The GOP Civil War Continues Apace

Republicans continue to fight over their party's future.

Elephants Fighting

Ever since the 2012 elections ended, and indeed well before that, there has been a conversation going on among conservatives and Republicans regarding the future direction of the party and, specifically, what the 2012 election and the trends it made apparent means for the GOP’s future. One of the most common topics of discussion, obviously, has been the rather shocking lack of success that Republicans have had among ethnic groups, including not just Latinos but also Asian-Americans both of whom voted heavily for Democratic candidates. The GOP also suffered losses among female and young voters to a far greater extent than they have in the past.

It’s all led to a lot of soul searching on the right and everyone who has a dog in the fight has an opinion. Some people think that the party needs to do little more than change it’s messenger, contending that the reason the party lost in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t because of their ideas or their record, but because of who they nominated. These are the people who contend that all the Republican Party needs to do is nominate a “true conservative,” or as it is often mockingly referred to on Twitter a “truuuuue conservative,” and they will win election after election. The point to the election of Ronald Reagan as “proof” for their argument without realizing that Reagan was not the most conservative candidate in the 1980 Republican Primary field and that he didn’t run as a hard-right conservative in the General Election that year. Others think that all the party needs to do is make a few cosmetic changes — like, say, nominating a Latino for President in 2016 — and everything will be fine. Obviously, most of these strategies are not going to work, and a few of them amount to nothing more than sticking one’s head in the sand. However, there are some on the right who seem to be starting on pointing the party in the right direction.

Red State’s Erick Erickson, for example, used Inauguration Day to call out what has become an increasingly vocal portion of the right:

We have too many outrage pimps on both sides of the aisle whipping the respective bases into a frenzy and fury against the other side. I don’t have enough time or energy to be outraged about it all. There are things to be outraged by, but not everything, and certainly not with full energy dedicated to every perceived slight and grievance.

What I am finding is that among conservatives there is too much outrage, piss, and vinegar. It makes our ideas less effective. We have become humorless, angry opponents of the President instead of happy warriors selling better ideas. We are not even selling ideas.

Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage instead of preachers for a cause. Instead of showing how increasing government harms people, how free markets help people, and how conservative policies benefit all Americans, we scream “Benghazi” and “Fast & Furious.”

We’re off key and off message. We’ve become professional victims dialed up to 10 on the outrage meter. Who the hell wants to listen to conservatives whining and moaning all the time about the outrage du jour? Seriously? Mitt Romney ran a campaign on just how bad things are, but he was rejected by a majority of Americans who felt like he really did not care about them and really had no plans to improve their lives.

Bitching about Benghazi doesn’t do that either.

Be mad at me if you need to. Feel free to express your moral outrage and indignity at me. But then shut up and focus on convincing people not that the President of the United States duly elected by a majority of the American people is a traitor willfully trying to destroy the country, but that our policies will allow people to make the most of their lives and not be dependent on the rising and falling fortunes of Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Rubin makes a similar point:

Republicans are so used to talking to each other via blogs, radio talk shows, conservative conferences and right-leaning think tanks that they seem to have forgotten how to talk to people who aren’t hard-core conservatives.

The people saying Republicans have to make the case for conservatism or need people to make the conservative message often want the speakers just to yell louder and be more dismissive of those who differ. In fact, they have to change the vocabulary of conservatism and the focus from abstract principles to real people.

It is good that Republicans are rethinking their message and their political operation. But if they only double down on what they are already doing, they will make matters worse, not better.

Erickson and Rubin are correct here to point out the messaging problems that the GOP has, as well as the fact that pandering to the most extreme elements of the conservative tends to make it impossible to get Independents and moderate voters to pay attention to your message. The problem that the party faces, it seems to me, isn’t just one of messaging, though. Yes, it would certainly help the situation if there were fewer kooks like Louis Gohmert, Allen West, and Michele Bachmann out there grabbing attention and making it seem as though they speak for the rest of the Republican Party. However, that’s only going to solve part of the problem. Republicans aren’t in trouble because they’re bad messengers, they are in trouble because the policy ideas they are proposing, and their refusal to recognize the fact that they do not control all of the levers of power in Washington, is putting them out of step with American voters most of whom are not nearly as ideological as the conservatives who would remake the party in their own image.

