GOP on verge of self-destruction

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Crabtownboy, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    In a democracy, governance is based on compromise. Since the political class represents an agglomeration of interests, all of which have equal claims to legitimacy, outcomes reflect bargains struck by lawfully elected representatives of those interests. Each party gives something to get something. Failure to accept that basic premise is an invitation for paralysis, gridlock or worse.

    That is exactly what is unfolding in Washington as the Republican Party struggles to select a successor to John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, the third person in line to replace the president of the United States if he is incapacitated and traditionally one of the most powerful individuals in the U.S. Boehner stunned his colleagues last month by announcing his intention to resign his post and the party has been unable to find a successor. While some partisans are pleased to see the GOP in disarray, the situation has profound consequences for U.S. politics and by extension the ability of the U.S. to act in the world.

    The Republican Party has been energized and antagonized ever since Barack Obama became president in 2008. Committed to challenging Obama on every front, the GOP has increasingly become a rejectionist party, refusing to recognize that its power is limited with a Democrat in the White House and the absence of a supermajority in both Houses of Congress that would let it override a presidential veto. GOP tidal waves in midterm elections compounded anger among the Republican base and the defeat of candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election confirmed the belief among many party stalwarts that moderation was no virtue. Indeed, among many of the faithful, the lesson learned was that the GOP has suffered for a readiness to compromise and only a principled refusal to bend would bring about the realization of Republican goals.

    The result has been an increasingly unruly GOP caucus, with a minority of the Republican majority within the House of Representatives — roughly 40 members of the 247 — demanding action on behalf of their beliefs even if it threatens to have powerful negative consequences. Some, such as repetitive votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (derisively called Obamacare), are pure theater since they will never get past the president. More significant, however, are demands to shut down the government over programs such as Planned Parenthood or refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

    In theory, this “hell no” caucus is a small group within the GOP. In practice, however, it has outsize influence because of “the Hastert Rule,” an informal procedure within the Republican Party that demands it only pass bills that command a majority of the majority. That means that the GOP leadership can only advance legislation that most of its members agree upon and even though the hard-core rejectionists are a small group, there are frequently disagreements among moderates sufficient to prevent a majority from backing a specific measure. The Hastert Rule means that the GOP leadership cannot rely on Democratic Party votes to advance legislation. The result is repeated failures to pass legislation and fulfill congressional responsibilities, such as passing a budget.

    For the GOP leadership, corralling an unruly membership is vital because it demonstrates to the nation that the party can govern and thus can be entrusted with not only a majority in the Congress but the big prize, the White House. Yet, the disarray that has been on display since Boehner announced his intention to step down has only emphasized the confusion, chaos and incompetence of the GOP.

    Boehner was resigning because he was exhausted by continual battles with his party. Although he was re-elected speaker at the beginning of this congressional session, an unprecedented number of GOP representatives did not back him, the most in 100 years. That embarrassment was emblematic of his tenure. Then, Kevin McCarthy, the House whip, No. 2 in the party hierarchy, announced his intention to succeed Boehner. When it appeared that he would face the same — if not more intensified — opposition, he dropped out of the race last week, leaving no apparent successor. Now, the favorite is Paul Ryan, the powerful chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, who has said he does not want the job. The question is whether he will be convinced to take the post for the good of the party. If he does not, then Boehner may be forced to stay on, a lame duck and even more powerless than before.

    There were hopes that Boehner’s resignation would free him from the GOP absolutists, allowing him to strike deals with Democrats to conclude a budget and raise the debt ceiling without fearing the fury and fallout from the hard core. If he has to stay on, the freedom of maneuver will diminish.

    A paralyzed GOP means a paralyzed Congress.


    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/10/14/editorials/gop-verge-self-destruction/#.Vh5bGH6rSM8
     
  2. poncho

    poncho
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    In a democracy the mob rules.

    "democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner"

    That's why the USA was founded as a republic.

    If you'll compromise your principles you never really had any worth having.

    Gridlock is good because it gives "we the people" a little more time to enjoy what's left of our freedom while the government decides on the best course of action to take them away.
     
    #2 poncho, Oct 14, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  3. InTheLight

    InTheLight
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    Same old song, eh, Crabby?

    Am once again watching the British comedy "Yes, Minister" and there is a line in one of the episodes that goes something like this:

    Cabinet Minister Hackett: "So you're saying that the function of the civil service is to make sure politician's proposals don't go forward?"

    Secretary Woolley: "Well, someone has to do it."
     
  4. poncho

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    Imagine how much better off we'd all be right now if half the politician's proposals never went forward.
     
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