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What Will The GOP Do If It Wins The Senate?

Capitol Dome

With six months to go before Election Day, the question on everyone’s mind, of course, is whether or not Republicans will take control of the Senate.  As I’ve noted before, the odds of that happening are very good given the fact that Democrats find themselves having to defend seats in seven states that Mitt Romney won in 2012. Additionally, we’ve seen strong candidate choices in states like New Hampshire, Michigan, and Oregon open up the possibility that one or all of these states could flip to the GOP on Election Day. And, of course, the President’s polling is making things even more difficult for Democrats around the country. Given all those factors, nearly every major political forecaster is currently predicting that the GOP will likely take control of the Senate, with Nate Silver recently putting the GOP’s chances as high as 60% even at this early stage of the midterm race.

So, assuming that the GOP really does end up gaining control of the Senate, the next question is what they’ll actually do with that power. Michael Tomasky talked with several pundits and politicians about that possibility, and it doesn’t look pretty:

Let’s start with the bleak view. “If the Republicans win the Senate,” says Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, “the conclusion they’re going to draw is ‘obstruction works,’ and they’re going to double down on it. So they’ll be thinking, ‘Why go out of our way to do stuff and why compromise when in two years we can win it all?'”

Ornstein’s frequent collaborator, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, thinks that while it should make sense that Republicans eyeing a 2016 White House win would want to have some accomplishments to point to, we shouldn’t bet on it. “The interests of the party in ’16 are clear, but whether that proves sufficient to produce something positive out of the Republicans in Congress is a big reach,” says Mann. “They almost have an incentive to keep the economy going at a more tepid rate.”

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, agrees. “A GOP Senate takeover would be terrible for Obama’s presidency,” Tanden says. “It would spell the end of any progress on any legislative action and with GOP control of both houses of Congress, Republicans would set up debates to help their presidential candidates in 2016. And of course, investigations of the administration would double.”

What about the senators themselves? New York’s Chuck Schumer predicts: “It would let loose six years of right-wing frustration. The potential for gridlock is enormous.”

Two of his more liberal colleagues, Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, emphasized the huge change in priorities we’d see if Republicans were in control of the Senate calendar. That, after all, is one of the main things a Senate majority can do—decide what does and does not get to the floor for consideration. With Mitch McConnell or any other Republican in charge of that calendar instead of Harry Reid, the Senate becomes an entirely different body.

“Their whole effort is grounded in their contempt for government,” Brown says. “On Medicare, on Social Security, on consumer protection, on regulation of Wall Street… If you want to know what a wholly Republican Congress would do, the thing to do is to look at what they’ve done in state capitals where they can. In Ohio, they’ve gone after voters’ rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights. They’d bring that to Washington.”

Or, alternatively, the GOP could try to go for a positive agenda with an eye toward 2016:

[H]ere’s the counterintuitive view, expressed by several folks: If Republicans have full control of Congress, they won’t have Harry Reid to kick around anymore. In a divided Congress, each party can point its finger at the other and say: “Obstructionist!” But if one party is running the show, the responsibility for getting results falls entirely on that party’s shoulders.

“If I were a Republican looking forward to 2016, I would actually want to get a little something done,” says William Galston of Brookings. “And if the president has any desire for his last six years to be anything other than trench warfare over the ACA [Affordable Care Act, as the Obamacare law is officially known], then maybe he’ll want to do something, too.”

Several people I spoke with noted that we do have precedent for this, and it’s hardly ancient history. “The model is the late ’90s template,” says Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. “Maybe a little less cordial.”

Or a lot less. But he has a point. In the 1994 election, the GOP took over the House and the Senate. At first, Republicans under Bob Dole and especially Newt Gingrich threw everything they could at Bill Clinton. But after a short while, Gingrich softened, and he and Clinton did pass some things—a landmark budget, and welfare reform.

“When Newt took over, at first, they were awful revolutionaries,” says Jim Kessler of Third Way, the centrist Democratic group. “They passed things that went nowhere. It was a Bataan Death March to a dead end. Then with the shutdown [in early 1996] they went too far, and then they realized that to keep their majority they had to govern.”

