Friday, October 31, 2014

Win or Lose, Republicans Are Still a Wreck

By Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg
Oct 30, 2014 9:28 AM EDT

On the verge of victory in the midterm elections, the Republican Party looks no less shaky than it did on the verge of defeat in 2012. The base appears no less irate than at any other moment in the Obama era, and the party leadership's plans look no more coherent or calibrated to the times.

House Speaker John Boehner's policy speech last month at the American Enterprise Institute garnered little attention, perhaps because it was such a wee bitty thing, small and sad. (When your economic plan has five pillars and one is "tort reform," you are really asking more of the 1980s than a creaky bygone decade can deliver.) Even some conservative economists can't muster enthusiasm for the jumble of haphazard suggestions that constitute the party's "jobs" agenda.

Perhaps that's why my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru isn't ready to break out the champagne. I'm betting on a Republican victory, but I'm also betting that will be the high point of Republican control of Congress. They still haven't figured out whether a majority in both houses of Congress would require them to behave more responsibly, proving they can be competent, or more fanatically, showing they can better channel the base's rage. It's not clear that they will reach a conclusion soon.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told donors that if Republicans don't use the next Congress to "prove we could govern, there won’t be a Republican president in 2016.” Politico described McCarthy's agenda with this shorthand: "Legislative cliffs are over."

(More here.)


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