Let Cops Dodge the Constitution

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  1. So what might Republicans actually do if they have majorities in both houses of Congress?

    Say something about rape and retroactively lose control of one or both houses.

    1. Put all the black folks in CHAINZ!

      ~Joe Biden

    2. ‘This bill will cut spending and balance our federal budget. We call it the Restore And Promote Economic Sanity, or RAPES Act’

      1. I would vote a straight R ticket in ’16 if they did this.

    3. They’ll roll up their sleeves and do something about this gay marriage malarkey! 😐

  2. Start wars, spend money, grope women and insult minorities.

    1. This is about Republicans, not Biden.

      1. I spluttered.

  3. So what might Republicans actually do if they have majorities in both houses of Congress?

    Get blamed for everything bad that happens between now and 2016 ensuring the election of Elizabeth Warren?

    1. Restrict all travel from countries starting with E, B, O, L or A.

  4. We joke, but I’m trying to think of some things that they would actually *want* to do that would have broad appeal. I honestly can’t think of a whole lot.

    1. Repeal Obamacare. Tax cuts. Approve the Keystone pipeline.

      There are three to begin with.

      1. I’m not sure any of those have really broad appeal. Because Repeal Obamacare = destroy people’s health care; tax cuts = giveaways to the rich, and; approve the Keystone pipeline = endanger the environment to help the oil companies.

        1. The polls say they are. There is more to the country than the Kos retards. If there wasn’t, the Republicans wouldn’t be looking at controlling the Congress.

          The Keystone pipeline is consistently supported by 70% or more of the public in every single poll that is taken. If spinning it was as easy as you think it is, Obama would have just killed it long ago and taken credit for doing so instead of constantly lying an obfuscating and effectively killing it but pretending not to.

          Repealing Obamacre polls exactly the same way. People hate the law. Again, if that spin worked, the Democrats wouldn’t be getting kicked out of power.

          1. Keystone is an eminent domain ridden project.

            1. So what? Pipelines are one of the few things where ED makes sense. Even if you hate ED, the public clearly doesn’t so the point that its popular still stands.

              1. Abrogation of property rights doesn’t ever make sense to me.

                1. Just out of curiosity, what would your alternative look like?

                2. Who cares. That doesn’t make my point that it has broad popular appeal even less valid.

                  1. Wasn’t talking to you. Was talking to Bo.

              2. Lots of “X is one of the few things where government encroachment makes sense” going on here lately.

                Where is the magical handbook of exceptions to your fundamental principles? I need to read up so I know when you’re being actual corporate whore hypocrites or if these seemingly random exceptions have an underlying principle.

                1. Did I say anything about making exceptions, assclown? I asked a legitimate question, you immoral fucking cunt.

                  1. I was responding to John.

                    1. I was responding to John.

                      No you weren’t. John has no principles, he’s a republican.

                    2. John has no principles, he’s a conservative.

                      -Improved

                2. Hey, it’s ‘Tony’ everybody, bringing the dishonest derp, it’s ‘Tony’!

          2. Polls show most people think the middle class pays too much tax and that the rich pay too little, which suggests tax cuts as well as tax hikes. Unless the Republicans are willing to do both I bet tax cuts alone get filibustered.

            While favorability of Obamacare polls low so does Repealing it. This suggesting that most people prefer improving it over eliminating it. I doubt that House Republicans can put together a majority to reform it.

            Of these three the Keystone Pipeline is the only one I could possibly see passing Congress and the President signing but I suspect that the Democrats are going to want something in return for it, probably something like Cap and Trade or lower CO2 limits. Are the Republicans willing to negotiate?

        2. I think they have fairly broad appeal to the general public. Unfortunately, pols don’t surround themselves with the general public.

          1. They do use them occasionally as fillings in ‘sandwiches’ tho, if you recall.

        3. Repealing/replacing part of Obamacare could have broad appeal, but not an outright repeal. It would just play into the “not serious about governing” narrative, since repeal has no shot.

          Tax cuts could be popular if they were targeted almost exclusively at the middle class.

        4. John is right, especially about Keystone. But would GOP have the power to do that even with majorities in both chambers of Congress?

      2. Repealing Obamacare just to go back to the previous status quo would be almost worthless. A repeal and a real deregulation of the insurance business such that health insurance becomes untethered from employment, now that would be something.

        1. It wouldn’t be worthless. I would undo a lot of harm. If nothing else, it would end the individual mandate and reduce the price of health insurance by no longer mandating every policy contain all kinds of mandatory coverage.

        2. Outright appeal wouldn’t be very popular. If they could actually get a deregulating reform passed, then that might work in their favor politically in the long run, as people would eventually see the benefit. But a deregulating bill that gets vetoed only plays into the Democratic narrative.

          1. Outright appeal wouldn’t be very popular

            The polls say otherwise. Now, if you attached repeal to a bunch of other new stuff and deregulation, it would be very unpopular because doing that would allow the Democrats to change the subject from how Obamacare sucks and needs to go to how the Republicans are radicals and want to change everything.