Based solely on how the Republicans have behaved since Barack Obama entered office, and especially since they gained control of the House, it’s easy to conclude that the more likely scenario that we’d see unfold in the event of a GOP victory in November would be something akin to the gridlock described above. This likely wouldn’t be what the leadership in the House and Senate, not to mention national Republicans, would want, but as we’ve seen over the past four years the leadership doesn’t necessarily control the agenda. Time after time in standoffs with the White House, Republican leaders have ended up taking hard line positions not so much because that’s what they think the best thing to do is, but because they are all too aware of what can and not pass muster with their respective caucuses in the House and Senate. The classic examples of this, of course, can be found in the showdown over the debt ceiling in 2011 and the government shutdown last October. On both occasions, Republican leadership was forced to take extreme positions in negotiations with the White House and Congressional Democrats largely because their membership was demanding it and making clear that they would oppose any deals that didn’t meet their criteria. Indeed, the shutdown itself was something that the GOP leadership in both the House and the Senate opposed, but it happened anyway because the membership, principally in the House, had bought into the idea that forcing a government shutdown would somehow inure to the GOP’s benefit.  With Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate, the pressure from the more extreme elements of the party to follow a similar strategy would be immense, and leadership may once again find themselves heading down a path not of their choosing.

There is the possibility, though, that Republicans will resist the pressure from their Tea Party wing to push an extreme agenda. Even before the government shutdown, there was plenty of evidence that the gridlock strategy that the Tea Party has forced the GOP to follow was harming the party. The party’s poll numbers have been low for quite some time, for example, and election results in 2012 provided the starkest evidence yet that the GOP was being hurt by its Tea Party win in the eyes of the middle of the road independent voters that actually decide elections in states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and Missouri. For the most part, the party establishment seemed to ignore that evidence and preferred to placate the hard right of the party, both to protect their own leadership positions and because those Tea Party groups had done well at bringing money and volunteers into the party. After the shutdown, though, that seemed to change significantly. Party leaders looked at the damage that the party has suffered in just that two week period in October, and seem to have decided that they weren’t going to allow the Tea Party to control the 2014 elections. So, we’ve seen establishment v. Tea Party battles developing in a number of states this year, most prominently in Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Nebraska. So far, at least, the establishment seems to be  winning this battle, but the fact that it is even occurring could indicate that leadership will resist the pressure from their far right to use a Senate majority to pursue yet more gridlock.

There is one thing we can definitely expect from Congress if the GOP retakes the Senate, though, more hearings:

Oh, and one other item would be on the agenda: oversight. Lots and lots of oversight and investigations. Just imagine Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham (if he survives his race) and Kelly Ayotte on the Armed Services Committee. Their desire to get to the bottom of Benghazi once and for all could make it difficult for Hillary Clinton just as see ramps up her run for the presidency.

Oversight and hearings are likely to be at the top of the agenda even if the Republicans fall short in their bid to take control of the Senate, of course. The House of Representatives will no doubt continue its inquiries into Benghazi, the IRS targeting scandal, and Fast & Furious. They’ll do this not so much to get to the truth in any of these matters, of course, but because of the belief that these inquiries will given them an advantage heading into 2016. This will be especially true with regard to the Benghazi attacks, because conservatives have managed to convince themselves that there is something about this “scandal” that they’ll be able use against Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election. If the GOP wins the Senate, obviously, this urge for investigation will be even stronger, and the next two years in Washington will likely be taken up by Committee hearings over matters that, according to the polls, the American public don’t even care very much about.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    It can’t be any worse than it is now. Just piled higher.
    I’m sure Obama has that veto pen somewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. Blue Shark says:

    24/7 Benghazi-gate

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  3. Paul L. says:

    Now Witness the power of this fully armed and operational Fast and Furious Investigation.

    Doug can’t bring himself to admit the Obama regime that lied about them pushing the narrative that the YouTube caused Benghazi and tried to hide the email proving otherwise by claiming it was not about Benghazi.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 39

  4. Tillman says:

    @Paul L.: The email proves nothing except that the coverup is always worse than the crime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. grumpy realist says:

    @Paul L.: You realize that people like you are the best friends the Chinese have ever had?

