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More on Tea Party v. the GOP

To add to my previous two posts, let me pose a question to the audience:  what will have to happen in the House in the next Congress for you to say that the Tea Party is having an effect on the GOP?  That is to say:  what would constitute a true shift in GOP behavior to you?

A related question might be:  what has to happen in your opinion for the GOP to demonstrate that they are taking the mantle of fiscal responsibility seriously?

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. ponce says:

    Well, passing a balanced budget would certainly be a sign.

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  2. @ponce:

    I am guessing that one ain’t happening, even if the GOP captures both chambers.

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  3. Al says:

    Passing a farm bill that cuts farm subsidies? They’ve got until 2012 for that one, right?

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  4. Alex Knapp says:

    @ponce –

    That would mean going back on their promises to

    (a) extend the Bush tax cuts and
    (b) not cut Medicare.

    Odds of the GOP pushing a bill that repudiates (a) or (b) = zero.

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  5. Meaningful cuts to one of:

    1.) Social Security
    2.) Medicare
    3.) Defense

    Anything else is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.

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  6. Dave Schuler says:

    I agree with Stormy Dragon on this one.

    I also note that cutting defense would be less risky for a Republican Congress than for one with a Democratic majority while delivering President Obama something of a poison pill.

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  7. Steve says:

    Well, since private sector pay hasn’t appreciated in 10 years, I’d be happy if they cut federal civilian pay back to 2001 levels. I’d also like them to say, “The nation’s education system has not improved since the Dept. of Education was created. In fact, it has deteriorated. Since the dept is not making things better, let’s get rid of it.” My wife and my mother are / were public school teachers. They know that the Dept of Education is a waste. Time to drown that puppy.

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  8. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    For me it’s more generic. They need to create legislation that promotes the Tea Party principles, i.e. smaller government, less spending and less taxes, and greater government accountability. And they need to do this on a continuing basis, not just a couple quick changes and then back to business as usual.

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  9. ponce says:

    “I am guessing that one ain’t happening, even if the GOP captures both chambers.”

    I agree, but I’m hoping it will be enjoyable to watch Boner & Co. explaining to America why, exactly they’re passing a budget with a $1 trillion deficit.

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  10. mantis says:

    The nation’s education system has not improved since the Dept. of Education was created. In fact, it has deteriorated

    Based on what, exactly? It has existed in some form since the end of the Civil War, and has been a cabinet level department since 1953 (as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare). So please show us how the system has deteriorated since 1953 (or 1867).

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  11. mantis says:

    For me it’s more generic.

    And thus wholly substance free! Guaranteed to never happen! Go Teabaggers!

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  12. tom p says:

    Let’s see…

    End the Bush tax cuts (all of them)?

    Not gonna happen.

    Repeal Medicare Part “D” ?

    Not gonna happen. (especially after their demagogoury (sp?) of HCR)

    End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Not gonna happen…

    Restore fiscal sanity?

    NOT… GONNA’…. HAPPEN.

    I could continue, but I would just depress all of you people who voted straight GOP today.

    I hope you have a lot of vaseline ’cause you are gonna need it.

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  13. John Personna says:

    Heh, if the Tea Party has an effect then Repubs will amp up the same old pattern – grandstand on the need to cut while offering no cuts.

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  14. SJ Reidhead says:

    My anger with the GOP is pandering to the tea parties. Where it the courage and intellectual honesty here.

    The tea party types like to talk a good game about the Constitution, but are abjectly ignorant about how the government actually works. It is fine to “love” the Constitution, but if they don’t understand it, and decided to punish Republicans for actually working within the confines of the Constitution, they are going to hurt the country.

    The House can pass a balanced budget, but if we don’t have a strong majority in the Senate, then forget it. So, the tea parties will damn the GOP.

    I wish someone would explain to them that they aren’t the only game in the nation.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

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  15. Steve Plunk says:

    The first somewhat reasonable step isn’t necessarily cuts but a freeze on government growth where it can be frozen. You can’t turn the ship of state around very quickly but can start making preparations for the turn and slowing the engines. That’s realistic and responsible. I certainly wouldn’t pass any more stimulus bills, that will save a few hundred billion.

    If the GOP takes fiscal responsibility seriously and listens to their constituents then the Tea Party movement will have had an effect.

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  16. An Interested Party says:

    “…what has to happen in your opinion for the GOP to demonstrate that they are taking the mantle of fiscal responsibility seriously?”

