Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. There Is No Long Game

 

shutterstock_180292460During his excellent speech before Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated a common complaint of Republican voters:

The American people were told, “If only we have a Republican majority in the House, things will be different.” Well, in 2010, the American people showed up in enormous numbers and we got a Republican majority in the House. And very little changed. […] Then the American people were told, “You know, the problem is the Senate. If only we get a Republican majority in the Senate and retire Harry Reid as majority leader, then things will be different.” Well, in 2014, the American people rose up in enormous numbers, voted to do exactly that. We have had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress now for about 6 months. What has that majority done?

While debating the possibility of de-funding Planned Parenthood the other day, a fellow Republican insisted we needed total control — a Republican president and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress — for that to happen. Appropriations are not a significant authority, apparently. Since Roe v Wade, he told me, Republicans have enjoyed such total control for only two years, under President George W. Bush. That’s two out of 40 years. In order to prevent about a million children from being slaughtered every year, I’m being asked to wait for an electoral scenario which has only happened once in my lifetime.

And what happened in those two years that Republicans had total control? Did the Republican-controlled Congress and the most pro-life President in living memory defund Planned Parenthood? Of course not. That would be too much to ask. Presumably, Congress determined that diminished support for the war could not even be risked to stop a genocide at home. Rather than employ that total authorized power with impunity, Republicans once again “played it safe.”

I am not proposing a discussion specifically of abortion. That’s merely one of many interests of Republican voters that has not been sufficiently implemented. But must Republicans have total control to accomplish anything significant? Would they even make use of that power if they had it?

Republicans have not earned the privilege of delays. They have not earned the trust required for four-year strategies, let alone 10-year, or 20-year strategies.

In addition, Republicans are fools to rely on plans that require consistent power through multiple terms. First, America’s pendulum-like electoral history does not support such hopes. Second, Democrats have proven able to demonize Republicans and misrepresent Republican positions, even without convenient gaffes, facts, or policies (e.g., the “War on Women”); evidently, laying low cannot preserve Republican electoral victories. Third, Democrats can accomplish more in an equal amount of time due to their willingness to disregard normal procedures, laws, and even the most basic moral concerns for their opponents.

Furthermore, it is easier to get into debt than to get out of it, easier to harm international alliances than to establish them, easier to create laws and programs than to eliminate or even reduce them, and so on. The deck is stacked against the side of freedom and honor, now and forever.

Republicans must strike when they can, as often as they can, as hard as they can. Playing the long game clearly doesn’t work; nor do soft steps. History does not support the timidity of reigning Republican strategies.

Act today, or your authority will be revoked.

Image Credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

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  1. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Like.

    • #1
    • July 24, 2015, at 10:36 AM PDT
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  2. TG Thatcher
    TG

    You’ve said this quite well, I think, Aaron.

    • #2
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:00 AM PDT
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  3. Done Contributor

    You still seem to be under the impression that you can pass laws without presidential approval or a two-thirds majority in Congress.

    • #3
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:23 AM PDT
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  4. Probable Cause Inactive

    Frank, from a constitutional standpoint, not funding something only requires control of the House of Representatives.

    • #4
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:33 AM PDT
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  5. Done Contributor

    Aaron Miller:While debating the possibility of defunding Planned Parenthood the other day, my fellow Republican voter insisted we needed total control — a Republican President and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress — for that to happen. Appropriations are not a significant authority, apparently. Since Roe-v-Wade was ruled, he told me, Republicans have enjoyed such total control for only 2 years, under President George W Bush.

    You can call me out by name Aaron. My presence at Washington cocktail parties is well established.

    That’s 2 out of 40 years. I’m being asked to wait for an electoral scenario which has only happened once in my lifetime… to prevent 1,000,000+ children from being slaughtered every year.

    The Republican party has been bad at getting control of the house and the senate. This has changed dramatically. The Republicans now have structural advantages that leave them likely to control both house more often than they don’t. One can argue that the democrats have structural advantages to winning the presidency, but republican governors win far more frequently in blue states than most people realize. Chief executives swing back and forth even in heavily partisan states. We will win the presidency plenty of times going forward. When we do, we are likely to control all three lawmaking entities.

    The point is: Must Republicans have total control to accomplish anything significant? Would they even make use of that power if they had it?

    The democrats needed such. They couldn’t pass a major healthcare reform bill until they not only had total control, but a filibuster proof majority in the senate, and even then they could not get close to their preferred single payer outcome.

    Republicans have not earned the privilege of delays. They have not earned the trust required for 4-year strategies, let alone 10-year and 20-year strategies.