The suggestion to change messaging makes sense, of course, but more is going to be needed, and former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough has a pretty good idea of what that’s going to take:

The president has set a trap for Republicans on a wide range of social issues. Whether the subject is gay rights, global warming or immigration, Barack Obama knows that Republican resistance in a national debate will feed into the meme that conservatives are too reactionary, too out of touch and too white.

Republicans should swim past the bait and focus instead on America’s debt. Let the Democratic Senate pass bills on divisive social issues if Harry Reid can get them through his chamber. House Republicans can focus instead on balancing the budget, simplifying the tax code and saving Medicare.

(…)

Conservatives should avoid chasing the Democrats’ tails on social issues and instead focus on the key legislative challenge of our time – tackling America’s crippling debt. The fact that this strategy feeds into conservative’s core value of limiting the federal government’s reach only makes that pathway more advantageous.

None of this is new advice, of course. Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who passed up a chance to run for President himself in 2012, said much the same thing some two years ago when he suggested that Republicans should move away from emphasizing divisive social issues in order to concentrate on the important issues surrounding the economy and the nation’s fiscal situation. Republicans didn’t listen to Daniels then, and I doubt they’ll listen to Scarborough now. Indeed, the most vocal conservatives I see have been denouncing him as a “RINO” for doing nothing more than speaking the truth about the state of the Republican Party. That, I suspect is what will happen to Erikson and Rubin as well for making their well thought out suggestions for out the party can save it from the future that adhering to the message of the talk radio crowd is sending it toward.

FILED UNDER: General,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Travis Mason-Bushman says:

    The thing is, if they focus on the debt, Republicans would actually have to present their own financial proposals for the federal budget.

    The last time they tried that was the Ryan Budget, and it was a catastrophically-unpopular electoral boat anchor. Mitt Romney paid lip service to it by making Ryan his running mate, but they didn’t touch the actual plan with a ten-foot pole.

    The GOP is, budgetarily, caught between a rock and a hard place. They ideologically cannot assent to any significant revenue increases. They ideologically cannot assent to any significant defense budget reductions – and, in fact, have called for defense budget *increases*. So in order to “balance the budget,” all that’s left would be a significant reduction to entitlement programs *and* completely gutting federal discretionary spending – both of which are hugely electorally unpopular. But (but!) the Republicans can’t even propose reductions to entitlement programs because that would alienate their older voting bloc! So they just push the proposed reductions out to future years and slash benefits for future retirees rather than impact current beneficiaries.

    Of this combination of impossibilities, no coherent strategy can be formed. And so none has been.

  2. Matt says:

    House Republicans can focus instead on balancing the budget, simplifying the tax code and saving Medicare.

    Yeah! Because those topics have been completely ignored in today’s political climate! totally. ignored.

    This is part of the problem too. Even the people who make good points serve them up with a big ole helping of idiocy.

  3. rudderpedals says:

    The knock-down drag-out primary “discussions” (bless the gentle euphemism) reflect a really bad schism. I think schisms attract wedges and levers. In the long run the GOP split will be healthy for the not-insane successor and for the country.

  4. stonetools says:

    Doug, a big part of the the Republican Party brand is social conservatism. The Republicans can’t win without them.Without them, the Republican Party would be about as successful as the Libertarian Party .
    You don’t want to admit that, but them’s the facts.. Socially conservative Republicans do care about the budget, but for them, that’s secondary to abolishing reproductive rights, stopping gay marriage, putting prayer back in schools, and all the stuff economic conservatives like you wince at.
    I’m afraid the Republican Party is as strong as it is BECAUSE of , not DESPITE, the social conservatives. The Republicans made a Faustian bargain by embracing them around the time of Reagan. Now unfortunately, the Republicans have to live with the social conservatives.

  5. Unsympathetic says:

    Unless the GOP changes systemically in very short order:

    Permanent conservative minority.

    It takes a ridiculous amount of ignorance of how people work to conclude that policies deliberately crafted to disenfranchise have any chance of achieving approval by those same groups of people. And Republicans are shocked they have to gerrymander just to stay afloat?

  6. michael reynolds says:

    What Travis and stonetools said above.