            I don’t understand where you guys get this “the public will hate anyone who repeals it” stuff. It is just not true. The polls all say the opposite and it is a terrible law doing all kinds of harm. Repeal would be very popular. The people who say otherwise are just kool aide drinkers engaging in wishful thinking.

            1. It depends on the parts of it. Repealing the coverage of ‘minors’ in their twenties, for example, will be unpopular. Repealing individual mandate would go over well though I think

              1. That is why you roll it all into one big repeal. Repeal, good and bad, is popular. And I doubt keeping minors on their parents’ insurance is as popular as people think. Most people don’t have kids. And if there is one lesson Obamacare has taught people it is that mandating that other people get free shit on their insurance comes at everyone else’ expense. I would imagine people who don’t have kids or whose kids are grown are not too happy with paying higher insurance premiums so the neighbors kid can have health insurance while he works on his puppetry degree.

                That provision is a total payoff to a small group of upper class white people and would be very easy to lampoon and attack, which of course the GOP won’t have the intelligence or balls to do.

            2. Every poll I’ve seen (one example) consistently shows a minority supporting full repeal. Most want reform/fixes. That has been the case for a while.

              1. Look closer. People say they want it “fixed” but then every actual provision of the law is unpopular. What has happened is the media has done a good job of convincing people that only the real crazies want reform. So people won’t say they support it because they want to feel reasonable. Of course if you look at what they actually think, the want repeal but won’t say so.

                But everyone someone on the right says “repeal is just too radical” they are feeding into that bullshit media narrative. Repeal is not too radical and people need to stop letting the media bully the idea out of public debate.

                1. The only part of the law AFAIK that has majority approval is the pre existing conditions mandate. I would bet a lot of people would give that up willingly in exchange for pre-Obamacare insurance rates.

                2. Can you cite any poll saying that the minor coverage or preexisting condition parts have majority opposition?

                3. Every actual provision? The various new things that now must be covered (birth control, mammograms, etc.), pre-existing condition coverage, children being able to stay on until 26 are all popular.

                  1. No, people say they like those provisions in polls. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t happily give those things up if it meant killing the entire law. Those provisions popularity such as it is is very soft and nothing when compared to the intensity of the unpopularity of the rest of it.

                    1. If they would happily give those things up if it meant killing the entire law, then full repeal would poll better, and reform/fix would poll worse.

                      Obamacare isn’t popular, but, as a whole, it simply is not as intensly unpolular as you seem to think.

              1. That poll says 49% want to keep the law and improve it, and another 12% want to leave it as-is.

                Just in case you were hoping no one would click the link.

                1. He’s responding to John

                2. Just in case you were hoping no one would click the link.

                  I was disagreeing with John, you immoral fucking cunt. Go crawl back into your hole of irrational and stupid, you fucking moron.

                  1. My mistake. You should know that I feed on insults from people who self-identify as less-than-middling intellects. Try reading another book.

                3. Man, two comments in and you’ve already brought the full fucking retard.

                  1. ‘Tony’ is proof that Peak Retard is unattainable.

      3. I know you’re being sarcastic, John. You have to be.

  5. Repeal the individual mandate. It is incredibly unpopular and grossly unfair. It is an issue that the Republicans can actually frame in a short and devastating way. How can we fine people for the crime of being too poor to buy insurance? It would also effectively gut Obamacare, so Obama is certain to veto it no matter how popular it is. Put a stripped down bill repealing the mandate through the House and up for a vote in the Senate. Then watch Democrats scream and cry about how unfair it is and either vote to keep a wildly unpopular and indefensible policy or vote to get rid of it and force Obama to veto a bipartisan bill.

    1. That would require some intelligence and foresight, so, off the table for the Stupid Party.

      1. Yeah, fuck that. How about a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? That’s more the GOP’s style.

        1. I really wouldn’t put it past them.

        2. Yup, that and flag burning.

          1. Banning birth control perhaps? Throw in some laws banning gambling. Maybe a prescription drug benefit. Wait…

    2. Actually that’s a pretty good idea. If the individual mandate is really as unpopular as everyone says – and I have no reason to doubt that – then Obama vetos it at the risk of the Dems losing the 2016 election.

      1. Yeah, as far as politics goes, forcing Obama to veto an individual mandate repeal sounds smart. They won’t do it, of course. Because they’re idiots.

        1. Of course, they’re idiots. They’ll probably nominate another Bush for president, or drag out Romney again. Bsides…I think deep in their shriveled little hearts they love the mandate as much as the Dems do.

    3. The changes would necessarily go beyond that. If you eliminate the mandate, then you also eliminate the minimum coverage requirements (not needed if you’re not mandating any coverage, at all). That resolves the religious freedom issues and ultimately results in making the exchanges optional marketplaces for insurance where consumers can compare and purchase policies. Of course, there’s still the subsidies issues, but that’s going be a huge quagmire.

  6. Market the fact that the Republican establishment is truly a giant sex toy that gets America off?

  7. Is this a rhetorical question? They will do exactly what they did last time they controlled the legislature. They will do exactly as their Dem predecessors did. Ain’t no mystery.

