GOP Wonders if it Can Get Anything Done; the Answer: Of Course not
There’s an old African-American saying: only the truth hurts. When Republicans read what Tom Rooney, a fellow Republican in Florida says about the party it hurts a lot:
“As the prospect of a loss became more real on Friday, the frustrations of GOP lawmakers loyal to the leadership began to boil over. “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,” Representative Tom Rooney of Florida said in an interview. “We need to start having victories as a party. And if we can’t, then it’s hard to justify why we should be back here.”
After the spectacular failure-they failed to kill Obamacare with a 44 seat House majority, some Republicans are doing some soul searching.
“GOP wonders: Can it get anything done?”
“Republicans appear skeptical about their ability to move on to other pieces of their agenda after failing to keep the party together on their longtime promise to repeal Obamacare.”
“House Republicans voted 60 times to repeal Obamacare when Barack Obama was president. They have voted zero times on it since Donald Trump took the White House — and now they say they’re moving on.”
“Moving on to what, no one seems to know.”
“Republicans headed home on Friday skeptical at best about the prospects for other complicated bills that don’t come with the benefit of the rage of their base to power them through, like tax reform and infrastructure.”
“I don’t know that we could pass a Mother’s Day resolution right now,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, a freshman Republican from Florida who says he’s still committed to revamping Obamacare. He spoke of the failure in apocalyptic terms, saying Republicans may have given away the 2018 midterm elections, ensured that Trump will get impeached by Democrats once they’re in power and potentially exiled themselves to years in the minority.”
“Theoretically, Republicans say, Democrats should be more willing to work with them on tax reform and infrastructure, and that will make the vote math easier.”
It’s funny. Suddenly Trump and the GOP have remembered the Democrats. Now they hope for the Democrats to bail their incompetent asses out. Here’s the rub: you want Democratic buy in you have to give Democrats something they want-that you as GOPers won’t want.
This is how we got here. The GOP invented the Hastert Rule and then the even more austere Boehner rule which states nothing that doesn’t have the majority support of the majority party gets to the floor.
But I think the trouble for the GOP is more fundamental. David Frum:
“Some of the conservatives who voted “no” to the House leadership’s version of repeal may yet imagine that they will have some other opportunity to void the law. They are again deluding themselves. If the Republican Party tripped over its own feet walking across this empty ballroom, it will face only more fearsome difficulties in the months ahead, as mid-term elections draw closer. Too many people benefit from the law—and the Republican alternatives thus far offer too little to compensate for the loss of those benefits.”
“In that third week in March in 2010, America committed itself for the first time to the principle of universal (or near universal) health-care coverage. That principle has had seven years to work its way into American life and into the public sense of right and wrong. It’s not yet unanimously accepted. But it’s accepted by enough voters—and especially by enough Republican voters—to render impossible the seven-year Republican vision of removing that coverage from those who have gained it under the Affordable Care Act. Paul Ryan still upholds the right of Americans to “choose” to go uninsured if they cannot afford to pay the cost of their insurance on their own. His country no longer agrees.”
The opposition of a Paul Ryan-or Trump’s HHS guy, Tom Price-was never about facts but about ideology. It just offends them that the government should have a part to play in helping people with their health insurance.
Despite what Trump said, the GOP position is for people who don’t have health insurance to die in the streets.
But it’s not just about healthcare. I’ve argued in the past that the GOP is not a governing party. They’re an opposition party. Now we’re hearing that they will pass tax reform. Good luck.
If tax reform were such an easy lift 1986 wouldn’t be the last time it was done. And remember, Reagan may have signed it and wanted it but he passed it in concert with Dem House Speaker Tip O’Neil.
The GOP doesn’t have a great history of legislating. The Democrats-now that’s the governing party. This goes back to-yep, 1932.
Modern government itself is New Deal government and in principle the GOP as a party has never accepted the New Deal. This is why you have all these people like Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, and Betsy DeVos head departments they don’t even conceptually believe should exist-Rick Perry didn’t even know the name of the Department of Energy in 2012.
The spirit of the modern-post New Deal party-is as an opposition party. Governing means making the machinery of the New Deal work better and they want it to work worse or best of all stop working altogether.
Richard Nixon is the Spirit of the modern GOP. He always preferred to be in opposition, to run in opposition. He always felt he was at a disadvantage in 1960 as he had to represent and defend the Ike Administration he’d been part of.
Ike had been a very popular President and the record was pretty solid but Nixon still felt even defending a good record puts you at a disadvantage.
Anyway, the GOP is right to worry-they can’t work together and never will. Like Tom Rooney says, the GOP is never for anything, always just in opposition to something else happening.
I think in many ways-and I argued this right after the
coup election-the party might have been better off if Comey hadn’t written that letter and Trump had lost. Paul Ryan I’m all but sure of. His reputation is now destroyed because we know he’s a paper tiger.
Being the dog who caught the car was the worst thing for him. I still think had Trump lost, he may have been more cooperative with Hillary and they may have done some decent bipartisan deals together-enabling him to be a viable candidate in 2020 at least for the Establishment. There’s be a Trump wing and maybe Ted Cruz wing also agitating and the party might have been fractured but Ryan would have had better standing.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.