    Brush up on your Mandarin, boyo….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  6. Or, alternatively, the GOP could try to go for a positive agenda with an eye toward 2016

    Bwahahah! Oh Doug, you crack me up!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  7. Dave D says:

    I assume they’ll vote another 50 times to repeal the ACA so we can look forward to that. I honestly don’t know how they will accomplish anything because their party has no ideas on any issue. Think about one piece of legislation the House has offered to solve any problem. Their only agenda is blocking entitlement spending, increasing military spending and repealing anything the administration tried to do. Also neutering agencies by blocking even qualified and unobjectionable nominations that when/if they do come for a vote easily are/would be confirmed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  8. Dave D says:

    Oh I got it they’ll try and implement abortion restrictions and voting restrictions solving two of America’s most pressing problems. At least they’ll be earning their paychecks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. @Dave D:

    Don’t forget the constitutional ammendment banning same sex marriage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. beth says:

    Can you spell impeachment? With the Senate under Republican control, the House Republicans are going to have a hard time denying their base what they’ve been sorta promising for the last few years. Even if they don’t have the votes in the Senate, there will be a huge cry to proceed even if it hurts their 2016 chances.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Now Witness the power of this fully armed and operational Fast and Furious Investigation.

    Maybe they could investigate the 1983 terror bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon?

    You might recall that that resulted in the death of 240 Marines, or to put it another way, 5,900% more than the number of Americans killed in Benghazi, and a similar percentage greater than the number of American deaths that resulted from the Fast and Furious “scandal.”

    I don’t believe the 1983 terror bombing and killing of our Marines was investigated thoroughly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  12. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    What was the last thing the GOP did that was not ugly?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  13. beth says:

    @al-Ameda: And the same people carrying on about an investigation into the death of one border agent in Fast and Furious are the same people cheering on the mobs in Nevada pointing rifles at law enforcement agents.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  14. James Pearce says:

    @Paul L.:

    Doug can’t bring himself to admit the Obama regime that lied about them pushing the narrative that the YouTube

    Seriously, dude….you should check the archives. Doug almost became a Benghazi truther like you, but then better information and reason won out.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    As far as what the GOP will do with their majority….Nothing useful.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  15. superdestroyer says:

    I doubt if the Obama Administration will want to compromise at all with the Republicans. The Democrats expect to have a huge victory in 2016 given all of their electoral advantages and given the changing demographics of the U.S.

    Given the changing landscape of politics in the U.S., I doubt if the Democrats will ever feel the need to compromise with the Republicans. The Democrats have employed a strategy since 2007 to just run out the demographic clock on the Republicans and wait until they have such dominant majorities in the government that they can get what they want. Good evidence of this is how the Democrats no longer seem to care what the Supreme Court does because they know that the Republicans will never be able to nominate anyone to the Supreme Court. Whatever the Roberts Court decided now will eventually be overturned in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  16. beth says:

    @superdestroyer: Wow, it seems like you’re describing a one-party country. Do you think that could actually happen?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  17. sam says:

    @beth:

    Wow, it seems like you’re describing a one-party country.

    Somewhat new to OTB, aren’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @beth:

    Historians will writing about in a few years is the genius of David Axelrod. Instead of finding just one path to victory, Axelrod and his group has found a way that the Democrats are not capable of losing. Using the State of Illinois as an example, the Democrats have created a political structure where the state is not very effective (cite) and a state where 50% people want to move away (cite) but where a Republican cannot get elected dog catcher. That shows what the Democrats are capable of when it comes to politics.

    The Democrats know that every demographic trend in the future is in their and that there is no reason to compromise with the Republicans. The only way that the Republicans would ever get anything passed if they control both Houses is if it is exactly what the Democrats and Obama Administration wants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  19. Pinky says:

    Yeah, if we want to know what Republicans are thinking, let’s (snicker) ask Michael Tomasky. He’ll ask everyone from Normal Ornstein to the Center for American Progress. That’ll help. (snort) He can ask Schumer, Warren, and Brown. Hee hee. Hee hee hee. Right to the Republican source. HA HA HA HA HA OH MY SIDE HURTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  20. mantis says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Using the State of Illinois as an example, the Democrats have created a political structure where the state is not very effective (cite) and a state where 50% people want to move away (cite) but where a Republican cannot get elected dog catcher.

    We elected a Republican senator in Illinois 4 years ago. You’re an idiot.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  21. mantis says:

    Prediction: if they take the Senate and keep the House, Republicans will pass a budget defunding the ACA (and probably a host of other things the GOP hates). When the president vetoes, they will move to impeachment based on a laundry list of non-crimes they’ve all convinced themselves the president has committed. They will fail in their attempt, and 2016 will be a Democratic wave. I hope I’m wrong and they by some miracle decide to try to govern, but I give that very low odds.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  22. Scott F. says:

    There is the possibility, though, that Republicans will resist the pressure from their Tea Party wing to push an extreme agenda.

