Republicans Can No Longer Rely On Rhetoric

2010 was the year that the Republican Party took back control of the House, because unfortunately, the electorate has a short-term memory problem.   The message they thought they were sending to Washington is not the message that the Republicans heard, and in the first few days of the new Congress, they’re showing that no, things haven’t really changed with them.  Which isn’t terribly surprising.  If there ever was a political party that lived by the motto “Do as I say, not as I do” it’s the Republicans.

Theoretically, they’re “small government, fiscally conservative.”  They say they want a balanced budget, low taxes, and the smallest possible government.   That’s what they tell us.  Constantly.  All the while deriding the other party as a wildly-spending high tax and big government group.   You can’t turn on a news channel without seeing them pounding a podium about it.   Everyone gets it.  The problem?   They never do it,  even when they’ve controlled Congress and the White House.

If you look at which party  has most increased the deficit in the past 30 years, it was Republican administrations.    Added a major new bureaucracy  and increased the size of the government?  Republicans.   Obviously the Republicans in the Senate and the House stood up to the administrations, right?  No, they just voted it right on in, and added a few earmarks and programs on their own while they were at it.  Well, then, the “base” groups stood up and organized massive protests against it and went after them in a primary, right?  Nope, not a peep.    What they did do was to remove a lot of the safeguards and rules, to “help” businesses, and reduce taxes.  All of which led to a massive boom, right?  Nope, didn’t do that.  Turned out that the financial institutions and companies simply decided to make a buck quick, screw the ethics, and shift as much as they could somewhere else where the labor could be abused and low paid.

Then end result was a ballooning federal debt, and the financial system crashed.  Voters took note, and voted the Republicans out of power.    The Republicans spent the past two years telling everyone that they were going to “create jobs” and “help” by cutting “runaway government spending” and bemoaning the ballooning federal debt.   Rather than remembering who had cheerfully stepped on the gas to when it came to runaway government spending and increasing the debt, the voters decided that the Democrats hadn’t done things fast enough, so they gave the Republicans control of the House.

Now the Republicans have to actually help govern.    As in, put their plans into actual legislation and being specific.  Which is where they’ve hit a wall.  You see, it’s one thing to say you’re going to cut government spending when you’re campaigning, it’s another to say what you’re going to cut and by how much.  It’s the details that people who have actual governing responsibility are supposed to come up with, and a number of us on the liberal side noted that they weren’t doing.  An “alternative budget” turned out to be a couple of pages of generalities.    All those details, they promised, would be forthcoming once they took back control of Congress.

Which it turns out they can’t do.  Now that they’re faced with trying to do it, they’re drawng a blank.   Instead of spending the last two years identifying specific examples – and dollar amounts – of what they want to cut, they just pulled a round figure out of thin air, and were using that. Now they’re trying to shift the responsibility to the Administration, except that well, they don’t like the cuts the Administration has already proposed, except they don’t have alternatives.

For the past two years, the Republican Party has been posturing.  They’re real good at it.  The problem is that now they have to show the voters that they actually did have concrete plans, and it’s turning out that they’re all hat and no cowboy.  It’s likely to be a real short stay in power, because they can no longer rely strictly on rhetoric, and from the looks of things, that’s all they have.



Filed under Politics

14 responses to “Republicans Can No Longer Rely On Rhetoric

  1. overseasgranny

    This is going to be one interesting SOTU speech and a very interesting budget discussion.

  2. What? You mean they might find ways to continue expanding government some more? Nooo, it can’t be.

    Actually I know it can and it’s what I expect. Heck, in some of the expandsion of government they’ll blame on the left as something that had to be done to fix the left’s radical expansion of government. lol.

    Why would anyone truly think that any politicians want to potentially put themselves out of work by shrinking government?

    • I think one of the more … telling … points about Republicans is that after the election cycle was over, the RNC was 22 million in the hole. One of the things that drives me nuts about it is that it’s not a case of “here’s a cut we’ve identified that should be made,” which can be discussed, it’s a case of still chanting a dollar figure without any specifics. That, and their taking a big chunk of potential cuts off the table right off the bat. It’s remarkable to see them going “everything’s on the table,” then turning ar0und 5 minutes later and going “except these items…” 🙄

      • They’re willing to cut anything – as long as it isn’t their anything they are cutting.

