Friday, October 9, 2015

House GOP: Bullet points for your consideration

A few items to consider:

  • Because of the vast expansion of executive power under President Obama, which expansion you correctly deplore, the presidency is the entire ball game. Nothing else matters.
  • Because of the tough electoral college map, fed by the "Big Sort" of conservative voters in to a few states, the Republicans need to wage a nearly perfect campaign to win the White House.
  • In order for that to happen, we need for American voters to be comfortable that the GOP will govern "responsibly" -- meaning in a broadly center-right way rather than a broadly center-left way -- if it controls all branches of the federal government. Why? Because we need the squishy voters -- the small group of true swing voters, and the occasional Democratic voters who often don't give a shit and stay home -- to vote GOP and, well, stay home, respectively.
  • Right now, the House GOP is persuading the squishy voters, fed by a gleeful media, that the Republicans cannot govern responsibly.
  • For some reason, the House GOP's "Freedom Caucus" never got the memo that politics in a democratic republic are transactional. The old cant about politicians acting on their "principles" is just propaganda. If politicians actually were to do that, we would quickly become a dictatorship because only the "permanent government" would be able to make anything happen, and then without any effective oversight. The Freedom Caucus conservatives in Congress who purport to stick to their principles are in fact creating a power vacuum that is being filled by Barack Obama's administrative state.
  • Ironically, therefore, the Freedom Caucus is actually increasing the power of the executive branch by weakening the legislative branch.
  • None of this means that conservatives cannot get their way on important issues, but they cannot expect to win on everything. We know from the progressive fight for Prohibition (for example) that advocates of allegedly "extreme" positions can win their way in American politics if they focus on a single issue. The secret of the Anti-Saloon League and Wayne Wheeler was its single-minded focus. It would support any politician who supported Prohibition, even if other positions offended its members. If, as many say, reducing immigration is -- or ought to be -- the most important issue for conservatives, then the GOP needs to make that its top priority, and be willing to trade in order to get it. Sadly, the Freedom Caucus seems unwilling to compromise on any topic in order to win the long game on its top priority, probably because it has not reached internal agreement as to its top priority.
  • The House GOP needs to start supporting the image of the Republican Party among the squishies, and pronto.
  • Otherwise, start fitting out the Lincoln Bedroom for Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner, because they will be staying there a lot.


    "The Hammer" said...

    So, the conservatives are responsible for Obama's power grab? The conservatives didn't push back? Boehner's "take it or leave it" style of legislating with little or no input from members was just great, and it's the "freedom caucus" causing all the problems?
    Plus, we have to be squishy to attract the marginal 10% at the risk of alienating the 70% base conservatives?
    Is this what you learned in law school?

    TigerHawk said...

    If the conservative base wants to watch helplessly while the Democrats control the executive branch and, therefore, the judiciary for the rest of forever, it will continue to make unpopular demands. Again, I think the conservatives can get some of what they want, maybe even the "whole loaf" on some big issue, but only if they can live with part of loaf on much of the other stuff. If I were to pick a topic for the conservatives to go whole hog, it would be immigration, but that would require the same sort of single-minded focus that made other such big changes possible.

    "The Hammer" said...

    The thing is I get the feeling your default position is compromise and lowered expectations. This is war, we have to demand AND EXPECT everything. The Dems weren't talking inclusion and bipartisanship when they were cramming Obamacare down our throats.
    Get mad Goddamnit! Resolve to destroy your enemies and use their children's guts to grease the treads if your tanks. Nobody ever got shit accomplished by trying to get along. Have the courage to be a sonofabitch! If you insist on compromise then compromise your power to someone who has the fortitude to kick some ass.

    TigerHawk said...

    The Democrats were able to do all that stuff because they control the White House. The only way to have a chance at winning the war is to win the White House. Any energy that is not spent on that is not only wasted, it is counterproductive. Congress can do next to nothing now. The administrative state is too big and too powerful. It has gotten even more big and powerful because Congress is seen as paralyzed, which means that squishy voters are more willing to tolerate unilateral action by the president because they see no plausible alternative. So, in my view, the people choosing the next Speaker should do so in a way that increases, rather than decreases, the GOP's shot at the White House. Everything else is suicide.

    "The Hammer" said...

    They can oppose!

    Jaymie said...

    They actually were. The reason they went individual mandate a'la Bob Dole's plan was an attempt to garner some GOP votes (as opposed to single payer). You have to admit that a "make the bums buy insurance instead of paying for it with MY tax money" is a pretty conservative approach to the healthcare issue. That said, it worked spectacularly poorly. They got no support from the GOP members and ended up holding a 2/3 baked final bill that they no longer had the votes to change.

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