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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Motionless, Broken GOP Complains About Being Left Behind

Photoshop image of GOP behind sign asking, '#WhatUsGovern'?
Tonight's the President's State of the Union address and the big news on the right is that the president plans to use the lawful power of the presidency to get some stuff done. Needless to say, conservatives think this is the worst thing ever! For the rest of America, however, this is seen as a good idea. Greg Sargent points to a Washington Post/ABC News poll that includes this relevant response:

Presidents have the power in some cases to bypass Congress and take action by executive order to accomplish their administration’s goals. Is this approach something you…

Support: 52

Oppose: 46
"In other words, despite the inevitable screams about Obama 'tyranny,' this approach will politically be at worst a wash (independents are split on it 49-49) and at best a net positive (in addition to majority support for it, moderates favor it by 56-43," Sargent reports, "only Republicans and conservatives oppose it in large numbers)."


And you don't have to look far for other data to explain that result. To return to a Pew poll I wrote about yesterday, a majority of Americans see the Republican Party for what it is: extremist, hyper-partisan, enthralled to lobbyists, unethical, dishonest, and not concerned with "the needs of people like me." If that's the way Americans see Republicans, why on Earth would they want GOP input on anything? The more you could get done without people like that, the better off everyone would be.

And if you think congress has been dysfunctional before, imagine what it will be like with a fractured GOP that can't even agree amongst themselves -- which seems to be the direction that the GOP Civil War is dragging everything.

Mediaite: Whenever presidents give State of the Union addresses, the opposition party chooses one person to deliver the official response. In recent years, an additional tea party response was added. This year, there will be three––count ‘em, THREE––separate State of the Union rebuttals from three different Republicans. The official Republican party response will be delivered by Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, giving her a brief moment in the spotlight to make a name for herself nationally.

However, last week the group Tea Party Express announced that Senator Mike Lee, who played a major part in Ted Cruz‘s big 21-hour Obamacare filibuster, would be delivering the official tea party response to the State of the Union. Previous tea party post-SOTU speakers have been Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rand Paul.

And speaking of Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator will be… yep, you guessed it!… delivering his own rebuttal to the State of the Union. Paul’s speech appears not to be in connection with any group, just something he decided to do.
Wow. What a show of party unity, huh? Three separate responses are a pretty good sign that none of these people are on the same page and that none of these groups trust the others to speak to their concerns. A party being pulled in three separate directions isn't a party that's going to be able to function very well. This explains why all the "accomplishments" of the GOP have been the negative consequences of doing nothing -- i..e., the government shutdown, the debt limit fiasco, the sequester kicking in, etc. When you want people to fight over how and when to pull the brake lever on a runaway train -- and in the process, fail to throw the lever at all -- you go ahead and call the GOP. It's what they're good at. It's hard to imagine why you'd want someone to do that, though.

And so the American people don't. They want the President to use his executive authority as an end run around a broken and nonfunctional Republican Party. You can't count on the GOP to get things done, so we don't. If we rely on Republican cooperation -- with the president, with Democrats, and even with themselves -- we'll never see anything accomplished. If we want government to work, we'll have to do our best to get it to work without them.

Luckily, there's a way to do that.


[image by DonkeyHotey]

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