    And the Tea Party will facilitate their resistance. The worst possible outcome for the Tea Partiers is enactment of their agenda. Their agenda is incoherent and doomed to fail. If it were enacted as they describe it, the resulting mess would be obvious and the golden fundraising goose would be dead. Grifters have to eternally delay delivery of the windfall they promise. There are a lot of true believers in the Tea Party, but enough of the TPers are savvy enough to know that they stand to gain more from always being stopped from accomplishing what they say they want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  23. superdestroyer says:

    @mantis:

    Illinois State Senate: 40 Democrats and 19 Republicans.
    Illinois State House: 71 Democrats and 47 Republicans.

    Out of 18 U.S. House Seats, 12 for Democras and 6 for Republicans.

    The Republican Party is irrelevant in Illinois and the only way Kirk won was due to the Rod Blagojevich scandal. There is no way that Kirk will be reelected in 2016.

    Once again, Axelrod is smarter and much more successful that anyone on the Republican side and yet the media barely pays attention to him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  24. MstrB says:

    I’m going to defer to P.J. O’Rourke on this one:

    The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. Matt Bernius says:

    @beth:

    @superdestroyer: Wow, it seems like you’re describing a one-party country. Do you think that could actually happen?

    You know, he has a great newsletter you can subscribe to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  26. Paul L. says:

    @al-Ameda:
    When documents were kept from Congress under Executive privilege for the 1983 terror bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon?

    @James Pearce:
    Funny being call a Benghazi truther by a Benghazi Denier.
    Bet you follow the Media Matters narrative they are still promoting that a YouTube video caused Benghazi and Fast and Furious was caused by the ATF whistle blowers?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 20

  27. mantis says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Illinois State Senate: 40 Democrats and 19 Republicans.
    Illinois State House: 71 Democrats and 47 Republicans.

    Out of 18 U.S. House Seats, 12 for Democras and 6 for Republicans.

    I guess all of those positions are below dog catcher.

    The Republican Party is irrelevant in Illinois and the only way Kirk won was due to the Rod Blagojevich scandal.

    He won twice, in the election to finish Burris’s term and the 2010 election. Blagojevich was not really a factor.

    There is no way that Kirk will be reelected in 2016.

    Well, we’ve never known you to be wrong before! Wait…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @mantis:

    Since 1984, only one Republican has won a Senate race in Illinois during a presidential election. That was Peter Fitzgerald in 1980 when he won due to a another corruption scandal in Illinois. However, given the demographic changes in Illinois, I doubt if any corruption scandal would be big enough to off set all of the automatic Democratic voters in Illinois who turn out for a presidential election.

    Axelrod and his group has found a way to establish one party rule in Illinois without having to deliver good government or keep the voters happy. That is probably a great feat of political genius than anything the Republicans can dream of in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  29. Pinky says:

    Oh, I got another one: What’s the Democratic agenda in the Senate for 2015-16? National Review talks to Ted Cruz to find out! Or how about this: What would a sane person do in the Senate? Alex Jones talks to Kim Jong-Un and a guy who’s reading a Michael Tomasky article! (The worst thing is, I had read the Tomasky piece. There’s something about the Daily Beast. It’s like Al Pacino doing Shakespeare, drunk. It’s not simply one thing going wrong; it’s every possible thing going wrong at once.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  30. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    Yeah, if we want to know what Republicans are thinking, let’s (snicker) ask Michael Tomasky. He’ll ask everyone from Normal Ornstein to the Center for American Progress.

    Ornstein’s the one who works for the American Enterprise Institute, so this kinda falls flat. You’d’ve been better off with Mann at Brookings instead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  31. James Pearce says:

    @Paul L.:

    Bet you follow the Media Matters narrative they are still promoting that a YouTube video caused Benghazi and Fast and Furious was caused by the ATF whistle blowers?

    First, I’m an OTB man, not a Media Matters man.

    Second, If a “Benghazi denier” means that you believe that the ultimate responsibility for the attack in Benghazi lies with the perpetrators rather than with various American government officials, then yes, I’m a Benghazi denier.

    There would be room to criticize the actions of the government officials, but after listening to two years of bullshit on the subject, most people just don’t have the stomach for it.

