In 2009 72% of the country, and an even larger percentage of the Republican voters, did not want Obamacare. The govt takeover of healthcare was along purely ideological grounds. For the 2010 midterm election, the professional Republican apparatus campaigned on this single issue – repeal Obamacare. The voters destroyed the Democrats and flipped 67 seats to Republican control. The professional Republicans wanted the House, frustrated American voters gave it to them.
The Republicans did nothing.
In 2012, the professional Republicans campaigned on retaining the House and asked to begin a process of taking down the Democrat control of the Senate. Remember, it was a 60/40 Senate when the Obamacare boondoggle was begun. Keep the House, help us take Senate seats, and we will repeal Obamacare and balance the budget. That was the call of the 2012 professional Republicans. The voters delivered. The GOPe kept the house, took 6 seats in the Senate and introduced a wave of fresh Republican blood.
The Republicans did nothing.
In the 2014 midterm election, the professional Republicans campaigned on retaining the House and now flipping the Senate with more GOP seats. Keep the House, give us the Senate majority, and we will repeal Obamacare and deliver a balanced budget. The voters again delivered. Beginning in January 2015, the Republicans controlled the House and the Senate majorities for Obama’s last two years.
The Republicans did nothing….
In the 2016 election, after the professional Republicans could no longer stop/block candidate Donald Trump, they said if we get the White House, retain the House and retain the Senate, we will repeal Obamacare, return to regular budgetary order, and balance the budget. Stunningly, against all the odds, the voters yet again delivered. President Trump won the election; Republicans now held the White House, the House and the Senate – as requested.
The Republicans did nothing.
But…vote Republican, right? The GOP has the answers. The GOP stands foursquare for individuals’ rights and Constitutionally limited government. The GOP will restore America to the normality of…whenever.
If you still believe that, I have a bridge for you. Graceful and in good repair. Spans Lake Tucson. Comes with a lifetime warranty, too.
We stand at the terminus of a process that was kicked off in 1933 and has never been counteracted. Perhaps it cannot be; my feeling is that such is the case.
There are variations of motive among the men who enter politics, though they might not be visible without a close look. They all want public office, of course. For most of them most of the time, acquiring and retaining high office is their sole objective. However, at any instant in history there will be some – possibly even a majority – who value the prestige and perquisites of office above the power to work their wills upon their subjects. Such men are willing to sell all other considerations to get and keep those things.
In a legislative body of many members, each member’s survival depends upon knowing, about each of his colleagues, whether he’s principally there for the power or for the trappings. That’s the true cleavage that runs through any legislature: Who is there just to be there, and who is there to impose his will upon others?
The ones whose aim is to dictate to their subjects are equally determined to dictate to their fellow legislators.
When FDR and the Democrats took control of Washington in 1933, they swiftly demonstrated to the rump Republican caucuses that the party in power can purchase the allegiance of millions of people with giveaways: government programs designed to transfer wealth from some to the rest. The New Deal was about very little else. The Democrats erected a multitude of programs to do exactly that, and funded them through taxation and inflation: Lenin’s “twin millstones” for grinding the bourgeoisie into subjection.
The Republicans were watching and learning. Thus opened the GOP era of “We can do it cheaper and better!” It lasted essentially unchanged until 1952, when Dwight Eisenhower rose to the presidency by promising to end the Korean War. But while the GOP’s message to voters changed, its determination to emulate the Democrats’ strategy did not.
Today’s Republican Party Establishment is composed of men whose overriding objective is to remain in office. They present the public with the appearance of a Constitutionally oriented opposition, but lacking the reality. The occasional blips in the pattern – Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump – make plain their determination not to upset the status quo. Note that in both cases, obstruction by Republican legislators was the principal reason why those presidents achieved so much less than they’d promised.
Commentators often speak of the GOP as a “tame” opposition. The connotations of the phrase aren’t quite right. The Democrats didn’t break the Republicans through reinforcement-based conditioning, but through the GOP’s realization that the Dems had hit upon a winning formula. What tamed the Republican Establishment was its coalescence around its own highest priority: to retain the prestige and perquisites of high office.
The men who control the Republican Party today focus on that priority. There are a few GOP officeholders who sincerely maintain that they’re there for nobler reasons, but the larger, tenure-oriented group keeps them corralled. Thus, the “mavericks” are limited to passionate words but lack the ability to effectuate their pledges.
The unitary political Establishment of which we often speak is founded on the maintenance of that structure:
- De facto hegemony for the Democrats;
- Acquiescence to the status quo by the majority of Republicans;
- A handful of noisy GOP “mavericks” to keep up a façade of genuine opposition.
If anything could possibly change it, it hasn’t yet poked its head above the District of Columbia’s high-slime line.