Republicans Need To Ask For A Mandate

If Republicans stick to their current (apparent) game plan and just run on not being Democrats, they will have neither a mandate to repeal Obamacare, et al, nor the will.

Assuming (as I do) that the GOP will take at least the House, and possibly the Senate, the party must run on specific proposals in order to garner the leverage necessary to roll back the last few years of Democratic excesses. If they stick to their current (apparent) game plan and just run on not being Democrats, they will have neither a mandate to repeal Obamacare, et al, nor the will.

Unfortunately, despite a series of “Establishment” Republicans being sent packing by the base, all the signs so far indicate that McConnell and Co. just want to get their power back, not to actually do anything with it. Boehner’s been better, but the resistance to campaigning on a theme of, say, Paul Ryan’s Roadmap is unmistakable. The party need not endorse the specifics of Ryan’s plan in every particular to set forth a plan of action along those lines.

Gov. Chris Christie specifically ran on reforming the budget, regulatory regime, public pensions, and education. And he’s managed to make major strides toward all of those goals while maintaining an approval rating above 50%. He had the guts and foresight to tell New Jersey voters what he was going to do and his opposition can’t ignore the fact that they endorsed his plans.

Campaigns run on vague promises and throwing out the other side don’t tend to create that kind of political capital. Barack “I Won” Obama is not Bill Clinton. He’s considerably more ideological and therefore unlikely stick his finger in the wind, declare the era of big government over again, and triangulate. The only way to get past his veto pen is to have the stiff breeze of an explicit endorsement of the electorate at our backs.

Republicans lost their legislative majorities in large part because the base was disgusted with GOP profligacy and stayed home in 2006. Now the Democrats have overreached, thumbing their noses at the electorate’s mood to ram through unpopular, deeply ideological legislation. If there was ever a time when the voters would support cutting the size of government, it’s now. But to actually be able to do anything substantive toward that end, the GOP has to have been expressly given a mandate to do so. Which means they have to ask for it.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2010
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. Why would they want to repeal Obamacare?  If they do that they won’t be able to run against it in 2012.

  2. ponce says:

    Nihilism is a game plan.

  3. Herb says:

    You were doing pretty good until you got to this part:

    “Now the Democrats have overreached, thumbing their noses at the electorate’s mood to ram through unpopular, deeply ideological legislation. If there was ever a time when the voters would support cutting the size of government, it’s now.”

    The electorate doesn’t have a mood.  The electorate is made up of people, and those people have moods.  Some hate Obamacare, some love it.
    As to “ram through unpopular, deeply ideological legislation,” well that’s one way to characterize a 60-39 vote in the senate where the opposition was mostly of an ideological (as opposed to practical) nature.   Setting a low bar here, don’t ya think?

  4. floyd says:

    I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: `because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters .’
    `He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. `You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’
    `That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. `Then I like the Carpenter best — if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’
    `But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.
     
    This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, `Well! They were both very unpleasant characters —

     So which party should one choose??

  5. So which party should one choose??

    Want to know how to not lose money at three card monty?  Stop playing.

  6. BTW, how does the quote thing work?  I can’t figure out how to make just part of the message a quote?  Really, I don’t get why you want let us just use the <blockquote> tag again, instead of forcing this goofy user interface on us.

  7. Herb says:

    Stomy, here’s how to do it:  Write your whole comment, including anything you want to quote.  Then go back and highlight what you want to quote, then click the double quotes above.  If you try to do it before or during you’re gonna mess yourself up.

  8. Tano says:

    The only way to get past his veto pen is to have the stiff breeze of an explicit endorsement of the electorate at our backs.

     
    Yeah, that plus 67 votes in the Senate plus 290 in the House should do the trick.

  9. reid says:

    Dodd, that wasn’t bad until you started slinging some mud at Obama.  The Republicans do need some sort of plan of their own.  I don’t see a lot of specifics they can promise that won’t hurt a lot of people (cuts to SS, etc.) or look hypocritical (cut taxes and maintain spending, as before).  They can’t up the ante on foreign affairs; we’re a little burned out on wars, and Obama’s been pretty hawkish.
     

    [Obama is] considerably more ideological and therefore unlikely stick his finger in the wind, declare the era of big government over again, and triangulate.