    Most people here seem to be under the impression that modern conservatism is an ancient philosophy that has had all the time in the world to fight back. Before Goldwater, there were no modern conservatives in the federal government. Before Reagan, none had been elected president. And before Gingrich, the Republicans hadn’t held the house in 68 years. We can objectively measure that every new congress since 1980 has featured a median republican more conservative than the previous congress. We are continually pushing the republicans further to the right. This trend seems likely to continue.

    Writing off the 2016 republican party because you were failed by the 2004 republican party is to compare two completely different entities.

    Act today or your authority will be revoked.

    Authority to do what? Watch Obama veto Planned Parent hood being defunded?

    • #5
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:41 AM PDT
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  6. Done Contributor

    Probable Cause:Frank, from a constitutional standpoint, not funding something only requires control of the House of Representatives.

    This is false. The house originates budget bills, but the senate and president get to vote on them. A veto kills such action without an override.

    • #6
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:42 AM PDT
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  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frank Soto:You still seem to be under the impression that you can pass laws without presidential approval or a two-thirds majority in Congress.

    Somehow, our government manages to keep moving despite power split between the parties being the historical norm. There is plenty of action in Congress. But it rarely serves Republican voters.

    Thanks for the reasonable rebuttal.

    • #7
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:43 AM PDT
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  8. Done Contributor

    Aaron Miller:

    Frank Soto:You still seem to be under the impression that you can pass laws without presidential approval or a two-thirds majority in Congress.

    Somehow, our government manages to keep moving despite power split between the parties being the historical norm. There is plenty of action in Congress. But it rarely serves Republican voters.

    Spending as a percentage of GDP is not climbing up inexorably, and has been dropping since the Republicans took the house. Notice where the drops in spending occur.

    spending

    • #8
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:51 AM PDT
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  9. Done Contributor

    Or take the example we discussed last night on the nightcap AMU. We are all angry that John Roberts made the wrong call on the Obamacare cases, but we should also note that both he and Alito are substantial upgrades on the court.

    Their presence pushed the court further to the right. As Sal pointed out, before their additions, Kennedy was the third most conservative justice on the supreme court…

    Conservatism has made massive gains and is positioned to push government in our preferred direction if we can stop with the fatalism and acknowledge that these things take time.

    Progressives have been at this far longer than we have. Our movement is relatively young.

    • #9
    • July 24, 2015, at 11:56 AM PDT
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  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    So what was the GOP before they (supposedly) became conservative?

    • #10
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:17 PM PDT
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  11. Jager Coolidge
    Jager Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frank Soto:

    Probable Cause:Frank, from a constitutional standpoint, not funding something only requires control of the House of Representatives.

    This is false. The house originates budget bills, but the senate and president get to vote on them. A veto kills such action without an override.

    I think you are wrong here. From constitutional stand point. If the House says we will not fund something, the only way that thing is funded is if the House changes its mind. Neither the President nor the Senators get to vote in the House. You need all three to pass a budget. Any one can stop the budget.

    • #11
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:17 PM PDT
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  12. Probable Cause Inactive

    Frank Soto:

    Probable Cause:Frank, from a constitutional standpoint, not funding something only requires control of the House of Representatives.

    This is false. The house originates budget bills, but the senate and president get to vote on them. A veto kills such action without an override.

    And therefore it didn’t get funded. So I argue: true.

    No thing gets funded unless (as you say) 1.) the House originates the bill and 2.) the Senate passes it and 3.) the president signs it. If any one of the three fails to occur, then the thing doesn’t get funded. So any one of the three groups can prevent something from being funded.

    • #12
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:28 PM PDT
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  13. Done Contributor

    Jager:

    Frank Soto:

    Probable Cause:Frank, from a constitutional standpoint, not funding something only requires control of the House of Representatives.

    This is false. The house originates budget bills, but the senate and president get to vote on them. A veto kills such action without an override.

    I think you are wrong here. From constitutional stand point. If the House says we will not fund something, the only way that thing is funded is if the House changes its mind. Neither the President nor the Senators get to vote in the House. You need all three to pass a budget. Any one can stop the budget.

    So let us clarify the argument that is really being made here. We can shutdown the government and get killed in future elections.

    • #13
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:38 PM PDT
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  14. Done Contributor

    Shutting down the government may be satisfying over the short term, but when you hand the house back to the democrats, will feel less so.

    shutdown

    • #14
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:42 PM PDT
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  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    How do those financial troughs relate to the peaks? In other words, did expenses diminish because Republicans made significant cuts or because events that necessitated high spending (like wars) passed? If you measure deficit spending in relation to GDP, then economic circumstances figure into that equation as much as political circumstances (economic growth can hide spending). What “cuts” were achieved by offloading those expenses onto future budgets?

