For John, BLUF: Republicans doctrinally adrift. Nothing to see here; just move along.
In Saturday's edition of The Boston Globe is an OpEd by Speech Boy, Political Analyst Michael A. Cohen.♠ The Headline is "Winning both houses — a poisoned chalice for GOP". The basic argument is that the Republicans have three large problems that make them dysfunctional and it will all show up over the next two years, ushering in a Democrat sweep in 2016. Here is the start of the OpEd:
But hold off on popping those champagne corks — winning the Senate and controlling both houses of Capitol Hill is a poisoned chalice for the GOP, one that will expose the party’s wide divisions and increasingly extremist views.I love it when Democrats, who promised to "remake America" call the Republicans radical or extreme.
The problem for Republicans is threefold.
First, they have no agenda. The old mantra of tax cuts, spending cuts, and deficit reduction has largely been replaced by incessant attacks against the president’s leadership. Trying to identify a Republican legislative agenda for the next two years is like trying to find a moderate Republican politician.
That said, Mr Cohen has three points for us to consider:
- They have no agenda.
- They no longer know how to or have much interest in governing the country.
- The GOP’s ever-escalating radicalism
As for the second point, people tend to move to fill power vacuums. However, the Republicans won't be in charge. There will still be President Obama and Senator Harry Reid will still have a sufficient Caucus that he can thwart Republican actions—unless, of course, Republicans follow Senator Reid's lead and shrink the role of the filibusterhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster. Once you start to unravel these kinds of things there is no telling where it will go.
But, the first point is excellent. As Republicans we need a clear message. We don't have it. I would like to suggest.
- The unleashing of freedom is the normal path out of poverty. We, as Republicans, as heirs of the real liberal agenda, need to make that clear to one and all. Remember, Maggie Thatcher was a Liberal
- It is time for Republicans to realize that for big business, Democrats are the friends of big business. The multiplication of rules and regulations benefit big business vs small business—big business has the resources to deal with regulatory agencies.
- The flip side of the big business issue is small business. Small businesses are the heartbeat of the nation. However, any law, rule or regulation which must be researched and accommodated is an additional burden on a small business.
- That said, Republicans should be for corporate taxes that do not encourage businesses to move overseas. This is just common sense. If we get no taxes from businesses that move their headquarters overseas, any taxes we get from businesses who opt to stay here is an increase in revenue.
- Movement of people and goods is important to our economic growth. Infrastructure is where the Federal Government can help out and should help out. At this point our bottlenecks include our rivers and our pipelines and we need to fix them.
- Education is important to moving forward and the Federal Government should help by working to reduce the Administrative Costs which are choking our students in the pocket book and sometimes in terms of their freedoms. Recent increases in people employed in higher education has been about administrators.
- We are seeing adverse social trends in these United States in terms of employment. Fewer and fewer adults are in the labor force, in absolute numbers and proportionally. Further, male employment as a percent of males has been trending down for some time. While not detracting from important gains in female employment, the Government should be encouraging me to get up and get back in the labor force.
- As we all like to say, this is a country of immigrants. That said, this is a country, a nation, and those who are here should be part of that nation and working to be full citizens. We need to work to ensure all here are on a path to citizenship. They need to renounce their old allegiances and adopt new ones, to the United States. In doing this we must avoid turning this into some Darwinian "survival of the fittest" contest where those who obey the law turn out to be the losers.
- We need secure borders. Turning North America into one large borderless area would not be a desirable outcome, for the United States, for Mexico or for Canada. Borders are demarcations of laws and cultures. They help those within them grow and prosper. We need secure borders.
- All living creatures use the environment. Some more and some less. Humans use the environment a lot. We need to be respectful, but not timid.
- The climate is always changing, albeit slowly. Science is only beginning to understand climate change. The role of the Federal Government needs to be split between encouraging scientific exploration and considering long range actions in the even of significant climate change. The Federal Government should not be involved in "crack the whip" reactions to the latest "scientific" fad.
- The Federal Government should work on strengthening that concept. Federalism results in a lack of uniformity across the land and sometimes that is bad, as when Democrats in the Old South took their states out of the Union to preserve slavery.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Fellow, Century Foundation; Political Columnist, London Observer; Author, Live from the Campaign Trail; Suffering Lions Fan. His Twitter Feed on the 18 Inning Game is funny.
♥ Last week I had a Democrat friend melt down on me over this issue. This person said that Republicans were racists, who have opposed President Obama from the get-go, never giving him a chance. The fact that he was promising to radically change America didn't seem to enter into this person's calculation. That said, it was highly insulting that this person accused me of being a racist. And, with a Black college student in the room. If President Obama was a Caucasian, would I still be a racist if I thought he wanted to take us too far? Frankly, if Republicans are reduced to being racists and misogynists there is no basis for discussion and compromise with Democrats.