        • Pretty much! 😀 I’m sure they’d really look forward to going back to their district and saying “Hey, you know that road project? Not going to happen. We decided that balancing the budget was more important.”

  3. Arrghhh.

    I meant expansion, not expandsion. Danged keyboard, it must be Republocrat!

  4. I Love OCD

    They’ve benefitted from a distractible electorate for many years. The financial crisis seems to have focused a lot of the “ooooohhhh, shiny” voters, and I suspect this will be an extremely short return to power in the House.

    They just can’t catch a break right now – the Stupid are unable to keep their mouths shut, and the shooting in Tuscon has created an environment that I think will be less tolerant of ugliness from the RW. They really need to sit on Joe Wilson this year!

  5. catdevotee

    The Repubs are back-pedling as fast as they can from their previous figure of $100 billion in cuts to the budget. At least, the semi-sane ones are – Rand Paul is talking about cutting $5oo billion.

    When the Pentagon specifies the huge cuts they are proposing in their weapons budget, we’ll see who the fiscal conservatives are.

    • Hmm… I suppose if the Pentagon offered to close Fort Knox and Fort Campbell as part of the austerity, I’m certain that you’d see a sudden shift on Rand’s part. As to their reaction to the proposed cuts, I can already see some of them leaping to proclaim that those cuts will not be “tolerated,” because they’ll “weaken national defense.” Read: Cut defense funding in my district!

  6. Bobfr

    President Obama has history on his side. He can describe all the specific interventions he had to develop to manage responsibly the fiscal crisis the Republicans created during the 8 years prior to his Presidency.

    And, since the 112th Congressional Republicans have put before him and the American people zero plans for actually dealing with the deficit while creating the foundation of a sustainable economy he has, once again, been required to come to the SOTU and define specific steps that must be taken to continue the economic recovery he and his team have engineered and to also begin addressing the systemic failures of trade policy, tax policy and job creation that are hallmarks of Republican administrations since Reagan.

    He can remind everyone of the numerous – deficit neutral or better – programs and policies he is already implementing as well as those that should be implemented to reduce the size of government while improving the efficiency of governing. An excellent example of that efficiency is the performance of the Fed – revenue of $ 78.4 Billion with an OPEX of only $ 2.5 B – no private corporation, let alone bank achieves that type of margin.

    And, all the while, he can continue his remarkably consistent and totally genuine offer to the Republicans to visit with him and share their ideas, an invitation they have never accepted, but had the cover of a Democratic Party controlled House and Senate to conceal their inability to have ideas, let alone shape them into fiscally responsible policy.

    It should now be clear to anyone paying even a little bit of attention to President Barack Obama that he will keep doing, every day, what he said he would do – serve all Americans to the best of his ability. The 2011 batch of Congressional Republicans have already missed an enormous opportunity to emerge as serious partners with this President in governing for the benefit of all Americans. I expect that contrast to grow, daily.

  7. Winning Progressive

    I would actually take this one step further. It is not just that Republicans cannot identify things that they are willing to say they want to cut. It is that their entire goal is to increase the deficit so that they strengthen the argument in favor of eliminating government programs that benefit the middle class, working class, and poor in America.

    When Republicans get in power, they do two things. They cut taxes for the rich and for large corporations. And they increase spending on the military and programs that benefit large corporations (such as the subsidies to private insurance companies under Medicare Advantage or that used to be made to banks as part of the student loan program). They do this in part because it benefits their political benefactors and their pro-war views. But they also do it because their ultimate goal of dismantling Social Security, Medicare, and the social safety net is politically unpopular, and the Republicans have figured out that the way to make it politically more palatable is to drive the deficits up so people will feel that we have to cut spending.

    So, it is not just that Republicans are unwilling to back up their deficit talk with action when they get into power. It is that they are lying to us when they claim they care about the deficit.

    • Fonsia

      You are describing their “starve the beast” philosophy that started under Reagan. They were quite open about it back then. The idea is that you increase the national debt and annual deficits so much that you have no choice but to cut entitlements. That’s been their strategy for getting rid of Social Security and Medicare, et all, for the past three decades. They WANT to drive the nation into bankruptcy, because it’s the only way to repeal those extremely popular programs.

  8. Nathan Katungi

    Let’s hope Americans will wake up and realize the idiocy of policies advocated by Republicans.

  9. woody45

    Explains why more than a few Republicans as of late have been saying the POTUS sets the agenda.