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by
Rick Moran

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June 11, 2014 - 3:09 pm
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Let’s face it. It’s tough being in the minority. Any ideas they have for improving the lives of Americans, or improving the performance of government, or improving the economy are ignored by the majority. “I won,” President Obama told Republicans a few days after he took office as they sought to have some input into the developing stimulus package.

And that’s the way it’s been since then. During the debate over Obamacare, the president and Democrats continuously told the lie that his plan had to be passed because the Republicans had no ideas of their own. Not only were there a dozen substitute health insurance reform bills offered by various Republicans, there was the only real attempt at bipartisan reform in the Wyden-Bennett Act. From there, GOP complaints about elements in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill were brushed aside as were Republican ideas on taxes, the budget, and the deficit.

In short, any attempt at implementing Republican ideas has been thoroughly and completely scuttled by the Democrats. They might have argued that these are bad ideas, or that we disagree with these ideas, but that wasn’t the way it went. Instead, Democrats substituted childish name-calling and bomb-throwing, accusing Republicans of being “terrorists, or “extremists,” or just plain evil. Rarely, if ever, was there a debate on the merits of GOP proposals. In fact, Democrats refused to debate anything at all.

Given these circumstances, is it a surprise that Republicans find themselves opposing just about everything President Obama and the Democrats put forward? You can hardly expect Republicans to abandon their principles and vote for noxious legislation like Obamacare, financial regulatory reform, and immigration reform. The guts of all those bills are antithetical to conservatives, and the GOP could no more support those bills than liberals could have supported a totally free market approach to health insurance reform.

But lost in the genuine and principled — for the most part — opposition to President Obama’s policies is the notion that by proving to the voter what they are against, what they are for gets lost in the shuffle.

Tied up in the policy of the matter are the political calculations that go into winning an election. Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post summarizes the GOP’s dilemma:

A quiet argument is boiling within the party over whether it should offer voters an agenda that shows what Republicans would accomplish if they are returned to power or whether it should simply ride an anti-Democratic tide into the November election.

Some, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), worry that proposing a set of detailed policy alternatives is taking an unnecessary risk when so much else is going the right way for Republicans. Putting forward an agenda can inflame differences within the party and give opponents targets to shoot.

That in part was what sank Cantor, who was faulted by the tea party as too accommodating.

The Virginia Republican drew especially intense fire for advocating a GOP version of the Dream Act, which would enable some illegal immigrants who entered the country as children to qualify for in-state college tuition rates.

Standing in opposition may be a good electoral strategy at a moment when the president and his party are politically weak, and when most of the key battles on the political map are being fought in conservative territory.

There also is the reality that President Obama will remain in the White House for the next two years, using his veto power to make sure that Republicans cannot keep whatever promises they make.

But a no-on-everything stance provides little to begin laying a premise for the presidential election of 2016.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Republicans should be for restoring the Republic by reducing the power
of the federal government; It is going to happen anyway, the only choice
is between a phased reduction and a crash, and sudden changes break things.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't even feel so bad if we had a Ronald Reagan copy. Even if they plagiarized all of his speeches so long as they meant every word.

Republicans I can vote for are pro-gun ownership, the reinstatement of mental facilities, smaller government (no, not no government), capitalism, a large, well-funded and incontestable military, an active space program that actually does things and goes places, letting states run their own affairs, border security, the list goes on.

It's not that hard and no, it doesn't send us into any false "dark place" that the lie-berals fear---it's a fair place for everyone not just the special interest groups.

Yeah, I'd like to go back to a time when we had made great progress before the Clin-toons showed up and started undoing it all and making us try to believe that utopia is just another tax increase away.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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I could tell the Republicans wanted to work with the Democrats as they tried to repeal ACA 50 times and have been the least productive congress in history.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Depends on your definition of "productive". It appears you measure it by the amount of legislation passed.

I bet Hitler was really productive, too.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Least productive Congress".

You say that like it's a BAD thing.

The only thing Congress should be producing is REPEALS, by the trainload.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice headline! Lousy analysis of what the Republican problem continues to be. There is NO way to fight against Santa!!! Until fairness is really implemented in the republic founded on the rule of law, there will never be a resolution,

Why do I get 1099-MISC when a recipient of income(redistributed) doesn't get a 1099-GOV? Where's the fair there?

Why are Republicans voting to fund the NSA's taking of all my personal information but government bank statements are online today?

I have to apply to collect some of my social security because of illness but immigrants get it free. Again, where's the fair there?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Focus on winning the Senate this year ... then a whole bunch of House GOP bills that have already passed one chamber can be resurrected and voted on by both Chambers starting this January. That will give us a great deal to talk about and will indeed represent an agenda of being "for something".