    Third, you should understand that “nailing the Obama administration for Benghazi and Fast and the Furious” ranks quite low on the list of national priorities, and that would still be true even if we continue to hear about it for the remainder of calendar year 2014. In other words, turning up the volume on this stuff won’t help you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  32. superdestroyer says:

    I find it odd that no one has noticed but from a policy or governance POV, it does not matter whether the Democrats retain control of Senate or if the Repubicans win control. Since nothng is going to pass that the Republicans supports, it does not matter what happens.

    In reality, the Repubicans are irrelevant to politics in the U.S. even if they do win control of the Senate. In such a scenario the Republicans will pass legislation that they support and it will be vetoed or they can vote for whatever the Democrats want and also be irrelevant.

    It would be nice if a few pundits and wonks would recognize how irrelevant to the operations of the government. Even if the Republicans hold hearings and conduct investigations, such proceedings would be irrelevant. Whatever the Republicans pass will be vetoed and thus will be irrelevant. Even if the Republicans managed to get Secretaries in front of committees, the hearings will be irrelevant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Paul L. says:

    “nailing the Obama administration for Benghazi and Fast and the Furious” ranks quite low on the list of national priorities

    Remember these high national properties from the Democrats?
    Mission Accomplished.
    Secret Agent Valerie Plame.
    Firing of US Attorneys

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  34. Eric Florack says:

    @Paul L.: indeed… and that seems the lefts biggest fear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  35. wr says:

    @Pinky: Honestly, Pinky, it wasn’t that we didn’t see your wacky attempt at humor. We were trying to spare your dignity by pretending it never happened.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  36. Eric Florack says:

    @superdestroyer: True to a larger degree than I’m comfortable with.

    Of course part of the problem you describe is the GOP wanting to go-along/get-along.
    That could change, however. Remember, the only gains the GOP has had in the last few cycles have been tea party types. In other words the go-getters, the real constitutional conservatives are the only ones getting elected. What happens when the conservative tipping point is reached?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  37. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: I gather you’re not familiar with Ornstein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  38. Tillman says:

    @wr: Well some of us tried to give notes. I mean, this is Tomasky we’re talking about, he’s not the most unbiased person, and getting quotes from Schumer, Warren, and Brown didn’t help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. An Interested Party says:

    Now Witness the power of this fully armed and operational Fast and Furious Investigation.

    Oh good luck with that…if Republicans want to be marginalized in 2016, they would do well to follow your advice…

    Remember these high national properties from the Democrats?

    Yes–ACA, which they got passed…

    Yeah, if we want to know what Republicans are thinking, let’s (snicker) ask Michael Tomasky.

    Oh, I got another one: What’s the Democratic agenda in the Senate for 2015-16? National Review talks to Ted Cruz to find out!

    Despite your feeble attempt to appear as some kind of non-partisan humorist, we need only look at what Republicans have already done to gauge what they might do if they retake the Senate…certainly their numerous attempts to repeal ACA shouldn’t fill anyone with confidence that Republicans will be doing much of anything that will be reasonable and/or constructive…

    Of course part of the problem you describe is the GOP wanting to go-along/get-along.

    Oh sure, because all those previously mentioned attempts to repeal ACA were nothing more than “go-along/get-along”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  40. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: You mean one of two scholars who’ve been studying Congress for forty years? Yes, I’m familiar with him.

    Are you suddenly saying AEI is a liberal institution?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  41. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: No. Come on, you’re not dumb. Let one of the clowns say that stuff. If you’re familiar with Ornstein, you know that he’s always good for a “Republicans shouldn’t be obstructionist” quote. That doesn’t mean AEI is liberal. Tomasky knew what he was getting when he called Ornstein. You’ll even admit how weak the Daily Beast article is upthread, as long as it’s to someone else. (My keyboard has a “page up” key. I only had to hit it a couple of times.) Brookings people don’t all think identically, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  42. Andre Kenji says:

    Bruce Bartlett says that Ornstein is the Liberal that works in a Conservative Think Tank. AEI may be Conservative, Ornstein is not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  43. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I find it odd that no one has noticed but from a policy or governance POV, it does not matter whether the Democrats retain control of Senate or if the Repubicans win control.

    Partially true, but not for the reasons you think. The Republicans will still hold the House, so nothing the Democrats want will get through and Obama will still be in the WH, so the Republicans can only get so much.