    Rush Limbaugh marrying Glenn Beck in Massachusetts? Michelle Bachman voluntarily committing herself to the Psych Ward at the Mayo Clinic? Sarah Palin actually becoming president of the United States?

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  17. steve says:

    We will know the Republicans are serious when they repeal Medicare Part D. If they own up to passing a huge bill without funding as being a mistake and repealing it, they will gain the credibility to cut other spending.

    Steve

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  18. mantis says:

    We will know the Republicans are serious when they repeal Medicare Part D. If they own up to passing a huge bill without funding as being a mistake and repealing it, they will gain the credibility to cut other spending.

    Serious about losing? Senate Dems and Obama would never let it through, and the GOP would get slaughtered in 2012 after trying to cut Medicare for real. That’s a trap they won’t be walking into.

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  19. anjin-san says:

    > Tea Party principles, i.e. smaller government, less spending and less taxes, and greater government accountability.

    Clearly you are not aware of who is pulling the stings.

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  20. sam says:

    “The first somewhat reasonable step isn’t necessarily cuts but a freeze on government growth where it can be frozen. ”

    Let’s see what the Tea Party folks do when the vote on increasing the debt ceiling comes up.

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  21. davod says:

    “We will know the Republicans are serious when they repeal Medicare Part D.”
    Obamacare does this. Where do you think the $500 billion saving from Medicare is coming from.

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  22. Michael says:

    I’ll third Stormy’s post, if they’ll stop treating one of those 3 as a sacred cow, then I’ll take them seriously. However, I don’t see it happening, more likely they’ll go after DOE or NEA to shave a couple percent off the budget and claim that makes them fiscally responsible.

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  23. mantis says:

    Obamacare does this. Where do you think the $500 billion saving from Medicare is coming from.

    You’re thinking of Medicare Advantage, which is being cut. Medicare Part D is the (unfunded) prescription drug benefit.

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  24. BRS says:

    Yes to Stormy Dragon’s post. But the GOP establishment will not let this happen, will they? A betting man knows that they will dissemble and continue to use Obama as a political pinata for two more years, trying to solidify their political gains while the country crumbles further.

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  25. shorebreeze says:

    Prove seriousness about fiscal conservatism by:

    Repealing Medicare Part D. (Or at least reducing its cost by strengthening Medicare’s bargaining position with the drug companies)

    Leaving social security alone, as it’s the slowest growing major government program and the only one with its own major funding source and the only one whose projected growth levels off and eventually stops, and it is also critical baseline that enables people especially with 401K to take more risks but reap more rewards with their own investing.

    Eliminating farm subsidies. As it is we subsidize the unhealthy stuff and don’t subsidize the good stuff. Zero it all out and let people make their own choices.

    Cut the waste at the Pentagon. Seriously evaluate military spending instead of using it for pork. Make it clear to other countries they need to step up.

    Make highways fully self-funding by either substantially increasing the gas tax or introducing tolls on all interstates, or downloading responsibility to the states.

    More cost-controls to reduce the cost of Medicare Part A and B. The cost-controls attached to health care reform were a start but not enough.

    Rearrange the tax code to incentivize exports and disincentivize offshoring of industry. We need some growth; we can’t get out of the deficit with only spending cuts. So reward what’s good for America and punish what isn’t.

    Admit that nation-building in Afghanistan is hopeless and push the administration to get out. Treat counter-terrorism as a police and covert activity, not a military one; we’ll get better results at lower cost.

    I’d say the above ought to be good for about half the current deficit. The other half is the Bush tax cuts, and they need to be either reconfigured in a way that’s more helpful to economic growth, or else allowed to expire. I certainly don’t expect the Republicans to go for expiration, but they need to admit that compared to previous tax cuts, the Bush ones were heavy on personal consumption and Wall Street speculation and very light on industrial investment and economic growth.

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  26. DebtRefer says:

    If the Republicans demand the total repeal of Obamacare as a condition for raising the debt ceiling, then I’ll know they’re really serious.

    What they should say to Obama is this,”Mr. President, it’s your responsibility to propose significant custs in entitlement spending and other programs in order to restore fiscal order. Until you make those proposals, we won’t increase the debt ceiling.”

    The beauty of this approach is that it shifts the burden of spending cuts onto the Democrats. After all, they’re the ones who created the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It’s their programs, they should be responsible for cutting them, not the Republicans.