    1. I suppose they might have some similarities to the reformists of 1994, but the problem with that is that the 1994 win morphed into business as usual, for the most part, not all that long afterwards. The only thing good about them at that point was opposition to the godawful Clinton administration.

      1. Opposition to the godawful Obama administration is the only thing good about the Republicans this time, too.

        1. Maybe we should get rid of ruling parties and only have opposition parties.

          1. But then the opposition parties would become the ruling parties, and then we’d have to…

            Hey, that’s not a bad idea.

  8. Well, first a little victory dance, followed by an orgy with the staffers and some professionals shipped in from Colombia. Afterwards, they’ll talk shit about massive investigations, repeals, and impeachments, which they’ll make the first timid steps of doing for about three months. Then they’ll return to the true business of American government–taking money from everyone and from future everyones and giving it to themselves and their friends. Thus does the miracle of American exceptionalism continue.

    1. You forgot the ritual shaming and exiling of the losing staffers. Whenever a Congressman is voted out of office them and their staff should have to endure some kind of public ritual shaming and formal exiling from Capitol Hill.

      1. That’s done during the orgy.

        1. Maybe taking the form of congressional bukkake. The mixing of seeds and showers upon the exiled.

      2. How about a perp walk?

  9. Here is another thing they can do. Significantly reduce the power of the IRS. Pass a real IRS reform bill. The liberals would hate it since they view tax collection by all means possible as part of the holy trinity of government but it would be very popular with the country at large.

    1. They should pass a flat-tax law right out the gate and set in motion a balanced-budget amendment.

    2. Never happen. The IRS is too entrenched to ever really be reformed in any significant way. The dems and Obama will fight it tooth and nail, and the republicans won’t be able to override his veto.

      1. Of course he will. That is the point. Make him and the Democrats take unpopular positions.

      2. One thing that’s disappointing about now in comparison with 1994 is that there was a pretty clear reform movement in 1994. Today seems more focused on “WE’RE NOT THE DEMOCRATS,” which is hardly promising for those of us who want radical–nay, cataclysmic–change.

        1. Pro-L — You keep referring back to 1994.

          The GOP had the House, Senate and the Presidency from 2000-06. Remember the shit they did back then?

          1. War, regulation, new laws, bigger budget.

          2. Of course I do. It’s not like I’m a fan of the GOP. They’re taking the Senate. Let’s see if they’re going to unleash the hounds on the administration. If not, then there’s always 2016.

          3. In fairness to them there was an exogenous event in 2001 that changed everything.

            1. Lol, ‘pre-9/11 mindset!’

            2. With casualties as high as a typical July on US highways.

          4. Because from 2000-06 they had a Republican president and couldn’t/wouldn’t oppose him. It’s all very “TEAM”.

          5. 2002-2006.

            Why does everyone forget Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords–who allowed the Dems control of the Senate?

  10. ” If the Republicans are interested in catching some spark with millennials, they would also do well to push social issues (including immigration) off their near-term agenda.”

    While I mostly agree with the sentiment, I don’t know how you can do that given the reality we live in. The culture war has completely intertwined itself with economic and other issues. In a world where not wanting to pay for someone else’s birth control is denying access, taxpayers are expected to foot the bill for immigrant children, and business owners are threatened with the loss of liberty and property for not violating their conscience, I don’t know how anyone who claims to endorse small government can remain neutral in the culture war. You will be made to care.

    1. The black community is dead against amnesty and becoming increasingly sour with the Democratic party. Passing immigration reform and allowing blacks to blame them rather than the Democrats for passing it while also letting Obama and by extension the rest of the Democrats take credit with Hispanics for passing it would be an epically stupid move. So of course the leadership trying to figure out how to do just that as we speak.

      1. The black community is dead

        This strikes me as rather extreme, John.

        1. that is one poll done by NPR. The complete lack of enthusiasm of blacks in this election would say otherwise. Moreover, blacks are the ones who will be most hurt by open borders.

          If you and the people at NPR want to convince yourself that blacks are too stupid or just too noble to act in their own economic interests, have fun. I however doubt that.

          1. “to convince yourself that blacks are too stupid or just too noble to act in their own economic interests”

            What’s the matter with Kansas?

            1. Nothing. That is an example of people voting exactly in their own economic interests and the economy and business climate there shows it. That entire book is one giant projection on Frank’s part.

              Meanwhile, blacks are the ones who will suffer most from amnesty and it will take a hell of a lot more than one push poll from NPR to convince me that they are not against it.

              1. I bet you thought SSM was going to disaffect blacks from the Democrats too. Your partisanship is clouding your predictions

                1. Blacks don’t like same sex marriage. But just because you disagree with something doesn’t mean you are going to vote on it. People who are not doing well tend to vote on economic issues. Voting on social issues is a luxury.

                  Blacks vote Democratic because they see Democrats as acting in their economic interests. If they voted on social issues, they would vote Republican since blacks as a group of generally socially conservative. Amnesty changes that calculation a bit.

