Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why Winning The Senate Would Be A GOP Nightmare

Alan: Republicans are nuts. 

A party of raving lunatics, they are incapable of governing. 

"Winning the Senate" would reveal the internecine strife - ripe for explosion - that inhabits the GOP's barely submerged Civil War. 


If the GOP controls both houses of Congress, the Repugs will (finally) get blamed for government dysfunction.

What would a Republican Congress look like?

Welcome to Brownbackistan!

"The Great Kansas Tea Party Disaster," A Template For GOP Control Of Congress

Not only would Senate control be a nightmare for the GOP, it will also ensure a Democratic sweep in 2016.

Excerpt: "In short, the Republican tension between satisfying the base and appealing to the entire electorate will be made significantly worse if the party controls both houses of Congress. The Republicans will get almost none of the practical things they want, and their political headaches will be multiplied." 

Republicans will probably take the Senate. Here’s why it will be a nightmare for them.

 October 28, 2014 

The latest Washington Post poll only confirms what everyone already knows: Though there’s still a week left, and there are plenty of close races that could fall to the Democrats, this is going to be a good election for the GOP. Chances are Republicans are going to take over the Senate, giving them unified control of Congress. This is a goal Republicans have been working toward for years. And it will be a nightmare for them.
There are multiple reasons for this, but they all have their roots in the fundamental dilemma that has plagued the GOP throughout Barack Obama’s presidency: the contradictory demands of appealing to a broad electorate and appeasing an eternally angry and suspicious base. The tension this creates will play out in new ways if and when Republicans take over the Senate.
Yesterday, the Atlantic’s Molly Ball reported on how this contradiction ismanifesting itself on the campaign trail:
In Kansas recently, Republican Senator Pat Roberts, who’s in a tough race for reelection, made a statement that left me puzzled. “A vote for me is a vote to change the Senate back to a Republican majority, and we’ll get things done,” he said. “And it means a stop to the Obama agenda.”
Wait a minute, I thought. Which is it—ending the status quo of Washington gridlock? Or ratcheting up the gridlock by obstructing President Obama? You can’t “get things done” in Washington without the president’s signature, and no matter what happens in this year’s elections, he’s not going anywhere for another two years.
Yet these two seemingly contradictory messages are at the heart of Republican Senate campaigns across the country. I’ve heard them from candidate after candidate.
Individual candidates can fudge the question during the campaign, but once the new session of Congress begins, it becomes much more difficult. There will be tremendous built-up pressure from conservatives that Sen. Mitch McConnell (assuming he wins his own race and becomes majority leader) will have to satisfy. That means votes on things such as repealing the Affordable Care Act, building border fences, slashing environmental regulations and cutting corporate taxes, most or all of which will be unpopular and inevitably filibustered by Senate Democrats.
At that point, McConnell would have a way to create confrontations not with Harry Reid but with President Obama. In November 2013, Reid and Democrats changed Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on most presidential appointments. Though it was called “the nuclear option,” the true nuclear option would apply to legislation, which under current rules the minority is still free to filibuster (as the Republicans do). Would McConnell go fully nuclear and get rid of that, too, so the GOP Congress could send bills to the president’s desk?
There wouldn’t be much point, since Obama would just veto the bills. And McConnell surely knows that his time as majority leader would come with a two-year expiration date, since in 2016 there will be only 10 Democrat-held seats up for election, while Republicans will be defending 24 seats, many in Democratic states, and they will be doing it in a presidential election year, when the electorate that comes to the polls is far more friendly to Democrats. McConnell won’t be too eager to hand a Senate with no filibusters back to Reid in 2016.
That leaves Republicans with the following dynamic: They pass bills meant to mollify their supporters, the bills are filibustered by Democrats and the bills die. Other than stopping Obama administration appointments (something significant, particularly when it comes to judges, but one that gets a limited amount of attention), Senate Republicans will have little to show their base.
And they will have even less to show the broader public. Obama will decry the do-nothing, radicalized Congress, and to the average voter, that’s exactly what it will look like: a bunch of Washington blowhards having temper tantrums that don’t do anything to improve Americans’ lives.
Not only that, at various times they will have no choice but to make deals with Obama. McConnell, John Boehner and the more sober Republicans know that there’s nothing worse for them politically than forcing government shutdowns and debt defaults. That means they will have to agree to continuing resolutions keeping the government open and making increases in the debt ceiling in order to avoid national and political disaster. And when they do, the tea party base of the GOP will be enraged. “What did we elect a Republican Congress for?” it will shout.
In short, the Republican tension between satisfying the base and appealing to the entire electorate will be made significantly worse if the party controls both houses of Congress. The Republicans will get almost none of the practical things they want, and their political headaches will be multiplied. McConnell is a shrewd operator, but it’s hard to see how even he can find his way out of that dilemma.

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