    Since nothng is going to pass that the Republicans supports, it does not matter what happens.

    They will have the House and will be close to even in the Senate and still you whine as if that gives them no power, pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  44. MarkedMan says:

    Some politicians are elected with an agenda to accomplish things. Some are elected because they are blowhards whose schtick primarily consists of “Those (yankees, darkies, intellectuals, rednecks, liberals, extreme conservatives, etc, etc, etc) are a bunch of losers and idiots. The latter have no actual agenda and therefore spend what little legislative time they have on base rallying with things like abortion restrictions, flag burning amendments, gun rights laws (pro or con depending on their base), prayer in school, birth certificates and Benghazi(!!!).

    Of course, no matter which category they lean to, they will spend significant legislative time supporting their supporters, consisting of two main categories: monied interests and large groupings of voters.

    The modern day Republican party, at least at the national level, consists almost exclusively of the blowhard variety. Their base consists of monied interests (same as the Dems) and voters who lean heavily towards a “My Team, Right or Wrong” mentality. They have little interest in government solving actual problems or making strategic investments in infrastructure and are very content for their elected officials to champion things like abortion restrictions and prayer in school. The other base, the monied interests, will be well supported, but more quietly and of course have no interests other than advancement of their narrow causes.

    So a Republican majority in both houses will accomplish absolutely nothing of import and spend their time on nonsense. They will govern exactly as if they were Fox news commentators and take their lead from, well, the people the Fox news commentators take their lead from. I would love to be wrong about this, and wish there was something to be done, but don’t see any real possibility. And the US will continue to squander opportunity after opportunity while our global competitors improve by 5-10% every year, year after year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  45. dennis says:

    WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!! Did Florack really just write this???

    Of course part of the problem you describe is the GOP wanting to go-along/get-along.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  46. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    @al-Ameda:
    When documents were kept from Congress under Executive privilege for the 1983 terror bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon?

    Nice evasion.
    What serious investigation was undertaken by Republicans concerning the death of 240 Marines? Republicans are conducting what is now a nearly 2 year investigation concerning the death of 4 Americans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  47. Grewgills says:

    @dennis:
    I think the answer lies here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  48. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    The only power the Republicans have not is to obstruct. That does not change wheather the Republicans win control of the Senate or not. The Republicans are capable of stopping the worst type of legislation that they do not like but are not capable of passing and having the president sign any legislation that they do like.

    Since the House no longer has any real budget authority, then the Republicans in the House are irrelevant. If the Republicans win control of the Senate, the real budget authority doe s not change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. @superdestroyer: Ever heard of George Ryan (R), who was elected to numerous statewide offices, including Governor until he was thrown in prison for corruption which resulted in at least in the deaths of at least eight people?

    His predecessor was Jim Edgar (R), who served two terms as Governor.

    Illinois State Senate: 40 Democrats and 19 Republicans.
    Illinois State House: 71 Democrats and 47 Republicans.

    Out of 18 U.S. House Seats, 12 for Democras and 6 for Republicans.

    Hey, let’s go look at the statistics on Alabama:
    Alabama State House: 66 Republicans and 38 Democrats.
    Alabama State State: 23 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

    Congressional: 6 Republicans and 1 Democrat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  50. C. Clavin says:

    WHERE IS THE MONTHLY, WHINEY-A$$ED, JOB NUMBERS POST???????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  51. Pinky says:

    @Andre Kenji: I wouldn’t say that Ornstein is a liberal. But he and Mann wrote a book about political obstruction that put most of the blame on Republicans. You ask them what the Republicans might do, you know exactly what they’ll answer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  52. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: And, again, him and Mann have been studying Congress for forty years. If they sound like a broken record recently when they say Republicans are obstructing, it’s probably because Republicans are obstructing.

    But my point was you still would’ve been better off going with Mann since his institution at least is known for being leftish.

    You’ll even admit how weak the Daily Beast article is upthread, as long as it’s to someone else.

    I’ll be dumb to whoever I want to be, thank you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  53. Rob in CT says:

    Of course the policy implications aren’t huge. Divided government + ideological sorting = gridlock. The GOP can’t pass its agenda, and neither can the Democratic Party. Stalemate.

    With ideologically coherent parties, the only time you’re going to get things done with when one of the parties manages to control the WH and both houses of Congress. The last time we had significant legislation was during the period when the Dems had that (a few months, given what happened with Franken and Kennedy).