                  And thanks for showing the white flag and admitting you have lost this argument by screaming partisan. It is not the customary “RED TONY” way of admitting an argument as lost, but it is an acceptable alternative.

                  1. Just as SSM didn’t cost Dems black votes, neither will immigration. You Republicans just imagine how blacks feel and do a particularly poor job of it

                2. Black Americans are literally one of the only demographic groups whose wage and job prospects are actually affected by low-skilled immigrants (teens being the other primary group), owing to their being disproportionately poor and under-skilled as a group. Can’t speak to their altruism, but to the extent we wish to treat people as herds rather than individuals, they are actually voting against their own economic interests. Anecdotally, I think that poll probably overstates nationwide black support for “amnesty”.

                  1. That’s a static view that maybe they don’t share. Also, it’s not like blacks don’t understand that most immigrant groups have political views close to theirs, so there’s that too. Giving citizenship to a few million people most of whom will now vote like you is not going to make most people mad.

          2. Uh if the GOP puts forward amnesty or some immigration reform, then the Dems will have to choose between Hispanics and blacks, which would be tactically smart. Assuming you’re not just pulling this ‘blacks hate amnesty’ stuff out of your ass which is entirely possible.

      2. The more I think about it, the more I come to believe that its not stupidity by the party leadership as much as it is doing the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce. If there’s one thing the Republicans have proven to me over the last few years its that they’ll tell every voting bloc they have to fuck off if the CoC wants them too.

        1. For sure. You have to remember that the GOP leadership just want to keep things quiet so they can engage in various petty graft and corruption.

          They are not full on crazy retards the way the top Democrats are. They are just petty small people who want to be liked and not rock the boat while they live the good life of being in Congress.

  11. As a follow up to the Reason article from a few days ago about high-speed trading. A few commentors were butthurt because some firms computers were located closer to the exchanges computers, and that those firms “skimmed” profits from everyone’s trades. From Yahoo Fiance:

    Fast traders are getting data from SEC seconds early

    Oh look! The government is creating an information imbalance that benefits the powerful and connected to the detriment of the little guy! Who could see that coming?

  12. But when you cut food stamps without targeting farm subsidies, the jig is up.

    Hey, I’ve got a whacky idea, why not dump food stamps ($80 billion) and farm subsidies ($149 billion)? Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s just crazy talk. But, you know, it might be a nice idea to spend our time wondering if we should be spending money in the first place, rather than focusing on which particular group it would be politically best for us to keep giving money to.

    1. The only guy I know of proposing that in a gutsy sort of way is Tom Cotton — who also luvs him some rape babies. Man, it’s always something.

  13. replace it with something better.

    No, no, no, no, NO!

    You don’t replace cancer with something better!

    1. Did I just glimpse some of your mad scientist?

  14. OTC birth control seems like a no brainer. Partisan politics aside, it just makes sense. From what I understand, there is actual support within the Republican party for it. And it nicely undercuts the anti-birth control narrative, though I’m sure it would be bi-partisan and Republicans would get no long-term credit for it.

    1. That would be a good one and something that even the GOP base would be fine with. It is another one of those issues that would force the Democrats to drop the mask and admit they really don’t give a shit about the things they claim to.

      1. “that even the GOP base would be fine with”

        Say what?

        1. I haven’t seen polls, but I don’t see a reason to doubt this.

          1. Its Bo. He doesn’t need a reason to doubt it. He just needs to be pedantic and shit on all the threads and confuse the issues.

          2. I’m assuming the base has a significant number of religious conservatives. They may not be spoiling to make BC illegal again as liberals try paint them, but many at best have made a resigned but unhappy peace with it and would likely not back making it easier to get.

            1. Sorry, but on this one your assumptions are wrong.

              87% of Republicans think BC is morrally acceptable, compared with 89% of independents and 90% of Democrats.

              82% of Catholics think it is morally acceptable.

              Officially, the Anglican Church, most Lutheran churches, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church all either explicitly sanction or are neutral on BC.

            2. Bo a significant number of religious conservatives don’t use BC?

              1. They do, but there’s a fair gap between what people do and what they think ideal among religious persons

                Don’t take my word for it, go to Socon sites and read their views on the subject

                1. Sorry Bo, but your “I saw some SOCON sites (that I won’t link to) that say otherwise) doesn’t exactly beat LynchPin’s link that says 87% of Republicans support birth control. Maybe it is a single push poll and an outlier. Okay, so only 75% support it. That is still a large majority.

                  You have lost the argument. Give up.

                  1. We were talking about the GOP base, right?

                  2. @John, In fairness to Bo you did disregard his poll on black opinions on amnesty.

                  3. The wording on the Gallup poll was

                    Next, I’m going to read you a list of issues. Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, for each one, please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong. How about —

                    That seems about as neutral as you can get to me. A Pew poll of Catholics found 75% approval, though I didn’t look into that one as closely. But those are two respected polling organizations with results that are pretty much the same within the margin of error. Given that other religions’ official stance on BC is softer than the Catholic Church, one can safely assume that a broader Pew poll would find even higher support, as did the Gallup poll.