     
    That’s nonsense.  He’s compromised on a lot of things in his term.  And “era of big government over”?  Now that’s a meaningless, loaded ideological phrase.  Did you forget to call him a marxist liberal when you had the chance?
     

    ram through unpopular, deeply ideological legislation.
     

    More nonsense.  Health care reform didn’t have to be a “deeply ideological” piece of legislation.  It was the clowns on the right who turned a middle-of-the-road plan into an unserious political three ring circus.  Death panels and socialism and tort reform!!!  And as far as it’s being unpopular, how many people today even know what it is?  I suspect a fairly large percentage of those opposed (and those for) have no clue.

  10. mantis says:

    the resistance to campaigning on a theme of, say, Paul Ryan’s Roadmap is unmistakable.
    So Republicans haven’t lined up behing Ryan’s Roadmap to increase the deficit, destroy Medicare and Social Security, and give a big taxcut to rich people and corporations while raising taxes for the other 95%?  What a shock.  They are dumb, but not that dumb.

  11. The issues driving this election cycle are jobs, jobs, and, oh yeah, jobs. To the extent the GOP puts forward an agenda that talks about anything else at this point, they are making a mistake. Obama’s failures to date are judged by the state of the economy. The same thing will happen to the GOP Congress, assuming there is one.

  12. Steve Plunk says:

    “It’s the economy stupid”
     
    That’s pretty much what Doug is saying.  Economy first, health care second.  The reform was rammed through and not properly written, analyzed, or approved by the people.  It should be reformed or repealed but the economy must come first.  Repeal of Obamacare would help the economy but other steps can be taken much easier.
     
    Ryan’s road map should be refined and put out as another “Contract with America”.  Clearly defined goals can only help the Republicans.  The public has now seen the true color of progressives in America and want nothing to do with quasi-socialist income redistribution plans.  Americans are also tired of public employees being a privileged class joined at the hip with the Democratic party.  When made aware of what Dems represent the public recoils.

  13. Davebo says:

    The reform was rammed through and not properly written, analyzed, or approved by the people.

    Like every other bill passed by congress over the past 210 years?

    But if you’re saying is sucks, I agree.  But probably not for the same reasons.

  14. Tano says:

    Obama’s failures to date are judged by the state of the economy. The same thing will happen to the GOP Congress, assuming there is one.
     

    Fascinating, isn’t it? This is a pretty fair characterization of the pressure that the American people put on the elected officials of the federal government. Its almost as if, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, that the American people have some deep-seated desire and need to have the federal government assume full responsibility for the state of the economy.
     
    Of course if the people continue to demand this, by voting politicians out of office if election day happens to fall in the midst of an economic downturn, then politicians will, do whatever they need to do in order to have actual control over the economy. How else would they have any hope of being able to weather such storms?
     
    Are Americans really socialists at heart?

  15. Herb says:

    Repeal of Obamacare would help the economy but other steps can be taken much easier.

    Steve……I know you believe this with every fiber of your being, but Obamacare has not even been implemented.  How can repealing the plan that hasn’t even been implemented improve the economy?
     
    Oh, that’s right…it can’t.

    The public has now seen the true color of progressives in America and want nothing to do with quasi-socialist income redistribution plans.  Americans are also tired of public employees being a privileged class joined at the hip with the Democratic party.

    Get ready for another Obama tax cut coming your way.  (Check the Wall Street Journal.)  Is this one of your “quasi-socialist income redistribution plans?”  As for public employees being a privileged class?  Dude…..this is not just Upside Down Land material, it’s friggin laughable.

  16. I’m fascinated. Everyone keeps talking about Democratic extremism… but then can’t name any specific instance.  You don’t like “ObamaCare.”  Really, none of it?  You don’t think it is a good idea to allow people to buy insurance at pool rates from exchanges?  Why not?  And why is supporting that particularly extreme?  How about the pre-existing conditions issue? Why again, is it extreme to regulate against that?  Okay, I get it, the individual mandate is an imposition on liberty.  It is.  But a pretty small one, no?  You can get rid of this imposition for, what, $750 a year or less than any of us pay in property taxes or gas taxes or all sorts of other taxes/fees.  And it isn’t like there is no quid pro quo.  For that $750 a year, you get the opportunity to buy insurance at pool rates even AFTER you get sick.  Again, I get that this might be unpopular and that reasonable people can disagree.  But calling it an act of extremism strikes me as bizarre.