    This is not rocket science. The next time we might see significant action is 2017, *if* by some miracle the Dems can win the WH, hold/retake the Senate and take the House (that last one seems pretty unlikely, even if the GOP does its level best to implode).

    So, without the possibility of actual enacting anything significant, what will we get? Petty bullshit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. Tillman says:

    @Rob in CT: Look, I’m not a fan of your pessimism. The truth is there are a lot of post offices out there named after KKK leaders. Those post offices need new names! Who else will do the job?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  55. Rob in CT says:

    that seems the lefts biggest fear

    Snicker, snort. I’m really glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I saw this. Once again, thanks for checking in from the alternative universe. The idea that lefties are worried about more fruitless Benghazi nonsense is adorable.

    The Star Wars reference was cute, though. Marrying two of the more beloved fantasies of Wingers for whom it’s always ~1979 (Jedi came out in what, ’83? Close enough).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  56. Pinky says:

    @Tillman:

    And, again, him and Mann have been studying Congress for forty years. If they sound like a broken record recently when they say Republicans are obstructing, it’s probably because Republicans are obstructing.

    Maybe, maybe not, but my point was that Tomasky’s article was hackery. He wrote it before he wrote a word of it.

    But my point was you still would’ve been better off going with Mann since his institution at least is known for being leftish.

    If I were trying to score points, sure. If I were playing a guilt-by-association game. I chose Ornstein because he’s better-known and his quote was more prominent in the piece.

    Think tanks vary in quality and in uniformity. AEI and Brookings have good reputations for analysis. I’m not going to write off their work or their staff out of hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  57. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: Damn it, man, stop letting real-world complexity interfere with a good gibe!

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  58. Woody says:

    The Republican Party is not rewarded for passing legislation so much as it is rewarded by legitimizing the beliefs and fears of its base.

    There is only downside to actually enacting legislation the base calls for, as it removes the organizing principles that tie their disparate blocs together. The best example of this is the fact that the GOP owned the government at the turn of the century yet somehow neglected the abortion issue (they did, of course, reward their financial supporters quite well).

    Republican policies are strong on assertions and attention-getting, but famously vague on details (see, “Ryan Plan”) for a reason. They are low-risk/high reward. Actual policies are high risk/moderate reward, at best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  59. dennis says:

    @Grewgills:

    Excellent. That summed it up perfectly, thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  60. dennis says:

    @Rob in CT:

    “So, without the possibility of actual enacting anything significant, what will we get? More petty bullshit.”

    There ya go, Rob. You left out a word.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  61. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: I can’t believe everyone downvoted Pinky saying I wasn’t dumb… Way to go, guys, real blow to my self-esteem there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  62. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: Look at the bright side. If they upvoted your “are you saying that AEI is liberal” comment, then who cares what they think? :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  63. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    The Democrats know that all they have to do is change the demographics and they can win in Alabama. However, there is nothing that conservatives can do to win in Illinois. It is kind of hard to claim that the Democrats care about winning in Alabama given the Democrats refusal to try to appeal to middle class whites. Even in a state with problems like Alabama, all the Democrats care about is the number of whites attending public schools in Tuscalosa (See the most recent Atlantic magazine).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    So a solidly Republican state like Alabama is facing it’s problems because Democrats don’t care to appeal to middle class whites?
    You win the Bittie for today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    When the question is why do the Republicans dominant in a state like Alabama, the easiest answer is that the Democratic Party in Alabama has no interest in appealing to blue collar and middle class whites. I used, as an example of the lack of concern about blue collar and middle class whites, the recent article in The Atlantic, about public schools in Tuscalosa, Alabama. If the Democrats in Aabama really wanted to win a majority in the state, they would trying harder to address the concerns of middle class white parents rather than discussing ways to bring back busing and forced integration to the public schools. I assume that the Democrats in Alabama do not care about winning because they believe that they long term demographic changes in Alabama will eventually turn the state blue and thus, they do not need to appeal to whites.