                    I get that you don’t like SoCons, Bo. I’m not a fan, either. But in this case you have no gripe with them, save for maybe some tiny minority that is utterly inconsequential. I have a hard time thinking of anything that could be more widely accepted than BC.

                    1. The base is not the rank and file but the activists. They volunteer, give money and participate in primary votes disproportionately. They’re not for it, and few GOP pols are going to cross them

                2. Don’t take my word for it, go to Socon sites and read their views on the subject

                  Better yet, don’t draw broad conclusions from niche corners of the internet. Look instead at broad polling data like the kind I linked above.

                  You are inventing an army SoCon boogeymen where none exists.

                  1. I’m not talking about niche internet sites but the cites of groups that are major players in the GOP, interest groups.

                    1. The SoCon opposition to BC mostly has to do with possible abortifacients. Your link supports that. The other major concern is minors’ access to OTC BC, which could be assuaged by requiring people to be over the age of 18, 16, whatever, to purchase it, or have a parent present.

                      I mean, read your actual link Bo. The opposition to non-abortifacient BC it specifically discusses is, at best (or worst, whatever) a concern over implementation. Hardly entrenched opposition.

                      You are just plain wrong on this.

                    2. Like Focus on The Family? Their official stance on estrogen/progesterone contraceptives basically defers to individual couples. Reading between the lines, the most you can say is they are mildly concerned that they could, in rare cases, prevent implantation or adversely effect a fertilized egg.

                    3. I can’t find anything on the subject hormonal contraception on the NRLC website, or in any Google searches. But at least two state level groups officially take no stance on non-abortive contraceptions.

                      So which major players, exactly, are you talking about?

                  2. Bo has a list of 87 SoConz infiltrators that post righ here at Hit-N-Run.

                    1. This of course has the usual lack of relation to anything I’m actually saying

  15. Here’s a few things they will not do:

    They will not repeal any legislation.

    They will not cut any programs or agencies.

    They will not reduce the deficit.

    What will they do?

    Same thing they always do. Pass more legislation, create new programs and agencies, and add to the deficit.

    Same old song and dance.

    1. You forgot start new wars.

  16. I’d be fine with them not doing anything other than continuing to obstruct the Democrats.

    If there could be some sign from the GOP that being voted into office in a mid-term with an embarrassing disaster of a Democratic president isn’t some mandate to play out all their legislative fantasies, there might be some hope for them after all.

    1. They’re gonna see it as a mandate to outlaw abortion.

      1. If they do, they’re going to lose in 2016.

  17. Republicans should take their case to the public and force President Obama to ‘splain why he’s dragging his heels.

    “Let me be clear. As President, my job is, uh, to do what is best for the American people.”

  18. The Wash Post’s “Right Turn” blogger Jennifer Rubin offers up advice, much of which makes sense. She says the GOP should think about legislation as belonging to one of two piles. The first is stuff that “enjoys bipartisan support.”

    Bipartisan support? Bipartisan among the public? Or Bipartisan among the congresscritters? Because the two are not the same.

    For the latter, she says, Republicans should take their case to the public and force President Obama to ‘splain why he’s dragging his heels.

    This is actually smart, which means that it either won’t be done, or be done wrongly. TEAM Red suffers from a distinct lack of aptitude at crude populism and they employ people with communications and marketing degrees who tell them “don’t offend anyone and if you do, backtrack and apologize.”

    1. They absolutely do. Part of it is that they are terrified of being villified and lampooned by the media. The typical GOP politician wakes up every day just hoping he will be seen as a reasonable person and not part of an SNL skit or be called a crazy hillbilly on the Daily Show. As a result, they constantly try to talk and act like liberals and use the language of liberals in defending themselves. It puts them in the position of defending their policies while also constantly trying to make sure no one thinks they are advocating too hard or being unreasonable. Its what makes them such losers. But anyone who plays to win and really goes after the liberals is immediately vilified as a nut and a crazy by the entire mass media. And none of them have to balls to not give a shit.

      1. But anyone who plays to win and really goes after the liberals is immediately vilified as a nut and a crazy by the entire mass media. And none of them have to balls to not give a shit.

        That’s why people like Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, and let’s say Ann Coulter have such staying power among TEAM Red adherents. TEAM Red voters are dying for a politician who actually fights back against being name-called, mocked, and accused of hating women, children, gays, minorities, and Mother Gaia. If TEAM Red actually had candidates with a taste for rhetorical brawling instead of “I’m just a humble farm boy/girl, vote for me” or “yacht-club Republicans who think elected office is their family business” they’d probably flip their shit and camp out at the polls waiting to vote.

        1. Yup. But the media ensures that such a person can never appeal to a broader audience. So any GOP politician who has a hope of winning a majority outside of really dark red areas has to be some beaten down loser of the type I describe above.

          For anything in this country to change, the media as it is currently constituted has to die.

          1. I wouldn’t blame the corporate media at this point because after two generations of Progressive control, TEAM Red should be well-aware of the lay of the land and have adjusted accordingly. What’s more, the internet has made voters not only more accessible, but for much cheaper (as Barry has already proven twice). Heck, a candidate could bypass corporate media entirely and make his appeal directly to the voters, thus controlling the content and context of his message to minimize MSNBC/Daily Show editing.