    The modern GOP is a three-winged beast: Money, Bombs and Jesus. They aren’t together because they’re a natural fit, they’re together because each is too small and weak to win on their own. The Money Republicans — libertarians — couldn’t carry six states on their own. The Bombs Republicans have never had votes, people don’t vote foreign policy in this country, they’ve just added some decorative bunting.

    The votes are with the Jesus wing. It’s the Jesus wing that carries the south. The Jesus wing are a bunch of ignorant goobers who could not care less about Wall Street and the Money boys. Just as the Money wing holds the Jesus wing in contempt. But it all worked so long as unity brought power. Now that’s not working. Power is shifting to the Democrats, in large part because attitudes on race and gender have shifted permanently away from the social cons.

    Without the possibility of winning the White House the three wings find they really don’t have much in common.

    I have no idea how they’ll be able to pull this mess back together. If the Money wing had any sense they’d take their loss now and set about a long-term growth plan to peel off younger voters who will come to resent the fact that they’re paying for a lot of well-off old farts. As long as Money is attached to Jesus they haven’t got a prayer of doing that.

  7. David M says:

    Scarborough is ignoring what the actual GOP priorities are, lowering taxes on higher incomes and making the poor miserable by gutting the social safety net. Actually working on balancing the budget does not further their current priorities, as evidenced by their actions over the last 30 years.

  8. sam says:

    “the meme that conservatives are too reactionary, too out of touch and too white” Joe should have added, “too old” — immortalized for me by Charlie Cook referring to them as the “pre-dead”.

  9. sam says:

    Heh — pretty sure ‘immortalized’ wasn’t quite the right word there.

  10. Scott F. says:

    @Travis Mason-Bushman: That’s it exactly, Travis!

  11. Liberty60 says:

    Back in the day, I thought I could talk sense into conservatives- I had an account on RedState and wrote a few diaries about spending and budgets.
    I laid out a simple premise, similar to what travis mentioned- that in order to balance the budget, defense would have to be cut and taxes raised, even if only modestly.

    What was interesting is that no one could argue otherwise with numbers- mostly it was careful phrasing about how there must be other options, surely, in the Dept of WelfareWasteNFraud.

    Eventually I got banned.

    The Jesus wing doesn’t just hold the votes- they hold the whip hand of ideology as well- the party that used to be the green eye shade guys are now the Lysenkoists, feverishly chanting magic theory about the Laffer Curve.

    Not sure what it will take to fix, but it will be more than invoking the name Marco Rubio three times.

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    In the business I was in before I became a teacher, we used to say “you can’t sell stuff off of an empty wagon.” It’s still true for the GOP. Eric Erickson is prattling on about selling ideas, but there aren’t any. There’s only blather about fake national anthems, fake inaugurations, and Kenyan anti-colonial socialism (whatever the f$%k that means).

  13. superdestroyer says:

    @Travis Mason-Bushman:

    There is no way for the Republicans to win an argument on debt when all the Democrats have to do is demand that the Republicans propose specific cuts and then demagoge them on it.

    As long as the Democrats claim that everyone can get what they want from the government and taxes on the rich can pay for it, the Democrats will always win the argument. When a country when less than half the people pay income taxes, most of the voters do not care about the debt. What most voters really care about is what can they get from government while avoiding paying the government.

  14. Travis Mason-Bushman says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Except that when Republicans do get power, we see that all they do is slash taxes, create bigger unfunded entitlement programs that seem explicitly designed to give away tax dollars to major corporations (Hello, Medicare Part D and the inability to negotiate drug prices) and then spend a fortune in blood and treasure on unnecessary foreign wars of conquest. So the electorate – apparently rightly — doesn’t think Republicans are at all serious about finding ways to cut the deficit anyway.

  15. bk says:

    Lord help us when it’s Erickson, Rubin, and Scarborough who are presented as the trifecta of GOP reasonableness.

  16. Moosebreath says:

    @superdestroyer:

    ” all the Democrats have to do is demand that the Republicans propose specific cuts and then demagoge them on it.”

    You mean, like the Republicans did last year about cuts to Medicare through the Affordable Care Act. You say this as if it’s something only Democrats do.