    Other than that, Obama has cut taxes on 95% of the population, and it is hard to see what other specific acts of extremism might be rolled back.

    The reason the GOP doesn’t run on specifics is that this isn’t about specifics.  This is about winning elections by painting Obama as a Socialist Muslim regardless of whether that reflects reality.

  17. steve says:

    The public has now seen the true color of progressives in America and want nothing to do with quasi-socialist income redistribution plans.

    If you look at income and wealth data we have already undergone a huge wealth redistribution. All upward to the top 0.1% of earners and to our retirees.

    Steve

  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    Not only are chickens being counted, they’re being served with roast potatoes and carrots.  

  19. sam says:

    @Plunk

    Ryan’s road map should be refined and put out as another “Contract with America”. Clearly defined goals can only help the Republicans. The public has now seen the true color of progressives in America and want nothing to do with quasi-socialist income redistribution plans.

    The problem is that the Republican leadership seems not to want to have anything much to do with Ryan’s plan. I believe the Republican Party’s only man of color, John Boehner, made a point of saying, it is his [Ryan’s] plan, with an emphasis on the his.In other words, that’s nice, but, no dice. As for not wanting “quasi-socialist income redistribution plans,” the only ones that immediately come to mind are Social Security and Medicare (maybe Medicaid, too). They’re pretty popular, or so I’ve read. The most they will ever try and do vis-a-vis Obamacare is to try and repeal the individual mandate, and they will fail if they try — best chance, the courts (‘best’ doesn’t mean ‘good’, either). What they will probably be left with is — quelle surprise — tax cuts and “reforming regulations”. Tax cuts, well, they are Republicans and have some mystical belief that tax cuts are the universal solvent for whatever ails us. And the regulations they will try and reform will probably be those impacting the banking and finance industry. Now, the American public does have a short memory, but not so short as to have forgotten the financial meltdown. In the underpantheon of people folks don’t like, bankers and financial “wizards” are pretty near the top. So, reform away (if they dare).
     
    All that is academic, though, because what they will really do, if they win the House, is set in motion Hearingpalooza, with Michelle Bachmann and Darrell Issa baying away in front of the pack. Those kind of antics worked real well when Clinton was president. And if they, in a moment of outstanding stupidity (well, they are Republicans), try and impeach Obama, oh my.

  20. Dodd says:

    And “era of big government over”?  Now that’s a meaningless, loaded ideological phrase.  Did you forget to call him a marxist liberal when you had the chance?

    Um, that phrase is taken verbatim from Bill Clinton explicitly announcing his triangulation. I don’t disagree with you to the extent that “meaningless” implies Clinton didn’t really mean it, but I don’t think that’s what you meant.

  21. mantis says:

    what they will really do, if they win the House, is set in motion Hearingpalooza, with Michelle Bachmann and Darrell Issa baying away in front of the pack. Those kind of antics worked real well when Clinton was president. And if they, in a moment of outstanding stupidity (well, they are Republicans), try and impeach Obama, oh my.


    Don’t forget the government shutdown.  We can pretty much count on that.  These people hate the government.  One wonders why they want to work there.

  22. reid says:

    Dodd: Didn’t catch that one, no.  I don’t remember that.  Silly Clinton.

  23. Dodd says:

    I know you believe this with every fiber of your being, but Obamacare has not even been implemented.  How can repealing the plan that hasn’t even been implemented improve the economy?

    Oh, that’s right…it can’t.

    A large portion of the problem with the economy and unemployment is the uncertainty. Repealing Obamacare, along with other overreaches I didn’t specify but did allude to, would remove a lot of that uncertainty.

    I certainly agree with Doug that jobs have to be at the forefront of the message. But all of this stuff is tied together. Democrat fiscal policy isn’t just about taxes. It’s about all the various and sundry ways they’ve made it ever so much harder for any business to know what regulatory and tax schemes it’s going to have to survive under over the next few years. Obamacare, financial “reform,” tax policy… they all affect the bottom line on jobs. And voters know it.

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    “The problem is that the Republican leadership seems not to want to have anything much to do with Ryan’s plan. ”

    Well that would be because it involves yet more tax breaks for business and the wealthy while the “savings” involve the wholesale destruction of SS, Medicare, Medicaid and various other govt programs and are therefore never ever going to be enacted. In short it’s for the birds.  

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    Dodd says:

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 16:12
    “A large portion of the problem with the economy and unemployment is the uncertainty.”

