Permalink to Michael Barone on the GOP: Incapable of Governing

Michael Barone on the GOP: Incapable of Governing

 

From Michael Barone’s latest column:

Last week, Republicans proved they are not a governing party….

A governing party would have, reluctantly, passed Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B, which would have preserved the current tax rates on everyone with incomes under $1 million.

Passage would have put Senate Democrats on the spot, since they voted for a similar measure in 2010. They might have engaged in negotiations with Boehner that could have been more productive than his negotiations with Barack Obama this month and in the summer of 2011.

A cruel question to ask on the merriest of holidays, perhaps, but a central one all the same: Is Michael Barone correct? Is the GOP too short-sighted and ideological to govern in the national interest? Or did the conservatives in the House instead, perhaps, make a shrewd decision, calculating that in time Americans will return to a party that stands on principle?

I myself, alas, incline toward Barone. You?

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  1. Profile photo of EThompson Inactive
    Xennady: 

    The GOPisutterly incapable of governing. The last few years have proven that.

    With all due respect, I am tired of this argument.

    Let us refrain from blaming the people we choose to put into positions of power and take on some personal responsibility for the fiscal crises our country is facing. Mitt Romney was entirely capable of rescuing us from ourselves, but 2.5 million Republicans (who supported McCain in 2008) stayed at home on November 6.

    The American electorate is no longer interested in the principle of self-government: The American Electorate Has Changed, and There’s No Turning …

    • #1
    • December 26, 2012 at 1:41 am
  2. Profile photo of Crow's Nest Member

    Barone isn’t wrong about the fecklessness of the Republicans, but he’s got it wrong re:the party that is unserious about governing. The Democrats, the party of ‘nothing to see here’ annual deficits; years without a budget; and no serious plan for entitlement reform all the while proposing massive new entitlements; the party of credit downgrades and crony capitalism on an unprecedented scale–these are the behaviors of a party unserious about the current state of affairs. But who is the ‘party’ who is the most unserious about governance? The American electorate.

    • #2
    • December 26, 2012 at 5:58 am
  3. Profile photo of Al Sparks Thatcher

    I guess I don’t care. In the end, the arithmetic doesn’t add up. It’s no longer about the taxes. It’s about spending and entitlement reform.

    We’re headed for some sort of cliff whatever they do in Congress, unless real entitlement reform is addressed. And nothing they’re doing right now addresses that.

    • #3
    • December 26, 2012 at 6:34 am
  4. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    I have had quite enough of compromise and pragmatism. Now is the time to stand on principle. And if the majority of Americans are inclined to choose the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy – as Churchill accurately described socialism – then so be it.

    • #4
    • December 26, 2012 at 6:41 am
  5. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    A party with no soul, no direction and no conviction can’t govern. Governing isn’t just voting in a bloc to prove you can be herded by your “leader.”

    • #5
    • December 26, 2012 at 6:42 am
  6. Profile photo of Benjamin Glaser Member

    I wonder how many of these Washington insiders who make their living off the political machine and the circus it creates actually want to see the government smaller? 

    • #6
    • December 26, 2012 at 6:48 am
  7. Profile photo of Jimmy Carter Member

    ….in time Americans will return to a party that stands on principle

    Oh, that’s rich.

    Return? To principle?

    Pray tell, which party would that be?

    • #7
    • December 26, 2012 at 6:50 am
  8. Profile photo of cdor Member

    No the GOP is not capable of governing. Neither are the DEMS. That is why we have a debt of $16T and deficit non- budgets of $1.5T as far as our eyes can see. This last non-vote on a bill that would solve nothing means nothing. Goodness gracious, did the esteemed Michael Barone just wake up?

    • #8
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:01 am
  9. Profile photo of Redneck Desi Inactive

    I am still in the 6 month mourning period and it is too early for acceptance. However, what did Democrats do from 2004-2008? Were they a principled opposition? Were they non-partison looking for “solutions” They opposed everything George Bush did, demonized him in an unprecedented way, and even refused to acknowledge a winning war strategy. They did not govern. But in the end they won and they have been able to impose their ideology through the low-information voter. Unfortunately, that has to be our template.

    • #9
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:04 am
  10. Profile photo of John-John Member

    The crux of Barone’s argument seems to be “put Senate Democrats on the spot.” Really? When has any hypocrisy even raised a blush from that bunch, let alone a responsible action?

    A responsible Republican party would (a) hold its ground on taxes and spending and (b) somehow explain WHY it is holding that ground. None of the elected Republicans campaigned on being doormats for Obama.

    • #10
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:12 am
  11. Profile photo of skipsul Moderator

    Boehner’s Plan B would have cut ZERO spending, it wasn’t a compromise, it was a surrender.

    Boehner would have been better demanding that Barry surrender on something substantive – make the deal painful for both sides. The Dems gave nothing, and Repubs gave symbolism.

    Better not to vote at all in that case.

    Anyone see the column a couple of days ago basically saying Barry was not willing to compromise anywhere? Just like in 2009 his attitude was “I win, I’m not moving”.

    Any deal where the Dems lose nothing is foolish at this point.