  17. bk says:

    @superdestroyer:

    As long as the Democrats claim that everyone can get what they want from the government and taxes on the rich can pay for it,

    Uh, can you provide examples of elected Democratic officials making that claim?

    We’ll wait.

  18. de stijl says:

    It’s rich that Erick son of Erick is complaining about outrage pimps.

    ERICKSON: This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I’m not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property. They can’t do that. They don’t have the legal right, and yet they’re trying.

  19. @Travis Mason-Bushman: In other words, the American people aren’t interested in solving the nation’s fiscal crisis. We all want our free stuff and will chew off our own limbs before voting for fiscal responsibility. Given such a cultural state, there is no way for Republicans to win unless they do as the cited critics prescribe and become lesser Democrats. Personally, I increasingly want nothing to do with any of it.

  20. mtnrunner2 says:

    I don’t want the GOP to win unless they start advocating the right ideas.

    Bottom line: you cannot pretend to advocate principles of liberty and individualism while at the same time advocating human submission to God — period. Does The Spanish Inquisition seem like liberty to the religious right??? Holy cow. I thought we’d left that behind with The Enlightenment, yet some people want me to believe that the American experiment was really an experiment in Christian theocracy. Nonsense!

    Advocate liberty, or stay home. Or we will keep losing.

  21. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Pure comedy. The idea that Republicans can forever be for unnamed cuts, and that this is a contribution.

  22. Scott O says:

    @Walter Hudson: I vote for fiscal responsibility. That’s one of the reasons I stopped voting for Republicans a long time ago. I wouldn’t say I rate the Democrats high on fiscal responsibility but they are at least reality based for the most part.

  23. superdestroyer says:

    @Travis Mason-Bushman:

    Bush tried to move the Republicans to the second big spending, big entitllement, big government party because Karl Rove was convinced that such a move would attract more hispanic and black voters. Rove was wrong ans now the Republicans are irrelevant to politics at the national level and will soon cease to exist as a viable political party.

    However, no one ever points out how a party of fiscal conservatives who want americans to figuratively “eat their vegetables” can ever exist. Most voters are not interested in either party being the responsible party and are just interested in more goodies from the government.

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @Moosebreath:

    And do you reallly think that the cuts will ever occur adn were they real cuts or just replaced by some other form of spending?

  25. superdestroyer says:

    @bk:

    From http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#cutting-waste

    In order to reduce the deficit while still making the investments we need in education, research, infrastructure, and clean energy, the President has asked for the wealthiest taxpayers to pay their fair share.

    The Democrats imply in everything they say that if taxes on the rich are increased that they can balance the budget and increase spending. My guess is that you will nitpick the cite instead of actually think about the can’t lose message that David Axelrod has convince the Democrats to use.

  26. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    No, what many Republicans have realized that there not enough voters interested in fiscal restraint to make a conservative party viable in the U.S. Any spending cut is immediately resisted by the group that benefits from the current spending whether it is defense, education, welfare, or regulation. Spending cuts are not politically viable in the long run and thus, the only solution is massive tax increases (a doubling of everyone’s income taxes) to make up the $1 trillion dollar deficits that the U.S. appears to be on a path to do.

    The voters including many Republicans do not really want spending cuts and thus they will not happen. Thus, the U.S. does not really need a conservative party because if the function of government is to be the tax collector for the nanny states, then one liberal party is enough.

  27. Neil Hudelson says:

    All three pieces were very well written. Erik son of Erik’s piece especially surprised me. Then there was this:

    The president has set a trap for Republicans on a wide range of social issues. Whether the subject is gay rights, global warming or immigration, Barack Obama knows that Republican resistance in a national debate will feed into the meme that conservatives are too reactionary, too out of touch and too white.

    He hasn’t set a trap. He has just advocated for doing the right thing.

    We can’t block all immigration and demagogue all Latinos (hello Arizona) and live up to the ideal that America is a refuge for the huddled masses yearning to be free. He advocates for climate change legislation because we fracking need to do something based on essentially all scientific assessments to date. And he advocates for gay rights because its the only moral thing to do.

    For a post about entering the world of reality, Joe sure does have a chip on his shoulder against said reality.

    A “trap.” Really. Morans.