            Keep the message consistent, rational, and most importantly, don’t back away from it, eventually, people will notice that what you’re saying and what your detractors are saying about you don’t match up.

          2. Part of the problem is the Republican Party leadership forcing anybody who steps out of line to do the PC grovel dance.

            I realize if you say something truly stupid like “just enjoy the rape” there is nothing you can do, But somebody with some balls needs to just stand up and tell the media to F off. He should say – This is what I believe and what I expect. If you don’t believe it debate me like a man instead of calling me names.

            I worked for the Robertson family when AMC tried to get them to do the PC grovel dance over what the father said in the interview.

        2. “If TEAM Red actually had candidates with a taste for rhetorical brawling…”

          Remember what happened to Sarah Palin?
          It is and was absolutely impossible to discuss her actual qualifications and positions. The Republicans are scared to be painted as her.

          1. Remember what happened to Sarah Palin?
            It is and was absolutely impossible to discuss her actual qualifications and positions. The Republicans are scared to be painted as her.

            Yes. She caught a lot of knives in the front and a few in the back. But, if you’ll notice, Palin is still around and has a bigger brand and following than the guy who was supposed to be running for President, which proves my point. If you are tough enough to weather the initial storm of TEAM Blue vitriol, you’ll come out in a stronger position than if you just yield.

            1. Christine O’Donnell says hi.

      2. “The typical GOP politician wakes up every day just hoping he will be seen as a reasonable person and not part of an SNL skit or be called a crazy hillbilly on the Daily Show.”

        For sure. After the local newspaper editorialized about “toxic tea party ideas” the local GOP candidates have ducked every invitation to speak to the local Tea Party. Sure, they’d love the door to door campaign enthusiasm the tea partiers would bring, but they can’t be seen in public with them.

    2. Jennifer Rubin should be in prison though.

  19. ABC News finds that even Hispanics, often the target of Republican immigrant-bashing, are up for the change

    I guess they just don’t know what’s in their best interests.
    /whatsthematterwithkansas

    “Right Turn” blogger Jennifer Rubin offers up advice, much of which makes sense

    A sentence that never ends well.

    of course we know what Republicans and conservatives really want to do is spend lots of money on stuff that favors their constituencies and ideological fixations

    Republicans, sure (at least to some degree). Conservatives? As much as libertarians like to pretend that they alone are Righteous in the Land, there are plenty of conservatives who are pissed off at big government and would endorse cuts even greater than those suggested by Jennifer Rubin. Hell, isn’t Jennifer herself a conservative (and frankly, a pretty squishy one) who hasn’t met a war she doesn’t like?

    Had the GOP in the past actually started cutting corporate welfare first and social welfare second, they would have confounded expectations and won some plaudits from libertarians as well as fiscally serious independents and Democrats

    I remember a lot of corporate welfare getting cut during Reagan’s term, and almost no social welfare getting cut. Yet, I don’t recall much in the way of plaudits from “fiscally serious Democrats” (whatever the hell those are).

    1. If the Republicans are interested in catching some spark with millennials, they would also do well to push social issues (including immigration) off their near-term agenda.

      Why the hell would the Rs trade one of their most reliable activist groups for a group that can hardly be bothered to vote? Even leaving aside the question of whether ‘social issues’ at this time can be detached from the issues of business and religious freedom, there is no way in hell that this is a sane trade-off.

      If the Republican majority actually laid out policies that fell into line with all that while explaining a theory of limiting government and increasing individual freedom, they might just win over people who worry (not without reasons) that the GOP is simply a socially reactionary party that wants to cut spending on the poor but lard it up on wealthy people and the military-industrial complex

      Sure, Nick. If people would just do what you want, everything would go great. There’s no way that the media and public institutions wouldn’t just misrepresent what you want to do, or outright lie about it. Forget the fact that ‘cut spending on the poor but lard it up on wealthy people’ doesn’t describe the GOP’s policies at all (if anything, the opposite is more often than not true) and that the ‘social reactionaries’ seem as close to controlling America as the Klan. I’m sure Democrats and millenials will suddenly love us for being down with the pot.

      1. ‘Us’v

      2. That is a first rate rant Trouser. And all true. My compliments.

        Pretending that the rational thing for the GOP to do is tell their most reliable voters (the SOCONS) to go fuck themselves on the vague promise that various 20 something hipster doofuses might say something nice about them is one of the better Reason party tricks.

        Nick and various other Reason writers just can’t understand that people vote Democrat for reasons beyond just the culture war. So selling out on the culture war is by itself unlikely to attract many Democratic voters. Why would a Democrat suddenly decide to vote Republican because the Republicans sold out on the culture war? The Democrat already gets what he wants on the culture war from the Democratic Party. So why would the Republicans becoming the same cause him to change his vote? Nick never quite seems to understand that.

        1. The Reps would just be showing their ability to stab their own people in the back – which they’ve demonstrated before, of course.