    • #11
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:12 am
  12. Profile photo of Curt North Member

    Agree 110% with cdor, we haven’t a choice for anyone capable of governing. Tax hikes here or there, or tax cuts here or there for that matter, they just don’t really matter as long as entitlements are largely left alone. I’m afraid this arguments and worries about a fiscal cliff are just wind, nothing is solved and nothing will be with our current structure in place. So once agasin the can is kicked down the road. The real question is, what’s at the end of that road, what form does our transformation take?

    • #12
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:19 am
  13. Profile photo of Al Pipkin Inactive

    The Speaker folded to Obama’s demand in 2011 and Obama turned around and upped his demand, causing Boehner to give up in frustration. Obama isn’t interested in making a deal to avoid the cliff … all he wants is to beat his opponents, so why bend to his little games?

    The Democrats have been able to pull the country so far towards their utopian dream by not compromising. So how is it that the Republican elite believe the way to achieve “our” goals is compromise? The answer is that those same elites have no principles; they just don’t want to lose what little power they’ve been able to accumulate for themselves.

    If we don’t begin holding on to our principles there won’t be a country to save.

    • #13
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:19 am
  14. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    Principle!!???What principles are the Republicans demonstrating other than that they would see the whole world burn before they raise taxes. Sometimes taxes gave to be raised. Sometimes unity is the most important principle. Sometimes you just have to admit that everyone else sees things differently than you and being intransigent starts being more hurtful than helpful.

    • #14
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:23 am
  15. Profile photo of Nick Stuart Thatcher

    The “fiscal cliff” coming up in a few days is really just a fiscal seam in the linoleum. The real fiscal cliff is when nobody will buy US debt anymore and we can’t finance the trillion dollar annual deficit.

    I agree with Barone the GOP as currently constituted is incapable of governing/leadership, but for different reasons. All they’ve been doing since the election is negotiating with themselves. They could have passed whatever they could agree on out of the house and dropped it in the Senate and President’s lap.

    It’s an epic cluster-up. As the line from Full Metal Jacket goes “it’s a great big [CoC word] sandwich, and we’re all gonna have to take a bite.”

    • #15
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:30 am
  16. Profile photo of Fred Cole Member

    When it doubt: Pessimism. 

    But anybody observing the Republicans know that they’re utter, utter clown shoes.

    • #16
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:31 am
  17. Profile photo of curtmilr Inactive
    skipsul: Boehner’s Plan B would have cut ZERO spending, it wasn’t a compromise, it was a surrender.

    Boehner would have been better demanding that Barry surrender on something substantive – make the deal painful for both sides. The Dems gave nothing, and Repubs gave symbolism.

    Better not to vote at all in that case. . .

     Any deal where the Dems lose nothing is foolish at this point. · 0 minutes ago

    Dead on target, skipsul! Way off base, Peter!

    Senator Reid had already said he would not bring Plan B to a vote, and Obama had said if it passed both houses, he would veto it!

    So what was the purpose of the violation of stated GOP principle on taxes? A meaningless fig leaf? No, this was a cowardly surrender by an unprincipled Speaker lacking the spine to fight for genuine reform.

    The government debt bubble will begin bursting in the next couple of years. Perhaps even sooner if we don’t vigorously cut spending and encourage private sector growth. Plan B did neither! Better to vote “present” and allow Obama & Reid to pass their worthless programs, but avoid complicity in the criminal actions.

    • #17
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:33 am
  18. Profile photo of EThompson Inactive
    Al Sparks: I guess I don’t care. In the end, the arithmetic doesn’t add up. It’s no longer about the taxes. It’s about spending and entitlement reform.

    Exactement! The sobering reality is that the top 2% of earners in this country could be taxed 100% of their income and it wouldn’t begin to make a dent in the deficit.

    • #18
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:35 am
  19. Profile photo of Leigh Member

    I wouldn’t say incapable of governing. I would say that they have yet to figure out how best to apply their principles as a minority party. The Republicans have two jobs: As the opposition party, their job is to set forth an alternative vision in contrast to the current government. As the party controlling the House, their job is to use their current real but limited power to influence as best they can the direction the country takes.

    John Boehner is focused primarily on the second, while the Tea Party (speaking broadly) is focused on the first and little interested in the second. There’s some tension between those roles in the best of times, and the fact that the country just rejected their vision makes it harder right now.

    • #19
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:39 am
  20. Profile photo of RedRules Inactive

    He’s wrong, as is your assumption. It’s not about the Republican’s not being able to govern. It’s about the Republican’s morphing into Democrat-Lite. It’s about how they can’t seem to adhere to time-tested principles that made us the greatest nation on earth.

    The House members who voted down plan B should be lauded. I hope the persevere, but I don’t hold much hope. We need to suffer through a full-on massive Depression. We need the chickens to come home to roost. Only after economic disaster can Conservatives, hopefully, be able to take back their role as faithful steward of the Constitution. 

    • #20
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:41 am
  21. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    EThompson
    Al Sparks: I guess I don’t care. In the end, the arithmetic doesn’t add up. It’s no longer about the taxes. It’s about spending and entitlement reform.