Obama of course will veto many of the bills that come out of a Republican Congress. Not all of them, of course, but many of them. That in turn will supply political talking points for the Republican nominee - whoever it may be - in the 2016 general election. The nominee will also have his or her own program of policy to lay out as part of the campaign.

We don't need to worry too much about this topic, actually.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Name some bills not related to the ACA that the senate will not take up?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The House has sent many dozens of bills to the Senate where they languish. Bills dealing with reducing regulation (such as a bill to restrict EPA's ability to kill coal power), eliminating job killing taxes, VA reforms, etc. Just do a bing google search on "list of house bills on reid's desk" - I got 16 million hits.

Even House Democrats are getting frustrated at Reid's non action, with an article on http://thehill.com/homenews/house/83059-senate-sitting-on-290-house-bills in which Dems claim 290 House bills are sitting on Reid's desk.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I want the name of the Bill you are talking about. I want a citation to a Bill passed by the House you think needs to be passed by the Senate not related to the ACA. My point is that despite your statements the Republicans do not have an agenda, and that you have this vague concept that the Democrats are impeding progress, but you do not have any particular Bill in mind.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just do the bing or google search - I won't bore you or waste my time by writing a list when there's 16 million search hits on that very topic.

If you're looking for someone to act as Clerk of the House with all the appropriate citations and legistlative histories, have at it, sport.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the bigger problem is the article's premise is correct: Republicans are kneejerk, anti-Obama. Now there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, as the Obama cartel is a complete disaster. But looking at recent history, it's reasonable to believe Republicans just want their turn to feed at the trough their way. That doesn't sound like an agenda I want to support.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Hill post I provided is rather dated. But the phenomenon still goes on. Reid consistently refuses to consider bills that might put either Obama or any of his Senate caucus members in a tough position where they have to take a potentially unpopular stand. The House has repeatedly addressed tough issues.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not just dated, but from when the Democrats controlled the House.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Which means, Brian N - the problem is not that it's not true that the GOP House sends bills to the Senate only to die of neglect ... even the House Dems complained about the very same thing back when they were in control. So it's not even strictly a partisan issue as an issue of completely corrupted and stymied Senate procedures as carried out by Dingy Harry Reid, ever since he took over as Senate Majority Leader.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, it would certainly help the Republican Party immeasurably if a strong leader emerged who could unify the party & forge a positive message with a few key points centered around growing the ecomomy & focusing on business-friendly policies. They'd be well advised to emphasize which things should fall under the gov't & which things are better left to the private sector. They need to soften their focus on the social issues.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
We had such a leader and candidate in 2012, but alas, he was not as effective at politics and campaigning as was his opponent.

For all the fears of the so-called "invincible" HRC, she has proven herself repeatedly, and now recently, to have a political tin ear and few skills as a campaigner. So if we can produce a candidate with the requisite Republican ideology and with decent political/campaigning skills, we have a better than even shot at winning in 2016.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Romney a leader? You're kidding, right? First off, a true leader would have never left all those lies told about him to just fester out there & become de facto "truths" in the minds of so many voters. He lacked a good sense of humor too that he could have utilized to defuse some of the derision thrown his way, such as the bit about the dog-on-the-roof thing.

A true leader has to have a strong set of principles to which they must stick no matter what. Romney has a well-established pattern of being wishy-washy & a flip-flopper. Bottom line, Romney just isn't a leader.

Further, I suspect that Romney really did not want the job. I am inclined to think that there was a covert resolve to allow Obama to have his second term so that they could have all sowed up that Our First Black President would get His Due, if you know what I mean. Absolution of White Guilt is a Big Deal to a lot of politicians & others.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I disagree - Romney staked out positions on numerous topics, such as Obama's foreign policy errors (in Libya, Syria, Mali, Iran, Russia as America's greatest geopolitical foe, etc.), energy (opposing Obama's war on coal and push for crony capitalist renewable energy boondoggles), taxes, ObamaCare, Benghazi, etc. He defended his positions and took tremendous flack from Obama and his cronies in the MSM - which is what leaders do when they are trying to lead - but he was laughed at and ridiculed, "The Soviets called, and they want their Cold War Back".

Yet on every single one of those issues, Mitt Romney was right and Obama and his media sycophants were dead wrong.

Mitt Romney's problem was that his campaign was focused far too much on protecting entrepreneurs ("We Built That!") which fed the Obama-media meme that Romney didn't care about ordinary worker bees. The 47% remarks killed Romney, and he failed to nail Obama during his second debate as he should have. None of those failings are matters of leadership - they are matters of political skill, which Romney lacked.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Romney staked out positions on numerous topics"

Yes, and changed them whenever it suited the [perceived] political winds.