    In exchange, Republicans should be willing to offer increasing tax revenues to 20% of GDP, up from the recent historical average of 18% of GDP. Both sides violate deeply held convictions to reach a long-term compromise solution. But it has to start with the Democrats offering spending cuts. The Debt Ceiling is the lever the Republicans can use to initiate the process.

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  27. davod says:

    “A betting man knows that they will dissemble and continue to use Obama as a political pinata for two more years, trying to solidify their political gains while the country crumbles further.”

    Where have I seen that before! Oh. Yes,

    “A betting man knows that they will dissemble and continue to use Bush as a political pinata for two more years, trying to solidify their political gains while the country crumbles further.”

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    Shorebreeze, your list was impressive and well thought out. However, I honestly can’t think of a thing on it that I expect any tea partier to support. I fear the depressing reality is that the movement is all anger and no thought. They are funded by people who are using them to promote their own agendas. If I am right they’ll be rallying to preserve the Bush tax cuts, against the inheritance tax, for military spending. If I am wrong they’ll be rallying to cut defense spending, cut farm subsidies, and… well, that ain’t happening.

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  29. freeoscar says:

    If they close corporate loopholes in the tax code, and use that revenue to either a) reduce the deficit or b) extend the bush tax cuts, at least for the middle class. that would be the type of anti-moneyed interests, pro ‘ordinary americans’ legislation that the Tea Party should be thrilled with.

    ditto for eliminating at least one of the cabinet-level departments

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  30. JoeInNH says:

    I expect Obama to embrace the recommendations of the deficit commission coming out in the next 30 days. The commission has the goal of figuring out how to reduce the deficit to 3% of GDP by 2015. To do that will be quite a chore but I wonder if the GOP will dare to agree with the commission. I doubt the Tea Party will accept a rational plan to reform government spending if the plan does not call for a balanced budget before 2015,ie, almost immediately. I bet non-tea party GOP Representatives will fear being cut down in the 2012 primary if they agree to what it takes to get the deficit down to 3%.

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  31. Gus says:

    Patrick T. McGuire, for them it’s too generic, too. That’s the whole point of this post and comments, getting some specifics. It’s easy to mouth platitudes about cutting spending, and it comes with no political cost…until you actually make cuts, and someone’s ox is gored. Stormy Dragon hit it on the head. I wonder how many tea partiers would have won election saying “we will need to make deep cuts in Medicare and defense” rather than the generic “we need to make cuts.” In fact a Republican Congressman in Minnesota ran an a couple of ads, one of which said that we need to cut spending, another of which castigated his opponent for being for the “$500 billion cut to Medicare” in the HCR bill. It’s good politics, let’s see what kind of policy comes out of it.

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  32. Mark says:

    I am with Karl Denninger on this one: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/denninger2.1.1.html

    I’ll paraphrase somewhat here:

    1) Stop with the god/guns/gays nonsense.

    2) Publicize the following as your LEAD:
    STOP THE LOOTING AND START PROSECUTING [referring to the banksters primarily]

    3) ALL FIVE OF THE LARGEST BANKS ARE RESOLVED AS OUR FIRST ACT IN CONGRESS.
    They caused it, they pay for it. Period.

    If this movement can’t stay focused on the real cause of our malaise today – the derivatives scandal especially as related to mortgages – they will deserve nothing but contempt.s

    Mark

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  33. JoeInNH says:

    Understand your anger Mark as we all realize that the bank bailout was poorly handled but doesn’t the constitution say something about taking action against the banks? Ex post facto law? Due process?

    The real problem is outlined by Stormy Dragon though I might leave Social Security off the list. I believe that it is really in half way decent shape though it does need some tinkering with. Ignore Medicare/Medicaid and Defense and nothing gets done. Unfortunately the Health Reform Act was really a Health INSURANCE Reform Act……..we still spend more than any one else and have millions fall through the cracks(which really look like giant holes) We need true reform but don’t hold your breath.

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  34. I believe that it is really in half way decent shape though it does need some tinkering with.

    It’s still one of the biggest pieces of the government pie, so even if it’s fine by itself, cuts there will have more effect on the deficit then cuts elsewhere.

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  35. [...] something of a follow-up to my questions “what will have to happen in the House in the next Congress for you to say that the Tea Party [...]

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  36. mitchell21 says:

    Make collective bargaining by public employees, federal, state and local, illegal.

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