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    But the question is how to progressives create a bigger safety net, expanded social services, and make the U.S. more like the Nordic states that they admire by importing millions of third world immigrants? How does unlimited immigration help the environment, improve the schools, or allow the U.S. to make infrastructure improvements?

    What is amazing is how progressives are so interested in being politically correct that they fail to think about their policy progressives are in opposition to each other. What seems to odd is that progressives seem to have such a hatred of conservatives that they are willing to convert the U.S. into Brazil or Mexico to punish conservatives.

  29. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    It is simple. Too simple. Many happy countries balance higher spending and tax rates.

    All your fear is about an edge to a flat earth.

    Now, I am not as free on tax and spending as a real liberal. As a moderate I’d like a balance. Sadly real balance is RINO, and the GOP is nuts.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    But the question is how to progressives create a bigger safety net, expanded social services, and make the U.S. more like the Nordic states that they admire by importing millions of third world immigrants?

    What seems to odd is that progressives seem to have such a hatred of conservatives that they are willing to convert the U.S. into Brazil or Mexico to punish conservatives.

    The brown people really scare you, eh? And to think that you might be so stupid as to actually wonder why others would think of you as being a racist…

  31. john personna says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I suggested that Obama was successfully trolling the Republicans last fall, in these pages. Naturally I am pleased that Joe identified the same thing.

    Though as you say, the trolling is effective only because it highlights splits between the GOP and majority voters.

  32. john personna says:

    @An Interested Party:

    And at this point who can deny the Brazilian contribution to American culture?

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @Walter Hudson: Considering the amount of $ that the Republicans were perfectly willing to spend towards wars and keep the numbers off the books, I fail to see how you can call the Republicans to be any better when it comes to finances. At least the Democratic Party doesn’t lie about where they’re trying to get the money from–higher taxes. The Republicans are still enamoured of their Supply-Side Magic Tax Production method. The fact that all measurements show that the implementation of cutting taxes–>higher tax receipts has been a big failure is of course ignored.

    You might as well factor unicorn farts into US monetary policy.

  34. Tony W says:

    Conservatives should avoid chasing the Democrats’ tails on social issues and instead focus on the key legislative challenge of our time – tackling America’s crippling debt.

    Cruel irony given that the Republicans started this diversionary tactic on social issues with distractions like bans on stem-cell research funding and the like. All the Democrats had to do was play along (DOMA, DADT) and it was no longer a differentiator for the R’s.

    As the articles wisely point out the Republicans are a party without a coherent message. Until they come up with a unifying set of principles they will have to continue to cobble together odd bedfellows. Hopefully for the country they will stumble on something and we will once again have a true loyal opposition.

  35. Moosebreath says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “And do you reallly think that the cuts will ever occur adn were they real cuts or just replaced by some other form of spending?”

    And this relates to the comment responded to (“”all the Democrats have to do is demand that the Republicans propose specific cuts and then demagoge them on it.”

    You mean, like the Republicans did last year about cuts to Medicare through the Affordable Care Act. You say this as if it’s something only Democrats do.”) exactly how?

    And for the record, yes I think they are real cuts.

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    david:

    Scarborough is ignoring what the actual GOP priorities are, lowering taxes on higher incomes and making the poor miserable by gutting the social safety net. Actually working on balancing the budget does not further their current priorities, as evidenced by their actions over the last 30 years.

    That statement doesn’t go far enough. It’s not just that a balanced budget is not a priority for them. It’s that a balanced budget hurts them, and deficits help them.

    As you said, the GOP’s actual goals are cutting taxes for rich people and destroying programs that help everyone else. Trouble is, these programs are popular, so they can’t state this goal plainly. They can only get at this goal indirectly, by trying to crush the government with debt, and then using the debt as an excuse to cut those programs. That’s why 75% of the debt Obama inherited was created by Reagan, Bush and Bush.

    That 75% number demonstrates that the GOP loves debt, but I only just recently noticed some other evidence I find stunning.

