GOP needs to focus on winnable issues
by Dan Thomasson
December 31, 2013 09:56 PM | 658 views | 2 2 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It seems fairly obvious now that the Republicans are going to have to ride into the midterm election year on an issue other than the Affordable Care Act, which more and more looks like a dead horse not worth beating as political campaigns go.

That’s not to say that flaws in the “abominable Obamacare” — as the GOP has labeled it for the past five years — won’t offer some fodder for electioneering. But if one succumbs to the reality that once something is given by the government, it is difficult to take away, it becomes easier to accept that the opportunities for repeal are next to nil.

Even if the Democrats should manage to lose the Senate next fall, not terribly likely at this stage, doing away entirely with the giant health reform bill would face doubtful success. A two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress needed to override a sure veto would be nearly impossible to achieve, especially with the outcry one might expect from those already benefiting from the program.

The smart money in the Republican firmament seems willing to bet on another strategy, shying away from the most radical tea party approaches of the far right and coming back toward solid conservatism that has a more general appeal. That would include concentrating on convincing voters that economic problems can be solved and immigration and tax reform can be achieved without disruptions that seem to want to turn the clock back a century or so.

The question becomes now whether the GOP’s still powerful fringe groups understand that winning a primary is not the end goal — that preserving some outdated ideology at the cost of winning office is not desirable for the long or short range health of the party. That may be more difficult than it seems considering more moderate (make that more politic) candidates are facing tough primaries from the outer reaches. Rigid doctrinaire challengers obviously didn’t get the message sent by voters in the likes of Indiana and Missouri during the last election when certain Republican victories suddenly turned to ashes in the firestorm of self-destruction.

There are some signs, however, that the stranglehold that a relative few hard-nosed ideologues have had on the Republican caucus, particularly in the House, has been loosened by GOP leadership apparently tired of being portrayed as puppets and cowards and obstructionists held hostage at the expense of rational government.

That includes House Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner has made it clear he is weary of the allegations and has served notice on the outside groups that he is the master of the House or caucus if one prefers. It doesn’t mean, however, that he has given up his conservative credentials or his understanding that he owes allegiance to long-standing conservative principles, merely that he is more willing to practice the art of compromise rather than being bullied into stances that are not compatible with winning.

The New Year on the other hand will see several of the Senate’s tea party heroes like Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas preparing for a potential entry into the presidential sweepstakes of 2016. Will they effectively compete with Gov. Chris Christy of New Jersey or Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget man who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012? Perhaps in the primary states but even that speculation is premature at this early date. Let’s just say there will be considerable movement that will escalate after next November’s balloting is finished.

Meanwhile, what’s on the table for 2014? The answer is the same panoply of issues that have occupied the past year-immigration, sequestration, the debt ceiling, Afghanistan troop withdrawal and so forth. The focus is likely to shift on reforming rather than annihilating the health reform act. Just too many Americans already are beginning to benefit from having some sort of insurance protection to do away with it despite the awkwardness and embarrassment of the roll out.

Some Republicans counsel that it would be better for the party to lead the charge to try to correct the flaws. Others contend that such a move would play into the hands of Democrats who would claim overall credit for the program.

But if you are betting on a functional approach to politics and government from Capitol Hill to the White House, it’s probably still a long shot.

Dan Thomasson is retired editor of Scripps-Howard News Service.
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LibinCobb
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January 01, 2014
If the GOP was honestly interested in re-branding themselves, they would have completed or at least started that process by now. It has been long enough since the 2008 beat down of McCain and his running dope for most to understand that the GOP has a very significant problem. Was anything done to change the perceptions of the electorate that the GOP does not hold most of us in their best interests? No, nothing was done. In fact the situation was made worse by the 2012 choice of Mittens and his toxic choice of Ryan as a running mate. When it couldn't get any worse for the GOP, it did, with the commencement of wars being conducted on a variety of groups within our population. By the way, the GOP believed that there was now way that Mitt could lose in 2012 due to the lagging economy.

"It is not Democracy when it is harder to vote than buy a gun". President Bill Clinton

It is more than comical to see the GOP eating their own, for example, the ever changing opinions involving Chris Christie who had the nerve to ask for help from President Obama after Sandy. Just where was Governor Christie supposed to go for the needed assistance? Did the GOP step up and offer the needed funds? No they did not. There were 67 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted "no" on Sandy relief.

There should be no wonder why the GOP is stuck and can't get out of its own way.

So now with the 2016 election already being discussed we learn that Ted Cruz will be renouncing his Canadian citizenship in preparation for a presidential run. There will be millions who will support this mental case, even though he was not born on US soil. Show us your birth certificate Ted. The clown train has already left the station.

I will say at this point. Keep up the good work GOP, it seems you are destined for mediocrity.

The GOP in its entirety has ignored the advice presented after the 2012 autopsy of the party. Then, when it couldn't get any worse for the GOP, it did. A trend? Forty plus votes in the House of Representatives in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The GOP is more willing to fight a losing fight than to make changes which just might be beneficial.
Luek
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January 03, 2014
Thank god for you LibinCobb. If we could only get more Kevin Foley clones like you our lives would be much more richer.

The GOP is a dinosaur in this glorious age of Obama the Magnificent. They should be exiled to relocation camps until some foreign nation agrees to take them in. They are just in the way of real progress.

Remember our new mantra:

ONE PEOPLE (Only Obama Democrats of course. Republicans especially the white ones may not even be people), ONE GOVERNMENT(the Democratic controlled Federal government of course. State governments too many times are controlled by the Republicans and should be made irrelevant by Federal decree), ONE LEADER (our precious Obama holy be thy name for life when the 22rd Constitutional amendment is finally repealed)
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