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Oct 16, 201302:42 PMVan Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

The GOP: What a swell party it was

(page 1 of 2)

It’s hard to sum up just how badly insurgent House Republicans and a few myopic senators have shot themselves, and the party as a whole, in the head with their hopeless quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Not in the foot — in the head. By trying to repeal President Obama’s signature legislation while in control of only one house of Congress, and linking it to the partial government shutdown and later the debt limit and the possibility of default, the Republican Party forced itself to play a game it was bound to lose.

And it lost big-time. This week’s agreement to end the latest budget soap opera was, predictably, a total capitulation by a political party that acted like a rabid dog chasing a car and then didn’t know what to do once its teeth were sunk into the bumper. I’ll spare you the legislative results, but let’s just say the Democrats rolled Congressional Republicans in batter and began the deep-frying process.

So instead of allowing all the focus to be on the Affordable Care Act and its bumpy implementation, these knuckleheads turned the spotlight on their own clown act. It was a fool’s errand for one basic reason: The nation produces enough tax revenue to pay the interest on its debt, meaning default wasn’t necessarily a given, but Social Security checks have to be mailed out, too. Most people would prefer the latter to be the higher priority, but this escaped the grasp of the great strategic thinkers who were driving this foolishness.

They were driving this against the better judgment of House Speaker John Boehner and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who were unable to talk them off the ledge. Perhaps the voices of reason will prevail from now on, but given the GOP’s plummeting fortunes in most public opinion polls, something tells me it doesn’t matter. Too much self-inflicted damage has been done.

But hey, at least Ted Cruz, who put himself in charge of this suicide mission from the U.S. Senate, has established his presidential bona fides. Senator Cruzin’ for a Bruisin’ is a very good kamikaze pilot, but as for counting votes and strategizing and thinking one step ahead, he’s to smart politics what Chris Christie is to tap-dancing. Being from Texas, Sen. Cruz obviously remembers the Alamo because he just starred in its reenactment.


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Oct 17, 2013 12:10 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I'm a bit confused about this talk of Ted Cruz running for president. He wasn't born in the United States, so I don't think that according to the Constitution he is eligible. Of course many Te Partiers think that parts of the Constitution are just advisory...

Oct 17, 2013 12:33 pm
 Posted by  Ben S.

This is an example of why I like Joe's writing - he's not a total partisan, and can often see things for what they are.

We know from the combination of district rigging (referred to by the ancient term "gerrymandering"), the influence of corporate money, and the public's response to this mess that Republicans can hardly claim to represent any sort of majority viewpoint in the country.

Democrats aren't much better, but at least they're not guided by complete lunatics.

Oct 17, 2013 01:50 pm
 Posted by  John

And Ben S. writes an example of why I (as an independent) disdain political discussions with partisan Democrats. He starts by blaming gerrymandering on Republicans (though it has been practiced by both parties and is a word actually coined for a Democrat's practices) as well as "corporate money" (Obama has raised more of it than any other candidate in history) and concludes that Republican viewpoints are somehow illegitimate. Then he throws in the gratuitous name-calling. Classy.

As to Joe's article, I actually agree that the frontal assault over Obamacare was a Republican tactical error, but certainly not the political Armageddon the MSM would have you believe. Obama's popularity fell to an all-time low of 37% during the shutdown, so I think there was plenty of public blame to share. (And if the MSM had bothered to let anyone know that 6 gov't funding bills passed in the Republican House only to be killed in the Democrat Senate, the blame might have been more equitably distributed.) I think talking about why there are Obamacare exemptions for unions, employers, and Congress but not for poor people was a discussion worth having (as was the wisdom of automatic debt increase). Too bad the media was so enamored with the spectacle a faked "SHUTDOWN!" that they couldn't be bothered to do any actual reporting on the issues at stake. Furthermore, since we'll be going the through the whole works again in a few short months, all of the actors will have a chance to redeem or further embarrass themselves before the next election cycle, minimizing the importance of this round. In the meantime, if Obamacare continues to self-destruct, the GOP will look like geniuses for requesting a delay.

Oct 18, 2013 06:19 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

And yet... only one of Wisconsin's GOP reps voted in favor of the bill to reopen the government! With what I see on social media and talking to people who support the GOP (I'm a bleeding heart liberal) - the problem is "everybody's congressman but mine." Sadly, I don't think this will hurt the GOP's reelection hopes in 2014 at all - even though logic says most of these guys should be dope-slapped to the curb.

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