    What laws and programs were repealed during those time periods? The expansion of government is not measured in dollars alone. And the financial effects of regulations are difficult to measure, such as the impact of Obamacare even while many of its features continue to be postponed.

    How much has the balance of power changed while Republicans have had majorities in Congress? Apparently, Presidents can now unilaterally determine what is or is not a treaty according to whether or not Congress supports his goals. What powers one President is allowed, the next will assume. That’s how we got the common distinction between “wars” and “police actions” which denies Congress the authority of approval.

    And if a SCOTUS judge who ruled in favor of both Obamacare and SSM represents progress for Republicans, may God help us.

    • #15
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:47 PM PDT
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  16. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frank Soto: Shutting down the government may be satisfying over the short term, but when you hand the house back to the democrats, will feel less so.

    That was a PR battle which Republicans barely participated in. Without good marketing, especially in a climate of outright lies and demonization constantly played out by major media and even corporations, any policy that opposes Democrats is bad policy.

    Things often fail for reasons other than quality of the product.

    • #16
    • July 24, 2015, at 12:51 PM PDT
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  17. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The GOP philosophy sounds like the philosophy of whiners and losers. If the roles were reversed, do you think the Dem leader of the House would say “well, we only control one half of one branch of the government so what can we do?”. Hell no. They would fail to fund anything they didn’t like. We get the House, they say we need the Senate. We give them the Senate, they say we need the White House. We had all three for two years under W. What Conservative greatness was accomplished? Expansion of the size of government? Medicare Part D? No Child Left Behind? W was a great war president, but just a big spending Dem-lite domestically.

    • #17
    • July 24, 2015, at 1:08 PM PDT
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  18. Probable Cause Inactive

    Frank Soto:Shutting down the government may be satisfying over the short term, but when you hand the house back to the democrats, will feel less so.

    That poll was taken in late 2013. The Congressional Republicans did very well in the 2014 elections, so your prediction did not come true.

    However, I agree that the poll reflects a troublesome truth — the American people have decided that the Constitution does not matter, and that the president gets to make spending decisions, not Congress.

    Putting those two together, it means shutdowns are unpopular and are blamed on Republicans, but if done far enough in advance of an election, they are a low priority on voters’ minds.

    • #18
    • July 24, 2015, at 1:09 PM PDT
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  19. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Let me put it this way…

    During a fight over the federal budget, Republicans managed to let Democrats convince millions of Americans that firefighters and police officers had to be laid off… because it’s obvious that essential services must be gutted before federal politicians can start eliminating all those absurd grants and programs American citizens have heard about every week of their lives.

    Turtles in California need taxpayers across the nation to fund tunnels under roads, so that they can die of dehydration in metal tunnels rather than die as roadkill. But protecting citizens from muggers and rapists? Clearly, that must be the first thing to go!

    • #19
    • July 24, 2015, at 1:15 PM PDT
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  20. Done Contributor

    Probable Cause:

    Frank Soto:Shutting down the government may be satisfying over the short term, but when you hand the house back to the democrats, will feel less so.

    That poll was taken in late 2013. The Congressional Republicans did very well in the 2014 elections, so your prediction did not come true.

    They did very well after the electorate had a year to forget about it.

    Polling in the US is very accurate for predicting elections. Had the midterms been held in 2013 at the time of the shutdown, we would have been massacred.

    • #20
    • July 24, 2015, at 1:34 PM PDT
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  21. Done Contributor

    Aaron,

    The reason to look at spending as a percentage of GDP is that it is a more accurate picture of the actual problem. You can outgrow your debt problems by holding down spending and letting the economy grow.

    • #21
    • July 24, 2015, at 1:36 PM PDT
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  22. Probable Cause Inactive

    Frank Soto:They did very well after the electorate had a year to forget about it.

    Polling in the US is very accurate for predicting elections. Had the midterms been held in 2013 at the time of the shutdown, we would have been massacred.

    Frank, are you in a mood? You sound like you’re arguing with me, but you just restated my last paragraph in different (and probably better) words. So I agree with your analysis.

    However, my lesson learned may be different than yours: therefore, do shutdowns at least a year before any election.

    • #22
    • July 24, 2015, at 1:43 PM PDT
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  23. Martel Inactive

    Frank Soto:Or take the example we discussed last night on the nightcap AMU. We are all angry that John Roberts made the wrong call on the Obamacare cases, but we should also note that both he and Alito are substantial upgrades on the court.

    Their presence pushed the court further to the right. As Sal pointed out, before their additions, Kennedy was the third most conservative justice on the supreme court…

    Conservatism has made massive gains and is positioned to push government in our preferred direction if we can stop with the fatalism and acknowledge that these things take time.

