Taking a chance the GOP will get it right

In my previous life, one of the more entertaining things was being the tout on Tony Kornheiser’s radio show. To the uninitiated, that simply means I picked football games against the points spread. Like all touts, I won some but also lost many — sadly sometimes more than I won. 

But into my third year, I developed a sure-fire way to pick winners: It was called the “Palm contrarian method.” I would go to lunch at The Palm on Thursday and ask the waiters who they were betting on that weekend. Then, on Friday, I would go on Tony’s show and pick just the opposite. 


This reminds me of the situation that rests before the United States Congress. The president is seeking approval for action in Syria from the Congress. But the modern Republican Party hasn’t gotten a single thing right this century. I mean, let’s face it — even the Palm waiters had a winner now and then. Because modern Republicanism and modern conservatism have gotten not a single thing right in a century that is almost 15 percent over, why do we have any reason to believe they will get this war vote right?

However you feel about President Obama’s decision to take the Syria vote to Congress, it’s clear that he is betting Republicans will, for whatever reason, come on board and get something right for the first time this century. 

I’m a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of guy. And the facts are that the Republican Party, on both foreign and domestic policy, has gotten it all wrong. This is not to say they didn’t get it all wrong in the last century too, but we have now incontrovertible proof of massive ineptitude, disregard for facts and plain stupidity. 

Seriously, leaving this in the hands of Republicans is dangerous.

First up, of course, is a doozie: Iraq. The American psyche has not recovered, and likely will not ever fully recover, from the profound and relentless incompetence of George W. Bush’s disastrous, multitrillion-dollar war. Consider these disastrous predictions: that the United States would be greeted as liberators, and that weapons of mass destruction were used.

Fifty years from now, my grandchildren’s history books will say Iraq shaped American foreign policy more than any other U.S. intervention, trumping Vietnam. It has traumatized Americans and our allies around the globe. 

Next on the #GOPfail list: Katrina. Former President Bush’s flyover will not be forgotten but add “Brownie’s” lack of leadership at FEMA and former Republican Speaker Denny Hastert’s assertion that New Orleans shouldn’t be rebuilt, and you have a nice trifecta of wrong. 

Have no fear, I’m just warming up. Let’s move to social issues:

• Terri Schiavo
• Creationism 
• Birtherism
• “Young earth science.” Yes, evolution occurred. And I’ve got news for you — the planet is not 5,000 years old.  
• Abstinence-based sex education and anti-contraceptionism

More troubling is the GOP’s blind rejection of science, data, evidence and logic regarding humanity’s environmental impact.

Republicans also wrecked the economy this century. Consider the record of their stances:

• Predictions of runaway inflation and collapsing currency.
• That the deficit will kill us all.
• That the government cannot save the auto industry.
• Privatization of Social Security.
• My personal favorite: Expansionary austerity.
• That raising the minimum wage hurts job growth.
• Highly leveraged self-regulated banks.
• Paying for tax cuts with two wars.
• That 47 percent of the American people like government handouts.

Perhaps their most egregious behavior is their willingness to make up facts. Hence, birtherism. Hence also, the made-up ‘scandals’ about the IRS and Benghazi. They’re wrong on all of that, too. 

Obama certainly has the best of intentions, but I for one would feel much better if we weren’t betting on Republicans finally getting something right. Here’s hoping they prove me wrong. 

Sportscaster Jack Brickhouse famously observed about the 20th-century Chicago Cubs that “any team can have a bad century,” but just remember this: They actually won a world series in 1908.

Think about it this way: the 21st-century Republican Party is off to a worse start than the 20th-century Chicago Cubs. But we are down to relying on clichés: A broken clock is right twice a day; even a blind squirrel can find an acorn; maybe the GOP will get this one right. 


Carville is a chief political correspondent for ARISE Television. He also serves as a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin. Carville’s column will appear twice a month in The Hill.