          But they couldn’t then turn around and tell Millennials (or whoever), “but you’re so different, I’ll never betray *you* like I betrayed my most loyal supporters!”

      3. . Forget the fact that ‘cut spending on the poor but lard it up on wealthy people’ doesn’t describe the GOP’s policies at all (if anything, the opposite is more often than not true)

        This is a complete denial of reality. The GOP is just as elitist and corrupt as the Dems, they just have different donors to benefit.

        1. The GOP is just as elitist and corrupt as the Dems, they just have different donors to benefit

          Without a doubt, but when is the last time they ‘cut spending on the poor’? The closest you could get to stating that a Republican party did that was welfare reform (which was more a reallocation than an outright cut). In contrast, plenty of corporate welfare was cut in the early 80s especially under an R President, and in the 90s with an R Congress pushing those cuts. Besides that, most of their donors are broad based (e.g., ag subsidies which ostensibly benefit a large base of farmers).

          Generally speaking, rent-seeking and regulatory capture influences the shape of policy rather than engineer policy which benefits them wholesale — case in point, ObamaCare (which was broadly structured as a program for a mass of Americans, but which has inserts and aspects of the program designed to favor the wealthy). There really aren’t a whole lot of Wealthy And Rich Benefit Acts being passed in Congress.

      4. there are plenty of conservatives who are pissed off at big government and would endorse cuts even greater than those suggested by Jennifer Rubin.

        Right up until the issue of ILLEGAL FURRINERS comes up, then it’s all border walls and e-verify. Conservatives are like children: no focus, no prioritization.

        Why the hell would the Rs trade one of their most reliable activist groups for a group that can hardly be bothered to vote?

        Because that ‘reliable activist group’ is 1) alienating the rest of the country and 2) dying off. The Millenials will eventually grow up get older and start voting more. Better get with the times and embrace gays and pot.

        1. No there are plenty of conservatives who know the correct way to present legislation limiting immigration and forcing employers to comply. Make it all about the market raising wages and creating opportunities for teens needing their first jobs. Getting rid of H-1B programs means recent STEM graduates have more bargaining power.

          Of course the big donors of the Republican Party won’t like it so the RNC will do anything they can to kill it even allowing the “racist” nonsense to go unchallenged.

    2. “fiscally serious Democrats” (whatever the hell those are).”

      They were the ones who switched teams in the late 80s and early 90s. If you want to see one today, try a museum.

      1. Fiscally serious Democrats are the ones who want to raise taxes, duh.

  20. Ultimately the Republicans are so uninteresting that I could care less if a rogue North Korean nuke took them all out. Sure, I’d feel sorry for two of them and the fambilies left behind but other than that they are all insincere, power-grabbing filthbags.

    1. According to earlier comments in this thread, you must be a dupe of the mass media, because the GOP are just misunderstood saints.

  21. A Republican Congress could kill the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare institution that is supported by such progressive Democrats as Sen. Elizabeth Warren) as an opening salvo.

    Yeah, sure. And then Obama will go back to the old rhetoric, refuse to pass the budget, and we’ll have another fake government shutdown, the Barrycades will come back out in front of the World War II Memorial, and all the fake libertarians like Suderman and his wife will start hysterically shrieking once again about how stupid and horrible the republicans are for shutting the government down.

    1. The problem is that as long as the media will ensure the public blames the Republicans for any shutdown, the Republicans have no leverage. The source of Congress’ power is the power of the purse. If they can’t use that power via a shutdown, then they have no power.

      1. So Republicans should be able to use a government shutdown as leverage, but people shouldn’t feel that Republicans are to blame when they do it?

        1. Yes. Because that is what Obama does by vetoing it. I don’t know why I am going to try and explain this because you are clearly too stupid and pig headed to understand it. But here goes.

          It is just as valid to say the President is the one threating to shut down the government to get his way as it is to say Congress is. In fact, that is exactly how the media spins it whenever it is a Republican President and Democratic Congress.

          The problem is that the media will never do that when there is a Democratic President. A Democratic President is never expected to yield to the will of congress or considered responsible for a shut down because he refuses to sign the funding legislation. The effect of that is to leave the Congress the choice of either doing whatever the President demands and thus giving up the power of the purse or being blamed for the shut down.

          Since you completely lack the imagination necessary to understand any argument counter to your partisan belief, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you can’t see that and think any shut down is always the result of the other side holding the government hostage rather than your own.

          1. I understand that your argument is that Republicans ought to be reckless with the levers of power and escape any blame for the consequences. John, it is not a media cabal that is responsible for public perception on this, though it must be nice retreating to the security blanket of the librul media bias machine every time something doesn’t go your way (which is frequently, which must be why you need to believe nonsense like that).

            It’s true that, abstractly, the president not giving in to Republicans’ demands means he’s also to blame for a government shutdown. But if the people perceive that Republican bullshit is mostly to blame, they would not be wrong in the slightest.