    Bush’s FY09 deficit (10.1% of GDP) was not just the biggest one since WWII: it was the biggest one by a wide margin. It’s helpful to compare it to the other large deficits that preceded it. Here’s a list of the worst deficits in the period 1947-2009, measured as % of GDP:

    2009 10.1% (Bush II)
    1983 6.0% (Reagan)
    1985 5.1% (Reagan)
    1986 5.0% (Reagan)
    1984 4.8% (Reagan)
    1992 4.7% (Bush I)
    1991 4.5% (Bush I)
    1976 4.2% (Ford)
    1982 4.0% (Reagan)
    1990 3.9% (Bush I)
    1993 3.9% (Bush I)
    2004 3.5% (Bush II)
    2003 3.4% (Bush II)
    1975 3.4% (Ford)
    2008 3.2% (Bush II)
    1987 3.2% (Reagan)
    1988 3.1% (Reagan)

    (Data via here. You can download Excel files. That data is from Table 1.3.)

    In no other year did the deficit exceed 3% of GDP. It’s pretty striking to notice that in 63 years, the 17 worst deficits were all produced by R presidents. It’s also pretty striking to notice that Reagan, Bush and Bush were in power for 20 years, and 15 of those 20 years are on this list.

    Reagan introduced an era of large GOP deficits. The GOP now whining about debt and deficits is like a bunch of arsonists returning to the scene dressed as firefighters. This fraud is heightened when we notice that Ryan is considered the GOP’s leading deficit hawk even though he supported Bush every every single time GWB wrote a huge check that was unfunded. What a joke.

    Obama is the first postwar D president who ever ran a deficit in excess of 3% of GDP. The deficit in FY12 was 7% of GDP, 3.1 points lower than GWB’s 10.1% in FY09. In the postwar period (pre-Obama), this is how many times the deficit has declined that rapidly (a drop greater than 3 points in 3 years): zero. So Obama has presided over a historically rapid decline in the deficit. And it has already declined close to the level that was considered pretty unremarkable when Reagan did it.

    And “Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius” said this (link):

    By 2015, we expect the federal deficit to be down to $500bn, or just under 3% of GDP

    That is, under the level exceeded by Reagan, Bush and Bush in 15 out of their 20 years in power. And also under the level that no Democrat ever exceeded in the 63 years prior to Obama. So if you want low deficits, elect a Democrat. The GOP will continue to seek high deficits, because it’s their only means of crushing the popular programs they have been opposing since those programs were first created.

  37. jukeboxgrad says:

    erickson:

    Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage

    The outrage machine is going to continue unabated. Why? Because the real power in the GOP lies in the conservative entertainment complex, which is led by people like Ailes and Limbaugh. They are not in the business of winning elections; they are in the business of making money. They are after ratings, not votes. And they arguably make even more money when the GOP is out of power, because they feed on resentment, fear and anger. Their audience wants to wallow in a sense of being helpless, powerless victims, not take responsibility for governing.

    So the conservative entertainment complex will continue to be an anchor, pulling the GOP down, and interfering with electoral success. This won’t change until the ignorant goobers (as Michael correctly described them) get old and die. In the meantime, there’s too much money to be made by fleecing them.

    See also:

    “The conservative media movement exists primarily as a moneymaking venture.” Link.

    “Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.” Link.

  38. bk says:

    @superdestroyer: Nah, I am not going to “nitpick” your cite. What you quoted Obama as saying was that revenues in the form of increased taxes are a way to help reduce the deficit. That is a no-brainer; everyone with a functioning brain (and I will charitably assume that you do have one) agrees with that. What that quote did NOT say, and what you used it as a way of bolstering your statement that I challenged earlier, was this:

    As long as the Democrats claim that everyone can get what they want from the government and taxes on the rich can pay for it

  39. bk says:

    @superdestroyer: The new math. An increase in marginal rates above $400,000 from 35% to 39.4% =

    a doubling of everyone’s income taxes

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Instead of showing how increasing government harms people, how free markets help people, and how conservative policies benefit all Americans,

    The GOP can start by getting away from their belief in the wholly mythological “free market.” In all of existence such a thing has never existed and most assuredly it never will.

  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    Er…..Erickson and Rubin were founder members of the outrage pimp society

  42. mantis says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Erickson and Rubin were founder members of the outrage pimp society

    Indeed, but they’ve both got real, paying gigs now that they would like to hang on to. Funny how that changes things.

  43. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mantis:

    The outrage pimp society is and always has been about providing income streams for the outrage pimps…….You can add Scarborough to the list…….Republican rubes are just a market to be exploited, not essentially different from those for fast food or meth.

