Keeping with Shakespearean metaphors, I come not to bury Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) but to praise him. Boehner is doing what a good Speaker should be doing: trying to save his party from disaster. Unfortunately for Boehner and his party, too many of his House Republicans appear determined to relive Pickett's charge, and to the degree they do, they will end up the same way Pickett ended up at Gettysburg.
National Party News
In my latest column, “Les GOP Misérables,” I wrote that the GOP obsession with pursuing losing issues (e.g., cutting Medicare and Social Security) has led to recent defeats and will lead to more. The right might love it when Republicans say Obama "does not need the left,” but on Social Security and Medicare the Democrats and the left win big. Republicans and the right lose big. This is the ace in the hole for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the fiscal-cliff negotiations:
The chessboard is now being arranged in a way in which House Republicans will vote to cut Medicare and Social Security while their Democratic challengers in the next election will not.
In my recent column, Hillary: The next FDR,
I suggested that Democrats are on the brink of winning a historic
political realignment. This week a long list of Republicans appear
determined to prove me right.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) filibustered against his own debt-ceiling proposal after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called his bluff. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the most respected Republican on military issues, blasted freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) when Paul abused the rules to obstruct a major defense bill. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who probably realizes Republicans are consigned to long-term minority status in the Senate and is leaving, criticized Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) because Boehner suggests increasing revenue. And most Senate Republicans opposed a convention about disabilities supported by recent Republican presidents even while former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), an American hero, visited the Senate floor to show his support.
The Republicans: Really, what is wrong with these guys?
Their answer to a circular firing squad, post-election, is to call in reinforcements! And they continue to fire, one round after another.
Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe blow up FreedomWorks and Armey walks with $8 million. Nice work if you can get it.
Sometimes a man, a mission and a moment come together. The issue is the deficit. The moment is now. The man is Grover Norquist. The mission is avoiding America falling over the fiscal cliff and possibly taking down the world economy. A failure would be a disaster for Americans and yet another disaster for the Republican Party, which will be blamed for the crash that a failure to agree would cause. Republicans are terrified by the prospect of far-right primaries against them. Grover Norquist, who threatens such primaries, has become the Matt Drudge of tax policy, a man of enormous and powerful influence over Republicans and therefore the national debate.
The Obamas’ theatrical giving of the Leftover-from-the-’60s awards at the Kennedy Center — Led Zeppelin, which today provides the nerve-racking background noise in grocery stores, and Dustin Hoffman who hasn't had a real job since 1967 — fully manifests the crisis in Washington, D.C. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) asked recently about something else with some honest frustration, saying, "We need new people." You'd think President Obama would do better as he is second-generation himself and doesn’t belong to this crowd and in his campaign autobiography clearly crowned the Leftover-from-the-’60s Democrats as his target to displace so as to awaken again a new and vital liberalism. So how's that working out?
In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform, the McCain-Kennedy bill. Even though he had the Democrats’ full support, it was his own party that stopped him. Ever since then they have been losing Latino voters in droves. Their stance on illegal immigration is politically inept, unrealistic and most of all neither conservative nor humane.
There is now only one way for the Republicans to go if they wish to be relevant.
They need to carefully build a coalition between themselves, independents, blacks and single and suburban women, and make inroads regarding the Latinos. This can happen by the Republican leadership abandoning trying to legislate religion and instead creating an immigration policy that makes sense.
Personally, I am against abortion, and gays continue to contribute significantly to our nation. But abortion is a religious issue. We should educate against it, but the government has no right to dictate how people view this very personal subject.
If we learned one thing after last Tuesday’s election, it’s that the Republican Party isn’t reaching female voters with its message.
That’s why I’m paying close attention to another important vote taking place this week. It won’t get the viewership of the presidential race, but Republican lawmakers in the House are voting on the chairmanship for the House Republican Conference. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) — currently the HRC vice chairwoman — is running against Rep. Tom Price (Ga.).
McMorris Rodgers released this video today explaining her positions on the bailouts, energy policy, and the hideous War on Women.
There is simply no way to sell conservatism to people anymore; people have other values now. Obama has fulfilled left-wing dreams that go back decades, bringing universal health insurance to a once-limited government, outlawing Catholics from owning businesses and getting rewarded with four more years for doing so. I can only tremble to wonder what Valerie Jarrett meant when she said that Obama’s second term will be about punishing their enemies, if this is what they have already done.