            1. WOOOSH!!
              Way to completely miss the point, moron. Or maybe you just really are that dishonest.

              1. The point was “waaaahh the media are so mean to Republicans and let Democrats get away with anything!!”

            2. I understand that your argument is that Republicans ought to be reckless with the levers of power and escape any blame for the consequences.

              Holy freaking Bejeebus! That is hilarious. Talk about a total lack of self awareness. I’m pretty sure that this one has not reached any form of sentience at all.

    1. Keep republicans out of your uterus.
      It belongs to US

      – NARAL and the democrats.

      1. Yeah, keep the Republicans out of our bedrooms. Because everyone knows the Democrats and their psychophants don’t want any part of getting involved in people’s private sexual encounters.

    2. LMAO! I will say it again, the Dems have jumped the fucking shark. They are the Evel Knievels of shark jumping.

    3. The stupid, it burns!

  22. Nick, or editors:

    You quote Rubin: “Bills should follow some basic criteria: 1. The principle purpose is reform, not penny pinching;”

    You should put “[sic]” after her word “principle”: What she meant was “principal” (as in “main” or “primary”).

  23. What Republicans can’t do is spend their time trying to chop chunks of government, obsess on the spending side, cut holes in the safety net, perpetuate cronyism or let paranoia gut anti-terror measures (e.g. drones, NSA).

    IOW, her advice to Republicans is to kick libertarians in the teeth, again. And this gets pitched on a libertarian website as sound advice.

    The one thing she says they can’t do (perpetuate cronyism) is the one thing that both (a) libertarians would support them not doing and (b) that they are 100% guaranteed to do.

    1. Rubin is a neocon idiot. Not worth responding to.

    2. perpetuate cronyism

      That’s a guarantee, no matter which party is in office. It’s the only reason that 99% of them are there.

    3. FU, cut spending.

  24. Here’s my prediction of what they will do:

    Double down on the we need moar warz cause ISIS is really scary bullshit. So more war mongering guarnteed.

    Talk a lot about shrinking the size of government, while at the same time increasing it, just a little bit less than the Democrats.

    Say that we can’t repeal Obamacare now, but we will work on fixing it, and then do nothing.

    Talk tough on illegal immigration and then make a secret deal with the Dems to give millions of green cards to illegals.

    That’s the gist of it. I’m sure they’ll do more bad things, but I bet they won’t even do one single thing that anyone here would approve of.

    Our best hope is that they torment Obama night and day until he resigns in shame. That’s a real longshot, but at least the torment part is a realistic possibility.

    1. Our best hope is that they torment Obama night and day until he resigns in shame. That’s a real longshot, but at least the torment part is a realistic possibility.

      More realistic possibility: “Wait, you just want unaccountable power and money? Us too! This brock guy ain’t so bad! Look, we’ve got trillions of dollars to split up here, that’s enough for both of us. And if not, hey, we can always just get more!”

    2. but I bet they won’t even do one single thing that anyone here would approve of.

      Humongous el correcto.

    3. Double down on the we need moar warz cause ISIS is really scary bullshit.

      Well, ISIS is really scary.

      make a secret deal with the Dems to give millions of green cards to illegals.

      But that would be a good thing.

    4. You can’t resign in shame if you don’t have any.

  25. The only way I can see the GOP taking over the Congress resulting in much change is in Keystone and appointments. They’re already knuckling under on Obamacare and even the Export-Import bank because they’re that stupid and craven. You can argue that Keystone and appointments will be worth it, but the problem is that the GOP is stupid. They still have Boehner in charge of the House. This is unacceptable. The only way they don’t lose focus and do stupid stuff is if the GOP gets 51 senate seats and ONLY 51 senate seats because then Rand Paul instantly becomes The Decider. The only other way for good things to happen is for Rand to oust McConnel or Amash/Massie/someone else who’s good to replace Boehner. Contrary to the very forced justifications and rationalizations of area Hit ‘n Runpublicans, there’s just not much to get excited over. Vote for the candidate, not the party.

  26. when you cut food stamps without targeting farm subsidies

    Food stamps are farm subsidies. They’re meant to increase demand, hence raise prices, for food.

    1. I thought they were meant to keep bread lines and soup kitchens from being public and therefore an embarrassment to the party in power.

  27. I predict a Republican controlled Senate and House would combine to cut federal spending from the current 3.8 trillion all the way down to 4.1 trillion.

    1. Based on the federal spending growth rate the last time they were in charge.

  28. “…what Republicans and conservatives really want to do is spend lots of money on stuff…”

    So, support the TEA Party members of the GOP Caucus who are opposed to willy-nilly spending.
    Be Pro-Active, not Re-Active.

  29. “…An engaged America needn’t be an American that spends itself to the poorhouse on the military…”

    It is not military spending that is sending us to the poorhouse. But, without a military to backkstop diplomacy and the economy, we would have all the international influence of Mexico.
    You may not be interested in foreign affairs, but foreign affairs are interested in you; and if you cannot defend yourself, or your interests, you will be someone’s bitch.

  30. They’ll have Reason’s Millennial cover boy and Pajama Boy tarred, feathered, and ridden out of the country on a rail?

    One can dream, can’t they?

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