    The only uncertainty for business is their forecast level of sales and this comes down to the level of demand in the economy. The notion that Cisco, GE, GM, CVS, Cat, Merck, BoA and businesses large and small are holding off hiring people or expanding capacity because of “uncertainty” about healthcare or financial reform is absurd. The problem is that we have a economy with plenty of spare capacity and a shortage of demand. And your implication that voters didn’t want financial reform is equally absurd.          
     

  26. Herb says:

    A large portion of the problem with the economy and unemployment is the uncertainty.

    I see., so now we want the government to provide guaranteed outcomes…  Listen to Morrison, man:  “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.”  (FWIW:  I’m fairly certain that I won’t lose my insurance when I get sick….thanks to Obamacare.)

    they’ve made it ever so much harder for any business to know what regulatory and tax schemes

    Yeah, business is hard.  Making a profit is hard.  Complying with regulatory and tax schemes is hard.   But if you go into business, it’s your duty to know these things.  It’s not optional.   7-11 doesn’t get to say, “Well, shoot I didn’t know I needed a liquor license to sell beer.  And a tax license?  Heck, man, all this stuff is soooo hard and complex.”
     
    Here’s another thing voters know, from a new report you might see floating around:

    “A new report concludes that chief executives of the 50 firms that have laid off the most workers since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008 took home 42 percent more pay in 2009 than their peers at other large U.S. companies.”

  27. Steve Plunk says:

    Dodd beat me to it but the uncertainty of what Obamacare will entail along with additional regulatory burdens from other agencies has business frozen.  It has undermined business confidence and consumer confidence.  Why in blazes didn’t they just pass smaller bills, gauge their effectiveness, and move prudently?  No, they would rather pass a thousand page bill that nobody understood and was likely filled with a myriad of unintended consequences.  That’s poor legislating and poor governance.
     
    As for the “pretty small” imposition on my individual liberty why should I pay anything to the government for my liberty concerning my own body and health care?

  28. Pug says:

    …the Republican Party’s only man of color, John Boehner…

    I guess being orange does qualify one as a person of color.

  29. Brummagem Joe says:

    Steve Plunk says:

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 16:59

    “Dodd beat me to it but the uncertainty of what Obamacare will entail along with additional regulatory burdens from other agencies has business frozen.”

    I can see Steve that you have as accurate an idea of how business works as you do about when the housing bubble started to deflate. I’m involved with a couple of medium sized businesses making widgets in the midwest and “uncertainty” about healthcare or financial reform is not even on the radar. Some minor issues about accounting rule changes but that’s it.  

  30. Herb says:

    I’m involved with a couple of medium sized businesses making widgets in the midwest and “uncertainty” about healthcare or financial reform is not even on the radar.

    I don’t think it’s on the radar for a lot of firms.  I suspect it might be because most HR departments are staffed by professionals….not professional whiners.  Come to think of it, I’m sure some firms are elated at the passage of Obamacare, among them firms that employ a lot of young people.  (The “26 and under” provision is going to save em buckets of dough, just watch.)
    As to Steve’s question:

    Why in blazes didn’t they just pass smaller bills, gauge their effectiveness, and move prudently?

    You know why.  (Paraphrasing a quote from Die Hard.)  You asked for miracles, Steve?  I give you the G…O…P.

  31. G.A.Phillips says:

    Wait a minute… DAMN! Those greedy Republicans beat me to it! They take all the best scams.

    testing 1..2..3..

  32. G.A.Phillips says:

    blagh….

    Herb?

  33. G.A.Phillips says:

    hell ill go with the italic, they are cooler then the gold bars 🙂 yipeee…..

  34. floyd says:

    “Republicans Need To Ask For A Mandate”

       Ken Mehlman already did…. didn’t he? 

  35. Dodd says:

    The only uncertainty for business is their forecast level of sales and this comes down to the level of demand in the economy. The notion that Cisco, GE, GM, CVS, Cat, Merck, BoA and businesses large and small are holding off hiring people or expanding capacity because of “uncertainty” about healthcare or financial reform is absurd. The problem is that we have a economy with plenty of spare capacity and a shortage of demand.

    The majority of new jobs are created by small businesses. And the data clearly indicate that many are overwhelmed by the uncertainty Democrat policy has created.

    And your implication that voters didn’t want financial reform is equally absurd.