  44. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Scarborough plays politics. He plays it facing left, and facing right. He’s not always generous in his engagements with either side, but he’s certainly not a Kool Aid drinker supporting the right line.

  45. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Bush tried to move the Republicans to the second big spending, big entitllement, big government party because Karl Rove was convinced that such a move would attract more hispanic and black voters.”

    Actually, Bush tried to move the Republicans to be the second big spending, big entitlement big government party because they realized that this was the best way they could hide their looting of the treasury to shovel cash to their corporate sponsors. For every small “entitlement,” they managed an enormous payoff to the super rich, whether it was tax cuts that helped the middle class a tiny bit and the rich a lot, to a prescription drug plan that was a massive giveaway to the Big Pharma.

  46. john personna says:

    Of course then there’s the question of who superdestroyer is, and where he lies in the 2013 landscape. It’s tempting to say he’s an outlier, and just coincidentally a stereotype of what liberals believe Republicans to be … old, white, angry, disconnected and lacking numeracy on budget and tax ..

    Fringe or base … no one knows!

  47. bk says:

    @john personna:

    Fringe or base … no one knows!

    He’s a dessert topping AND a floor wax!

  48. swbarnes2 says:

    @Tony W:

    As the articles wisely point out the Republicans are a party without a coherent message.

    But Republicans do have one! It’s that straight, white, prosperous Christian males are better people, and the only “real” Americans.

    That’s the siren song that keeps James and Doug Republicans. For sure, they can’t name any policies that Republicans have that they support.

  49. Rob in CT says:

    I find the fact that Erick son of Erick is now the “sane Republican” horrifying. And Jennifer Rubin? Are you kidding me? Her job is to spew C-Inc. propoganda (see her pre- and post-election writing on the Romney campaign, for example. Or anything she writes on foreign policy. No one should listen to this woman. Ever.).

    I get that politics isn’t a game for people with a well-developed sense of shame, but seriously, these folks have been part of the problem for years and now they’re gonna pose as truth-tellers leading the Party back to sanity? I don’t know whether to laugh or pour a stiff drink. Hmm, maybe both…

  50. Spartacus says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Bush tried to move the Republicans to the second big spending, big entitllement, big government party because Karl Rove was convinced that such a move would attract more hispanic and black voters. Rove was wrong ans now the Republicans are irrelevant to politics at the national level and will soon cease to exist as a viable political party.

    If Hispanic and black voters are only interested in getting freebies from government, as you often allege, why did Bush and Rove fail?

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @ Spartacus…
    Because Superdope is a Superacist.

    If you really want to talk about people getting freebies, about the makers and the takers, then we need to talk about Bobby Jindal and Louisianna. They are currently talking about doing away with their State Income Tax.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/11/us-usa-louisiana-taxes-idUSBRE90A02K20130111
    Now keep in mind that this is a deep red state, and a state that recieves $1.78 from Washington for every $1.00 it sends to Washington. They are unable to balance their budget without taking welfare from blue states like Connecticut, NJ, or NY. Yet here they are going to reduce their own tax burden even more, which will leave the rest of sending them even more welfare.
    Fu** secession…let’s boot these losers from the Union and see how they do on their own.

  52. Spartacus says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Because Superdope is a Superacist.

    Very funny!

  53. anjin-San says:

    @ John Personna

    Life without Brazilian music would be very hard.

  54. john personna says:

    @anjin-San:

    Really! I was thinking Jiu-Jitsu everhwere you turn 😉

  55. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    “but he’s certainly not a Kool Aid drinker supporting the right line. ”

    You miss the point entirely…..like Erickson/Rubin, Scarborough was a leading member of the pimp outrage society back in the days when he was in congress……he now has a nice paying gig and so makes nice.

  56. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    What I’m saying is that sometimes he does turn his outrage on those further right, and effectively.

    Should he be a little more even tempered and thoughtful? Perhaps, but he seems to have taken “It’s called ‘Morning Joe'” to heart. Regardless, his middlish outrage at least shows some discretion on his part.

  57. john personna says:

    (Scarborough called our Romney on Benghazi, not Clinton, which is better than you can say for some local outrage pimps.)