    On the other hand, there is nothing the Republicans can do to become the majority in Illinois again. If more than 50% of the voters are automatic Democratic Party voters, what can the Republicans do. As Illinois becomes less whites, what can the Republicans do. As the biggest employers in the state are state and local governments, what can the party of the private sector do?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Paul L.: Did you type that first sentence with Darth Vader sound effect going on inside the head? Benghazi? LMAO! It’s good to know we have a political party in this country that believes we should conduct combat operations in a country and the enemy should never retaliate. When they do (and the opposition has the Presidency) there should be investigations. Welcome to wingnut land.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. Pharoah Narim says:

    The truth of the embassy attack has already been reported. We killed an Al Queda chief in the region and his crew wanted payback. The used the Sept 11 anniversary and the prospect of demonstrations as cover to get their men in place close to the embassy without triggering an early response. There’s nothing more to this than that. These guys are on scholarship too…They can’t win the game but the can score a few points. Get Over It! It’s War!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  68. Moosebreath says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “On the other hand, there is nothing the Republicans can do to become the majority in Illinois again”

    Even by your typical delusional standards, this is something. The last time a Democrat won the governor’s mansion in Alabama was 1998, the same year a Republican last won the Illinois Governor’s mansion. However, the Republicans held the Illinois Governor’s mansion continually from 1977 until 2003. At the very best this is a wash.

    The last time a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama was 1990. Since that time, Republicans won 2 Senate seats in Illinois (Fitzgerald in 1998 and Kirk in 2010). Clearly, Republicans have shown they can win state-wide in Illinois at the Senate level.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  69. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    So Illinois has problems because of its Democratic majority. Alabama on the other hand has problems because the Democrats don’t care enough to be a majority. Clearly in your world no matter who is in the majority all of the problems lie at the feet of Democrats. This is beyond your normal monomaniacal demographics is all and we are doomed to a one party socialist democratic state nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    Looking at the two states shows why the U.S. will be a one party state. Many people claim that the Republicans can become relevant again in Illinois by moving to the left, running RINO-like candidates, and going along with most of what the Democrats want anyway. However, look at what people are saying is the key to turn states from red to blue: change the demographics. There is no call in Alabama for Democrats to move to the right, to try to appeal to middle class white voters, or to go along with anyting the Republican propose.

    When you look at how differently most people view the two parties, one can reach no other conclusion but that the U.S. will become a one party state and that policy and governance will be led from the left side of the political process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  71. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    There is no call in Alabama for Democrats to move to the right, to try to appeal to middle class white voters

    You have quite obviously never been to Alabama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    Should I just go ask Artur Davis what happens when Democrats in Alabama try to move to the middle? Or did I miss something. What has Terri Sewell done to appeal to whites and espeically white males in Alabama?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    So your argument hinges on an African American congressperson in a heavily urban and African American district moves to the right and is replaced after switching party allegiance to the Republicans.

    What has Terri Sewell done to appeal to whites and espeically white males in Alabama?

    Terri Sewell serves her constituency which is majority urban and African American.

    Now if we want to look at what actually happens to Alabama Democrats that try to appeal to the center we can look at the minority leader in the House, Craig Ford. See in the real world there are Southern Democrats that are conservative and spend quite a bit of time and energy trying to appeal to the people you pretend they ignore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  74. mannning says:

    Republican and conservative plan for 2016

    The more compelling situation is a republican win sweeping not only both houses, but also the presidency in 2016. With that power lineup several pogroms and clean sweepings would occur:

    1 ) regulations passed by the thousands in this administration would be purged.
    2 ) executive orders that are contrary to republcan/conservative ideals would be rescinded.
    3 ) a host of resignations by current Obama loyalists would be accepted, and others would be made innocuous in dead-end positions There might even be a czar less WH!
    4 ) considerable modification, additions or deletions would take place in ACA.
    5 ) military expenditures would rise to create a defense force of great power.
    6 ) the tax code would be subjected to a significant change, perhaps even revenue neutral.
    7 ) the idea of forced redistribution of wealth would be tabled yet again.
    8 ) a plan to reduce the number of government organizations and their budgets would be set in motion, along with their staffing levels and basic reduction of mission creep. BRAC would be the model..The usual cry to reduce fraud and waste would be emphasized.
    9 ) Education would be attacked full force to foster better outcomes.
    10) Government unions would be slated for elimination one way or another.
    11) constraints on small business would be relaxed significantly to further job creation.
    12) conservative financial efforts would be put in place to reduce the deficit and a plan to reduce the national debt would be promoted.
    13) efforts to bypass, modify, or ignore the Constitution wiil be halted.
    14) The elements of this plan will be massively promoted across the nation.

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