    Progressives have been at this far longer than we have. Our movement is relatively young.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that Dem SCOTUS nominees face almost no opposition ever, whereas our come under intense scrutiny. Thus, they get to appoint justices that everyone knows is leftist, we have to hope we can sneak through a conservative. The last three GOP presidents were all 1 for 2 on quality nominees, Dem presidents get exactly what they want every time.

    This is one of the many ways in which Dems use their power (even when it’s limited) to better effect than us.

    • #23
    • July 24, 2015, at 2:01 PM PDT
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  24. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That (#21) assumes growth is entirely a matter of choice, Frank. Constant, sufficient growth is a false assumption.

    Our politicians immediately repeated their interference in the housing and banking markets, ensuring another crash eventually.

    Obamacare has already distorted and suppressed various industries, and much of it hasn’t even gone into effect yet (thanks to imperial decrees which will leave the next President holding the bag). Uncertainty and the probability of penalizing regulations continue to hold back investment.

    National economies are struggling worldwide as they similarly deny harsh realities in implementation of regulations and handouts.

    Meanwhile, Iran will have the bomb and ISIS is antagonizing a NATO ally, thereby preparing the ground for increased military expenses.

    Beside all of which, any economy both ebbs and flows. Which session of Congress will assume, for the budget’s sake, that hard times are ahead?

    • #24
    • July 24, 2015, at 2:06 PM PDT
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  25. Martel Inactive

    Regarding budget issues, Congress has largely surrendered its own power of the purse through these massive omnibus spending bills. There’s no objective reason whatsoever that Obamacare funding should be so linked to every other government program, but it is because we link everything to everything else in these massive bills.

    To reverse this, we’d need to make it normal again to break down budget bills into small parts, each to be voted on and signed by the President. To do this we’d probably need both houses and the presidency.

    Even then, Congressional horse-trading requires massive bills with amendments and riders so they can sneak in all sorts of favors for each other. Even most Republicans like it that way.

    Democrats can use divided government to their advantage much more adroitly than the GOP. I see three reasons for this:

    1. The nature of government is to grow. Do nothing, it becomes more of what the Dems want.

    2. Dems view politics as war and therefore seek to crush us. We want to work with them. (See the Daschle-Lott era).

    3. The average Dem politician largely wants what his base wants. The average GOP rep? I’m not so sure.

    Sure, they’d like somewhat lower taxes, but to render their own committee chairmanships irrelevant because government is so small and powerless? I doubt it.

    • #25
    • July 24, 2015, at 2:10 PM PDT
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  26. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Note that DC-favorite Jeb Bush wants a line-item veto… as if that power wouldn’t be used by the next Democrat in office.

    • #26
    • July 24, 2015, at 2:24 PM PDT
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  27. The Reticulator Member

    I’d favor a line-item veto even if Jeb wants it and even if it would be wielded by the next Democrat president. The trouble is, it would require a constitutional amendment. So Jeb can easily be in favor because he knows there is no risk of it happening.

    • #27
    • July 24, 2015, at 3:20 PM PDT
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  28. Martel Inactive

    Another thing that doesn’t help the “long game” case a whole lot is that when the GOP finally had both houses and the presidency all we got for it was a massive expansion of bi-partisan pork.

    Yes, I’m aware that we didn’t have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Everything or nothing. I get it.

    • #28
    • July 24, 2015, at 3:41 PM PDT
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  29. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Since voters on both sides initially supported the war during Bush’s term, that shouldn’t have hindered domestic policy at all aside from divided attention. So what Republicans did in those 2 years of total control should have been phenomenal.

    Instead, the answer to every problem was more laws and more bureaucracy. They even proposed that the cure to bureaucratic miscommunication (FBI, CIA, NSA, etc) was more bureaucracy (HSA).

    But maybe in another 40 years, more Republicans will be genuinely conservative! Then fellow conservatives will be unified in their outcast fury at our fascist overlords who stole the country in the meantime.

    • #29
    • July 24, 2015, at 4:39 PM PDT
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  30. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    Republicans are frequently telling us on one issue or another “That’s a losing battle we’re not going to bother fighting it’ Democrats never do this, no matter the issue, no matter how small (Cowboy Poetry!) they will fight to the death and make Republicans exhaust themselves and bleed before giving in. Thus even when they win Republicans come away, hurt and tired and eventually the item gets put back in the next ‘omnibus’ bill anyway (SEIU) , because they never give up and never let anything go.

    In the words of John Derbyshire ‘Our victories are few and fleeting, theirs are many and permanent’

    • #30
    • July 24, 2015, at 5:03 PM PDT
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