  58. anjin-san says:

    Ah, the borderline personalities and the sociopaths are duking it out?

  59. superdestroyer says:

    @bk:

    Raising tax rates by a couple of percentage points on the rich is not going to do much to close a $1 trillion annual budget deficit. The federal government currently collects about $1 trillion a year in income taxes. The fastest way to close the budget deficit would be to double everyone’s income taxes.

    My guess is that a lot more people would support government pork barrel spending if the only way to cut their taxes would be to cut spending. However, progressives, who in 2004 seemed to care about budget deficits, now all seem to be Krugman wannabes who believe that the U.S. and spend its way to prosperity.

    Of course, political operatives know that Democrats do not really want to pay for the government that they emand who the Democrats claim that taxing the rich can close a $1 trillion deficit.

  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    taxing the rich can close a $1 trillion deficit

    That’s true, it can.

    The effective rate for the rich is now roughly half what it was in 1953. If we returned to that level (just for the top 1%), roughly half the deficit would go away. Link. With a higher rate (also on only the top 1%), the entire deficit would go away. Link.

    This isn’t necessary, because other factors are going to cause the deficit to decline. “Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius” said this (link):

    By 2015, we expect the federal deficit to be down to $500bn, or just under 3% of GDP

    But it’s important to know that we could indeed raise about $1T just through higher taxes on just the top 1%. There’s a ton of rhetoric claiming otherwise; funny how the people offering that rhetoric never, ever show their numbers.

  61. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The federal government currently collects about $1 trillion a year in income taxes. The fastest way to close the budget deficit would be to double everyone’s income taxes.

    No, you don’t have to double everyone’s taxes, you just have to raise the taxes of the highest income earners.

    As an illustration, suppose there are only two taxpayers, one who pays $100 and the second who pays $1 trillion – $100. If you want to double the tax revenue, you can leave the guy who pays $100 entirely alone, and simply double the taxes of the other guy so he now pays $2 trillion – $100 (it’s not quite double, but the difference is de minimis). So now you are collecting $2 trillion total instead of $1 trillion total, but the poor taxpayer has paid not one cent more.

  62. superdestroyer says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Once again progressives claims that they can have all the government they want and someone else will pay for it. However, what is the total gross income of the top 1%

  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    what is the total gross income of the top 1%

    If you had followed the links I already provided, you would know the answer to that question.

  64. Rafer Janders says:

    @superdestroyer:

    However, what is the total gross income of the top 1%[?]

    Since you were too effin’ lazy to click jukeboxgrad’s link, I’ll summarize:

    “The 1.2 million households in the top 1% have average pre-tax income of $1,873,000, which means the aggregate income of this group is $2.2T.”

  65. superdestroyer says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    This just means that if you tax the top 1% at 100%, it will not generate enough money to fund the discretionary spending of the U.S. for one year. Of courage, an income tax of 100% actually generates no money because people will quit working before paying 100% tax.

    If tax rates on the top are raised to 70% or more, then the amount of funds collected will go down as the rich take actions to lower their tax burden. In the long run, for the government to not run a deficit and to fund all of the programs demand by progressives, everyone is going to have to pay higher taxes. However progressives refuse to say that and insist that they can have everything they want and someone else will pay the bill.

  66. jukeboxgrad says:

    This just means that if you tax the top 1% at 100%, it will not generate enough money to fund the discretionary spending of the U.S. for one year.

    Wrong. Discretionary spending is about $1.3T. Income of the top 100% is about $2.2T.

    Republicans have difficulty with simple arithmetic.

    an income tax of 100% actually generates no money

    Good thing no one is suggesting “an income tax of 100%.”

    If tax rates on the top are raised to 70% or more, then the amount of funds collected will go down as the rich take actions to lower their tax burden.

    If we wanted to tax the rich in ways that are effective and unavoidable, we could do so. We simply lack the will to do so. This has to do with politics, not economics or mathematics.

    Also, it would be good if you learned the difference between margin rate and effective rate.

    However progressives refuse to say that and insist that they can have everything they want and someone else will pay the bill.

    It is indeed possible to eliminate the deficit just with higher taxes on the top 1%. This is math, something you obviously never learned how to do.