    Exactement! The sobering reality is that the top 2% of earners in this country could be taxed 100% of their income and it wouldn’t begin to make a dent in the deficit. · 3 minutes ago

    And at least 51% of the population is too stupid to realize that basic truth, distracted by panem et circenses.

    • #21
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:43 am
  22. Profile photo of David John Inactive

    The Republicans are now identified with the rich in the public mind. Republicans should be identified instead as a party of principles.

    I like those proposals by which the Republicans vote ‘present’, let the Left run riot, and hope to rise again out of the ensuing disaster. 

    God help us, all.

    (Oh… and Merry Christmas)

    • #22
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:44 am
  23. Profile photo of Matthew Gilley Member

    I would love to chime in but, alas, I am one of the unwashed Huns from a district represented by someone who actually believes in what he is selling, so I am disqualified to offer an opinion to my fainthearted Republican betters. Keep squealing in panic, brothers and sisters. Those of us in states too foolish to follow your wise counsel will be just fine. 

    • #23
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:46 am
  24. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Matthew Gilley: I would love to chime in but, alas, I am one of the unwashed Huns from a district represented by someone who actually believes in what he is selling, so I am disqualified to offer an opinion to my fainthearted Republican betters. Keep squealing in panic, brothers and sisters. Those of us in states too foolish to follow your wise counsel will be just fine. · 1 minute ago

    God bless South Carolina…and Texas!

    • #24
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:49 am
  25. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    I’m convinced that the nature of the Bush tax cuts set up the Mother of all Bootlegger and Baptist scams. Once expiration was imminent, conservatives offered up the moonshine of temporary tax cuts as protection against liberals’ threat of higher rates. Liberals use those extended tax cuts — focusing only on those for the rich — as justification for more spending. Next year…the cycle begins again.

    Don’t have enough time to write up a post, but Google “Bootlegger and Baptist” and connect the dots. 

    • #25
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:51 am
  26. Profile photo of Joe Boyle Inactive

    In four years we’ll have over twenty trillion in debt and over seventy trillion in unfunded liabilities. I’m having a hard time caring about Boehner and his feckless antics.

    • #26
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:53 am
  27. Profile photo of Dr. Nick Inactive

    I feel it is imperative to iterate that the GOP is but 1/2 of 1/3 of the government at this time. Do the individuals that proclaim their conservative bona fides on this website really endow the 1/6 with such power? The people cast their vote in November for the party and direction that they desire. I understand the temptation to ‘hold the line’ on the increase in taxes, but is it really a position that the GOP will be able to keep steadfast? I doubt it.

    On the other hand, if the GOP concedes for higher taxes on the upper income earners alone and allows for the under 1 million dollar earners per annum pay their ‘fair share,’ what is the downside? We betray Norquist, who has already approved Plan B? No, all we do is limit the MSM and their minions a talking point that they will no doubt propagate like the melting of glaciers and the destruction of Gaia. There are few positions of principle that the conservative base may take with the current power base.

    • #27
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:57 am
  28. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member

    Judging from the tenor of the comments, it seems that Peter and Michael Barone may be right, but who really gives a rat’s behind? The point was made in the latest Audio Meetup that those conservatives who stood on principle and denied Boehner his Plan B should be thanked rather than vilified. We’re already over the cliff, and to quote Anthony Hopkins in The Lion in Winter:

    Prince Richard: He’ll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn’t going to see me beg. Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool… as if the way one fell down mattered. Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.
    • #28
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:58 am
  29. Profile photo of Leigh Member
    Crow’s Nest: Barone isn’t wrong about the fecklessness of the Republicans, but he’s got it wrong re:the party that is unserious about governing. The Democrats, the party of ‘nothing to see here’ annual deficits; years without a budget; and no serious plan for entitlement reform all the while proposing massive new entitlements; the party of credit downgrades and crony capitalism on an unprecedented scale–these are the behaviors of a party unserious about the current state of affairs.

    He got to that later in the article. (Basically he said it’s now up to Harry Reid — which means we’re doomed.)

    • #29
    • December 26, 2012 at 7:59 am
  30. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    Michael Barone is a political analyst, so he quite naturally sees the problem in terms of political parties. Thomas Sowell is more insightful because he realizes the problem resides in the body politic. The election was a referendum on the nature of republican rule, and conservatives lost. The Republican party has become irrelevant.

    Let’s have a realistic look at where we now stand. A plurality of Americans, though perhaps not a majority, now represent a kind of critical mass. The constituent components of this group break down into three categories: true progressive ideologues, the uninformed (aka low information voters), and government dependents (the 47% if you like). So what’s to be done?

    Well, there’s nothing we can do. The combination of public school indoctrination and progressive control of the media ensures that the left has a lock on public discourse. Conservatives have better ideas, but it takes an educated and engaged populace to understand them. For every Hillsdale there’s a thousand public schools across the nation spreading the progressive agenda.

    We’re cooked. The only thing left to do is plan for a collapse. Maybe the Tea Party can become UKIP – a conservative party in exile.

    • #30
    • December 26, 2012 at 8:01 am
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