    I made no implication, I flat out said that voters know the “reform” bill Congress passed is a turkey that’s certain to impact job growth – and not for the better. Not to mention the gaping hole that is its dereliction of Fannie and Freddie, which will inevitably require still more legislating.

    As with so many other Obama/Pelosi/Reid initiatives, that doesn’t mean the electorate doesn’t want reform, just that they want good policy instead of what the Democrats gave them.

  36. Tano says:

    I flat out said that voters know the “reform” bill Congress passed is a turkey that’s certain to impact job growth –
     
    And that is ridiculous. I guarantee you that the overwhelming percentage of voters could not tell you one single thing that is in the financial reform bill, let alone make educated predictions as to how it will impact the economy.

  37. Dodd says:

    I guarantee you that the overwhelming percentage of voters could not tell you one single thing that is in the financial reform bill, let alone make educated predictions as to how it will impact the economy.

    I’m sure such condescending attitudes toward the electorate has had no impact at all on Democrats’ electoral prospects.

  38. sam says:

    @Dodd
    “And the data clearly indicate that many are overwhelmed by the uncertainty Democrat policy has created.”
     
    A little nit-picking. The first link that sentence, “overwhelmed” takes us to an opinion piece on a blog that quotes some Fed biggies’ speculations. The second, “uncertainty” takes us to another blog for some more speculation. Now, these are bloggers presenting their opinions, that’s perfectly fine, but don’t you think it’s a bit a stretch to call these opinions data?

  39. Herb says:

    The majority of new jobs are created by small businesses.

    Actually, I was reading somewhere (Yglesias maybe?) that this is a bit misleading.  The majority of new jobs are created by new businessess, which just happen to be small until they get rolling.
     
    Small businesses that remain small will not be an engine of job growth.  And the small business that can’t figure out tax policy and the regulatory environment probably won’t be as success as the small businesses that can.

    This made me laugh, though:

    I’m sure such condescending attitudes toward the electorate has had no impact at all on Democrats’ electoral prospects.

    The condescending attitude of a blog commenter…..having impact on the Democrats’ electoral prospects.  In a perfect Engvallian world, the person who votes against the Dems because of Tano’s comment should hand in their voter registration card and pick up their sign.

  40. Grewgills says:

    Um, that phrase is taken verbatim from Bill Clinton explicitly announcing his triangulation. I don’t disagree with you to the extent that “meaningless” implies Clinton didn’t really mean it, but I don’t think that’s what you meant.

    It’s meaningless regardless of whose mouth it comes out of.

    Dodd beat me to it but the uncertainty of what Obamacare will entail

    The law is written and was for several months before it was passed.  Why is it still uncertain?

    Why in blazes didn’t they just pass smaller bills, gauge their effectiveness, and move prudently?

    Wouldn’t a stream of small bills with no certain knowledge about what would come next cause far more uncertainty?

    I’m sure such condescending attitudes toward the electorate has had no impact at all on Democrats’ electoral prospects.

    Are you saying you disagree?  Do you think that a majority or even a plurality of the electorate could name provisions of the financial reform bill and could make an educated prediction of specific impacts?
    Herb,
    He was talking about the condescending attitude of all progressives, because they are all dripping with it unlike conservatives.

  41. Herb says:

    He was talking about the condescending attitude of all progressives, because they are all dripping with it unlike conservatives.

    Is that sarcastic?  Because it seems to me, “Progressives are condescending but conservatives aren’t” is kind of…I don’t know…condescending.  When Sarah Palin talks about “real Americans,’ that’s not condescending?  When Tea Partiers say that the people who don’t share their views aren’t patriots, that’s not condescending?
     
    Neither party has a monopoly on condescension, and it is, indeed, an arrow in everyone’s quiver.  Complaining about it is pointless.

  42. mantis says:

    Stop being so condescending, Herb.  😉

  43. Tano says:

    I’m sure such condescending attitudes toward the electorate has had no impact at all on Democrats’ electoral prospects.
     

    Well, you are obviously right about that. It would be pretty insulting to the average voter to assume that they make up their minds as to who to vote for based on the attitude they discern in some blog commenter.
     
    It is also interesting to note that you chose not to disagree with my point. I assume you must agree that the overwhelming majority of folks know nothing about what is in the financial reform bill. In fact, I bet you don’t either… (quick, go look it up!)