And then he didn't articulate them well, and didn't fight for them at all.


Being a leader is a lot more than just "staking out" positions.


Even if Romney actually had been sincere about any of his positions (a doubtful proposition), he didn't have what it takes to make them happen.


23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think it's so much political skill but a lack of resolve. He was exemplary in extinguishing the candidacies of his Republican opponents during the primary season. If only he had handled Obama in the same manner; but he did not do that. Why? Again, for whatever reason, he just didn't want to try that hard. It's noteworthy that his son said soon after the election that his father didn't really want the job. Again, I suspect that someone or some group persuaded Romney to bow out, so to speak.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 2012 we had a candidate for president who had business skills and would -- I think -- have been a very good president. He had, however, a nerdy approach to policy and never articulated a program that anyone could describe in a four-sentence paragraph. I LIKED Romney, I voted for him, but I never figured out what he really believed and neither did anyone else.

And he was worse than 'not as effective' at politics: That '47%' remark showed not just a political tyro but a lack of understanding of what the number represented.

I'M in the 47% -- at age 75 with a military pension, Medicare, and Social Security, I get more from the federal government than I pay in taxes. But I'm a conservative. Many others in that percentage are also conservative or are at least open to the message.

Romney never said a word to us -- or anyone else. Yeah, anyone with a brain should have figured him out and voted for him, but that's not really a strong campaign tactic.

Now? We have two candidates who could be strong campaigners, both with flaws: Cruz -- hated by the establishment, although ANY effective conservative will be, and Carson, who has no government experience.

Basically any candidate who can really put things right must first conquer REPUBLICAN hatred of the small/limited government message.

Maybe someone else will emerge but it's getting late in the day to get to know a complete newcomer. Yeah, I'm scared. I'm PLENTY scared.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"In 2012 we had a candidate for president who had business skills "

Running America isn't running a business. The President needs a basic understanding of business. He does NOT need to be a businessman.

"...and would -- I think -- have been a very good president.

.... but I never figured out what he really believed and neither did anyone else.


Please reconcile these two statements for us. If you don't know what he believes, why would you think he'd make a good President?

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
He would have been a competent caretaker, and kicked essentially every can of relevance down the road. Every RINO will do at best that.

They will not reject Progressivism, in the long run they can do nothing to improve the situation.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is almost never apparent two and a half years out who is likely to be the nominee in the GOP primary unless it is an incumbent running for reelection. We don't do coronations in the GOP. We have quite a few very fine prospective candidates, and it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top. I think we need to set a sort of minimum standard on ideological purity (something less than 100%, probably more than 90%) and then focus on finding the guy or gal with the political skills to beat HRC, who is not much of a campaigner. She is ahead in the polls only because of name recognition and general good will towards her as a symbolic female presidential candidate. She already screwed up her last election big time, and so far she is showing no signs of having learned anything new about politiking since then.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rick Perry hasn't learned much either, with the latest foot-in-mouth incident of his case of comparing homosexuality with alcoholism. These people need to figure out how to acquire better advisers.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep, it's scary alright. I cannot think of a soul out there who can beat Hillary, who is nothing but "Obama with a vajayjay" as one commenter I saw elsewhere put it so delicately.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, HRC is very little like Obama, whether politically, personally, ideologically, etc. Mainly she has little of Obama's (or her husband's) political skill and personal charisma. She is the proverbial empty pantsuit.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
What do you suppose Hillary would have done differently had she been POTUS since 2008 instead of Obama?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think she'd have been a lot less friendly to the Muslims, for one.

And, more importantly, she'd have been a LOT less effective in pushing the Marxist agenda.

