Monday, September 14, 2015

GOP Bench Turns Out To Be More Wide Than Deep


Wisconsin Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan pointed out last week that dealing with the Republicans in Congress is like dealing with a pack of unruly kindergarten children. A good many of them are willing to tank their own leadership in their frustration (with democracy) and mania (for suicidal endeavors) to shut down the government. "The dysfunction that has plagued Congress for the last several years," he wrote, "is on full display this week."
[F]unding the government is the most basic responsibility of Congress. If Congress truly wanted to get back to regular order and the budgeting process, we would need to pass 12 separate spending bills by September 30. This is highly unlikely in our current partisan atmosphere, dominated by radical, ideological inclinations and the gravitational pull of a presidential campaign.

Congress now has limited options to keep the government running past the end of the month. Herein lies the current problem and frustration for many members on both sides of the aisle; a small number of Tea Party legislators are holding the rest of the legislative process hostage over extreme and frankly disturbing views.

While many will write off Senator Ted Cruz as a radical right wing presidential candidate, solely focused on his own personal ambitions, he is a key cog in this dangerous dynamic. Just this week, he sent out invitations to Tea Party conservatives to discuss this fall's government shutdown strategy. Over pizza and beers, this group of 28 Republican men is laying the foundation of government shutdown 2.0 with seemingly no care or concern for the risk this poses to the American economy and the American worker. And Cruz is not the only one mulling a government shutdown, his colleagues Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have said they are open to this strategy.

We seem to have short memories here in Congress, but the last time such a shutdown strategy played out, our economy lost 120,000 jobs in two weeks and cost our economy $20 billion. For fiscally-minded Republicans who want to continue to promote economic growth and create good-paying jobs for hard working Americans, this should be a huge deterrent to even approaching a funding deadline. And to be fair many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have expressed an extreme unwillingness to use these funding deadlines as political poker chips.

Until Republican leadership in Congress stops placating the extreme wings of their party we will be plagued by their threats to shut down the government. This is not an issue of Democrats against Republicans-- this is an issue of responsible adults against legislative extremists who have decided that holding the government hostage is the best way and only way to practice their political views.

The new polling from the early battleground states that was released yesterday by CBS News should be a worrying sign for anyone who doesn't want to see the government shut down again by the crackpot extremists. It's not just that Trump is increasing his leads among likely GOP primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, but that the more mainstreamish candidates who disavow anarchy and nihilism and believe in the concept of governing are sinking everywhere. Aside from Trump, the only other candidates in double digits in Iowa are crackpot Ben Carson and neo-fascist Ted Cruz. In New Hampshire Trump is at 40% and the only other candidate in double digits is Carson (at 12%), and in South Carolina it's just Trumpy (36%) and Carson (21%). Cruz is in third place, but with just 6%, still waiting with baited breath for Trump to self-immolate.

But look at the so-called adults. None of the Republican governors are even in serious contention. Scott Walker's strategy was to sweep neighboring Iowa and use the momentum there-- plus the Koch millions he was promised-- to build victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Instead, his support has sunk to 5%, barely ahead of failed CEO Carly Fiorina, and he's in fifth place. And that's his best showing anywhere. His support in New Hampshire is 3%, identical to his support in South Carolina. He's in 8th place in New Hampshire and 10th place in South Carolina. Republican voters are rejecting him everywhere. 

But not as overwhelmingly as they're rejecting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (1% in Iowa, tied with Jim Gilmore for 13th place; 2% in New Hampshire, where he has spent all his time and resources, tied with Marco Rubio for 9th place; and 2% in South Carolina, where he's holding down the #11 spot). The third sitting governor in the race is Bobby Jindal, and he's lucky when he breaks above 0%. He's still at zero in New Hampshire, stuck at the bottom of the GOP barrel with Senator Lindsey Graham, former Senator Rick Santorum and two former governors, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki. He's at 1% in South Carolina, tied with Senator Rand Paul, the most interesting man in politics, and Santorum, a guy you don't want your underage children to google (or for that matter look up on Wikipedia or Urban Dictionary). His big state turns out to be Iowa--where he beat Romney in 2012. This year, though, his 3% is only beating also-rans like Christie, Graham, Pataki, Gilmore, Jindal, Paul and Kasich.

Kasich is the third sitting governor who's being thoroughly rejected by GOP primary voters. His Super PAC has spent millions of dollars pushing him in tiny New Hampshire, but he's only at 9%, barely over Fiorina. And in the states where they haven't started spending, he barely registers: 4% in South Carolina (again, just ahead of Fiorina) and 2% in Iowa (this time way behind Fiorina). And the former governors, Huckabee, Gilmore and Bush, are also savoring the bitter taste of colossal rejection. Some media dullards still refer to Bush as "the front-runner," even though he's tied with Santorum in Iowa for 8th place with 3%, tied with Rand Paul in New Hampshire for 5th place with 6%, and tied with Lindsey Graham in South Carolina for 4th place with 5%.

Welcome to the Deep Bench! Is it any wonder that one of the truly unifying concepts in the U.S. Senate is based around a universal disdain for flagrant careerist Ted Cruz from Texas? My bet is that if Trump doesn't go all the way the GOP nomination will go to someone even worse: Cruz.

Labels: , , ,


At 9:40 AM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This is not an issue of Democrats against Republicans

It is, though. Republicans pull this crap because they get away with it. And they get away with it because the Democrats are controlled by their GOP-lite wing: the people who would rather lose elections than their share of the corporate graft.


Post a Comment

<< Home