Posts Tagged ‘republicans’

Well that was fast. A week ago, Romney appointed openly gay national security spokesman Rick Grenell who had all the right conservative bona fides. It “signal[ed] a new attitude” towards gays in the Republican party. At least until it didn’t:

I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.

As with other minorities, Republican outreach continues to be stifled by the bigotry that the party has stoked and exploited for years. A perfect attack dog, earnest in his hatred of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Grenell should have been the right man for the job, but it was too much to ask for the Republican activist base.

Why can’t Marco Rubio get traction on his watered-down DREAM Act? Why did Colin Powell endorse Obama instead of his friend John McCain? Why do Latinos continue to leave the party in droves?

The Republican party has encouraged and condoned bigotry in order to create its current electoral coalition. Eventually, it will pay the price in human capital and long-term electoral success.

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So, it looks like the Republican Party will get the nominee they all hate: Mitt Romney. For all that “the base” found him repulsive, his enemies could never coalesce around a single candidate capable of beating him. Now, it’s too late. The media may still describe the Republican primary as a race (much as they did with the Obama/Clinton race after Texas and Ohio), but barring scandal, Romney is now the Republican nominee.

Why didn’t the “anyone but Romney” forces gang up? After all, they really really hate the guy.

What we had was a classic collective action problem. Here’s John Nash via Russell Crowe:

Getting the Republican nomination for President, then, is the “blonde.” The Republican nominee not being Mitt Romney is the “friends.”

The refusal of any of the other nominees to leave the race and/or put support behind other candidates (as Michele Bachmann could have done for Rick Perry, had she done it earlier) made it impossible for the “anyone but Romney” forces to align, even though their policy preferences were largely more in line with each other’s than with Romeny’s. Why didn’t they? Because they each thought that with the field so fractured, they actually had a chance to win. Their overconfidence led to Romney’s eventual dominance.

As a result, no one (except Romney) gets what they want.

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Yeah, it’s been a while. Here’s the latest from Linus and me, as we discuss the current ups and downs of the Republican primary.

We discuss:

  • Newt-mentum and its sustainability
  • The anti-Mitt Republican bubble
  • Mitt Romney’s problems — health care or Mormonism?
  • A dark horse entering the race late in the game?
  • A chance for The Honorable Dr. Ronald Paul, M.D.?
  • What are Obama’s odds?

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Despite my schadenfreude at the hilarious Perry implosion at the “debate” last night, I want to point out that Perry is being lambasted for forgetting which three agencies he wanted to destroy, but he should have been disqualified for wanting to simply eliminate three federal agencies at all!

Instead, the whole Republican field is so far to the right that Perry’s position to eliminate federal agencies was downright moderate.

Rather than knocking Perry (or Cain) out for his awful policies and crazy ideas, it looks like the Republicans will probably just oust him for being a boob.

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People who advocate for a third party typically say that the two parties are too extreme. Matt Miller’s piece in WaPo today is no different. Matt Yglesias has taken on Miller’s assertion about Democrats defending teachers’ unions (which is obviously false considering Race to the Top and other Obama administration objectives), so I guess I’ll mention the health care bit:

Or take health care. Republicans say the answer is to repeal President Obama’s reforms — but they won’t offer plans to insure more than 3 million of the 50 million Americans who lack coverage. Yet Democrats want to micromanage providers, protect the trial lawyers who bankroll their campaigns, and fully insulate people from the costs of their own care, assuring that there’s no consumer brake on runaway costs. Again, Democrats and Republicans can’t solve the problem.

Let’s take the points one by one.

“Democrats want to micromanage providers” — Not clear exactly how this is intractable, since Republicans want this too (see all abortion cases ever). It seems to me that government’s very use of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement is already a micromanagement of providers.

“protect trial lawyers” — If only there were some prominent Democrat who could stand up and say he was willing to deal on tort reform in like a big, public address. Oh yeah, like this guy:

“I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs” besides repealing his healthcare overhaul, Obama said in his State of the Union address, including “medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.”


“fully insulate people from the cost of their own care” — Yeah, if only there were some sort of, oh I don’t know, like an individual mandate that made sure that all people paid into the system, like some sort of big insurance pool. And furthermore, what if we put in some cost controls, particularly on end of life care in Medicare, that ensured that only the most effective treatments were used?

The point is that these third party enthusiasts already got their wish without realizing it — a centrist President who is willing to deal on almost any issue and serve up sacred cows in search of a compromise. The only thing is that guy turned out to be Barack Obama and he already has a party. And it turns out that being willing to compromise on almost anything still doesn’t buy you any favors. (See the court cases against the individual mandate and the “death panels” hullabaloo.)

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Dahlia Lithwick — official Unpersons hero — has a new piece up today about Republicans’ lack of faith in government… except in the case of the death penalty. While all other functions of government in Republicans’ eyes are bureaucratic nightmares of erroneous decision-making and inefficient backlogs, the death penalty and the criminal justice system are never wrong:

These same Republicans who are dubious of government’s ability to do anything right have an apparently bottomless faith in the capital-justice system. Everything is broken in America, they claim—except the machinery of death.

I would point out, though, that this is not restricted to the death penalty.

The Republican party line wants the government to butt out of doctors’ decisions… except when it comes to abortion, death-with-dignity, or medical marijuana.

The Republican party can reject the government’s fact-finding… except when the military says it has evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The Republican party dislikes government intrusion in private life, unless it concerns listening in on phone calls, censoring the internet, or policing private, consensual sex between adults.

My point is that the Republican hypocrisy about “big government” is nothing new, nor is it limited to criminal law and capital punishment.

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As if we needed more evidence that our legislative system is broken and Senate Republicans have no interest in governing, here comes another headline of GOP obstructionism — blocking the ratification of free-trade agreements that will certainly pass with a supermajority.

When I read this article, I thought, “I feel like I remember something about the GOP wanting to pass these free-trade agreements a while ago.” And I was right, but it’s actually funnier/sadder than that.

You see, Republicans in March blocked the Commerce Secretary’s nomination en masse, until the Democrats moved on free trade agreements. So, the Republicans whined and protested to demand free trade agreement debate, then essentially blocked the debate when Democrats provided it.

Just so we’re clear:

  1. Block Commerce Secretary’s nomination. Demand action on free trade agreements.
  2. Block free trade agreements. Demand action on destruction of program that helps retrain American workers.
  3. ???

See, I like where this goes, because I bet if it goes on long enough, we can get Republicans to block something like the “Cuddle with Puppies Act.”

Republicans are often described as overly “ideological,” but I think this distorts the picture. Ideology implies some sort of action-oriented series of ideas or beliefs; the behavior of Senate Republicans is more akin to a child’s tantrum. A bratty child will raise a fuss, demanding some object, and then when the frazzled parent provides said object, the child tosses it away to demand a new object.

The Republicans aren’t the party of “No.” They’re the party of “I don’t wanna!”

You keep complaining about jobs? Here’s that whole jobs bill you wanted. “I don’t wanna!”


As always, it would all be funnier, if it weren’t simultaneously hurting the American recovery.

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