Oh, she'd push it, but badly.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two damn words: Liberty and property. That's a platform I could support.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
For personal qualities I would add 'virtue.' I'm tired of choosing between thug-wannabes.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
It took time and courage so that "country bumpkin" Ronald Reagan -- our 40th and last real President -- could make the US look forward again. The more I learn about his presidency the more I realize he was practically alone and yet he managed to inspire a few. They achieve great things but then we forgot the message. We like the results of Conservatism: strength, prosperity, opportunity, stability, etc. but we like also the vices of Progressive Liberalism and we are up to our necks in it. The GOP ceased to be the party or republican virtues. They caught the liberal fever too and they are running around like a chicken trying to peck a crumb that the Democrats left behind. People like John Boehner who was there inthe days of the Contract With America, forgot very quickly all that was achieved. They have looked back and they were turned in to political pillars of salt. We must look to the future with Conservative eyes, it is going to take lots of fighting to bury Leviathan Washington and let George Washington rise again. The great country is still there, confused, in disarray, sick with the poison we have been dealt by the Democrats since the days of Wilson. Each one of us has to become a leader for we have no leaders worth anything. That is what the Tea Party is all about an that is what this man of the hour, Mr Brat is doing. Godspeed to him!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good job. Yes, when I want to know what's wrong with the Republican Party, I always ask a Washington Post writer. The only better source is The Nation magazine, and they're usually too busy consulting with John McCain.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excuse me but I think you are too deeply into the weeds on this story. Dave Brat is a refreshing, youthful and compelling candidate who actually has a consistent "conservative" message. Guess what? He actually knows what free markets are. He actually says that the government cannot solve all our problems and should not try. He is not a pandering fool trying to go "democrat" lite all the time. He is a conservative. He ran as a conservative. He got up and said that he is a Christian and believes in telling the truth and that the fate of this great country belongs to the people not to the fat assed politicians and other jerks hanging around the beltway. Sorry no great mystery here. The problem is that NONE of our existing so called leaders ever mentions limited government and have not the slightest trace of "pair" when it comes to calling out Obama on what he is doing NOW to undermine and debase our country. So dare I say that Dave Brat won because of Dave Brat and no thanks to Fox or Reince or any of the other know it all usual suspects. End of story.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
We've got a mafia government now, they are always looking for the percentage that pays out to them.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The mass media largely set the rules for debate. As long as those rules are "Democrats win no matter what we have to do!" it's going to be all but impossible for Republicans to lay out a positive vision.

For example the best answer to health care is for government to get completely out of trying to run it. We actually have EXACTLY that system for our pets and virtually everything that can be done for a sick human can be done for a dog -- for $10k or less, often MUCH less. Mainly because of competition and results-based medicine WITHOUT bureaucracy and 'somebody else pays.' Yes, the standards for people are higher -- but not enough to account for the factor of 2-100 difference in costs.

Could veterinary care be used as a discussion model for human care? Not a chance: "Republicans want to treat your family like dogs."

Without rules allowing an honest debate, Republicans are pretty well stuck with opposing the worst of Democratic policy. Of course even that's better than supporting the worst, as they keep trying to do with immigration.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The solution to this dilemma is to do what Reagan did & also what Dave Brat did: Bypass the media outlets & go straight to the American people. Reagan had TV appearances; Brat utilized conservative talk radio & door-to-door canvass as the means to get his message out. It's a lot of hard work but worth it.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Republicans should unite behind the drastically popular notion, that essentially all late term abortions should be banned--because they murder a child. This should be done by an amendment stating human life begins for federal purposes by the entry to the third trimester, and defers to state law as to whether it begins earlier for laws applicable to earlier points in a pregnancy. This amendment should exclude the possibility of a pregnancy being treated as a child in the first trimester, because almost no one takes that notion seriously.

We should adopt the course of putting the work of the Progressives into decline, privatizing, voucherizing, personalizing accounts.

We should make the "protections" consumer enjoy under our regulatory state voluntary--no one can say they meet federal standards if they don't, if someone wants to buy something without the federally approved trademark, that's their business.

Wickard should be overturned in law.

The taxing power should be barred from treating a wealthy person's dollar as being worth more than a poor man's. The tax return should fit on a post card. The mortgage interest deduction should be sunsetted, gradually enough so as not to shock.

Liberty. Liberty. Liberty.

The securing of it is the only point to having a government at all.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wickard v. Filburn (1942) is the root of most expansion of federal power which makes it the root of a whole lot of evil. However since it's a constitutional interpretation it would have to be overturned by constitutional amendment, would it not?

Worth doing -- even critical -- but monumentally harder, since Democrats rightly see it as the foundation of their power. And a Supreme Court overturning of this well-established precedent seems even less likely.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's been around for less than 1/3rd the country's history, it was dishonestly produced in the first place (threat of court packing) and abundant prior precedent refutes it--the plain wording of the constitution refutes it. The 2nd is more or less upheld, if in a disjointed, crippled fashion--it in fact protects private ownership of all items of military utility.

A law endorsing the original intent and giving cause for suit--standing--to anyone seeing a tort under a contrary interpretation would quickly force a a reversal by the highest court.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Republicans should be for restoring the Republic by reducing the power
of the federal government; It is going to happen anyway, the only choice
is between a phased reduction and a crash, and sudden changes break things.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is one of those comments that makes me want to punch 'like' five times.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree, but may I reword.
Surely, the agenda of conservatives is to allow the citizens the freedom to improve their lives with minimal government intervention. It takes constant vigilance to defend this freedom from those who think they know better than us how to run our lives, aka socialists, communists, fascists, and the rest of the collectivist lot.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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