Republicans have neither the ability nor the desire to govern

Elections aside, the next two years are going to be one part painful and one part schadenfreude.

As I wrote last month, the modern-day Republican Party is not a great example of the Median Voter Theorem.

The GOP is constrained not by political fundamentals, but by decades of well-rehearsed ideology that have left them with an aging base that is increasingly and unreasonably set in its ways.

So, after six years of breaking our political system, and putting people into office who campaigned on keeping it broken, the Republican Party is now faced with the ghastly proposition of actually having to make the system they broke work.

As Andrew O’Hehir put it:

Tec Cruz, the one man wrecking ball.

Tec Cruz, the one man wrecking ball.

Now that big Republican majority is supposed to “govern,” ha ha, in a context where their actions are guaranteed to disappoint the crazy, scared Caucasian sliver of the electorate that voted for them. Because they can’t undo Obamacare and seal off the border and launch a bunch of birther-Benghazi investigations and a five-front ground war against Iran, ISIS, Russia, Edward Snowden, several random African countries and whoever else wants a piece.

The GOP can’t advance anything of substance out of its caucus, so they may decide that it doesn’t make sense to even bother.

They know all too well how easy it is for an opposition party to obstruct and then take advantage of a majority that tries to promote a serious policy agenda in the Senate.

As the National Review’s editorial board pointed out yesterday, a GOP senate that bothered to make an attempt at governing would be vulnerable to the same filibuster, attack, repeat strategy that they just rode to the majority. So while the GOP is now “in power,” they only have power for power’s sake.

If that means that the next two years feature the same amount of nothing as the last two, all while exacerbating the damage the Republicans are doing to their brand by being crazy and in charge, I’ll take it.

I’d rather have the majority, but sitting back and watching them self-destruct in a negative feedback loop of Obolaghazicare madness in the run-up to 2016 may be the next-best thing.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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60 Responses to “Republicans have neither the ability nor the desire to govern”

  1. stephanie092 says:

    til I looked at the draft ov $5101 , I be certain that…my… brother was actualy earning money parttime from there new laptop. . there dads buddy has been doing this 4 only eleven months and resently paid for the depts on there place and bourt a top of the range Land Rover Range Rover . hop over to this site…>> -> INCOME FROM ONLINE ADVERTIsiteNG!!! <-

  2. egglentine says:

    Seems to me that it is the progressives that are obsessed with controlling lady and men parts.

  3. LeftleaningTx says:

    You an old man with nothing better to do that shove you opinion down other people throat ?

  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    Poor little whig. Sayonara.

  5. LeftleaningTx says:

    More dribble
    Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk ?
    Hint, everyone else does.

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    The almost 50% who didn’t bother to vote care and showed it by rejecting you and your Republican cousins. The scores of thousands who politically tossed Democrat officials in Ohio out by voting for union candidates care. The almost 100,000 who politically defeated an Obama supporter in Seattle and who defeated Obama’s anti-worker and insuliting minimum wage plan at the same time care.

    Democrats, Republicans, Dixiecrats and Tea Partiers don’t care how bad the people they vote for are and vote for them anyway. That’s happened before:

  7. LeftleaningTx says:

    Babble on with your stupid ignorant assertions, nobody care.

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Democrats have been pro-war and anti-union since Wilson and people like you have been voting for them ever since. There is no cure for blindness when people refuse to look at evidence.

    All the evidence says you’re worng and that I’m right.

  9. LeftleaningTx says:

    Nonetheless your statements are wrong insofar as the overall agenda of Democrats as opposed to the Republicans. Site all the articles you want and it won’t cover for your ignorance and make you right.
    You are wrong, it’s just that simple.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re wrong. Believing the lies of right wingers is the heritage of being a Democrat, Republican or a Libertarian. Or perhaps you’re just projecting what you want on people who are your enemies, ie, Democrat or Republican politicians and the rich who own them.

    In any case, you’re wrong.

    Clinton murdered half a million Iraqi children.

    LBJ and Nixon murdered a million Vietnamese and 55,000 plus GIs.

    Obama, Hillary Clinton, Cuomo and Jerry Brown are all union busters. Obama and Emanuel tried to bust the Chicago Teachers union and got (politically speaking) kicked in the ass for their efforts. The CTU won. Democrats, because they control the WH are actually worse than Republicans when it comes to union busting.

    Pretending that the Democrats are better or even particularly different than the Republicans is a lie. They’re not. Unions get busted by both parties.

    Obama attacks airline and rail workers : LABORnotes 02 15 12 “Two years after President Obama and Democrats abandoned labor’s much-anticipated Employee Free Choice Act, they have refused to block Republicans intent on making life miserable for airline and rail workers. A bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, voted up 75-20 in the Senate, changes federal labor law to make organizing more difficult for railroad and airline unions. New rules will make it easier to decertify unions and harder to win elections when employers merge.”

    ”Obama attacks the UAW HuffPo 09 03 2010 “The White House is forcefully pushing back on former (Obama) car czar Steve Rattner’s upcoming book about his time in Washington, specifically the allegation that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once blurted “Fuck the UAW” when told that tens of thousands of autoworkers’ jobs were at stake in the restructuring of the auto industry.”

    NY Democrat Cuomo attacks unions AlterNet “On Tuesday, a group of nearly 2,000 union members and their supporters met Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany, New York to protest his 2012-2013 budget proposal cutting pensions and benefits for workers…”,_mic-check_pension-cutting_ny_governor_andrew_cuomo/

    California Democrat Brown attacks state workers Sacramento Bee 05 16 2012 “Questions swirl around Jerry Brown’s plan to cut state workers’ hours… Brown wants to move most of California’s 214,000 workers to four-day workweeks and 9.5-hour shifts starting July 1. The change would reduce state workers’ hours and pay by 5 percent each month and cut state payroll by about $839 million, $401 million of
    it from the deficit-ridden general fund…” >

    Your party is a right centrist party moving right, pulled along by Obama and the Clintons. The few members of Congress or people who mistakenly vote for Democrats who are not moving right are pathetically and terminally isolated.

  11. LeftleaningTx says:

    That of course is an ignorant ridiculous statement mere projection and completely false.

  12. Bill_Perdue says:

    There’s no way to tell. Both seem expert at moving right and turning people off.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    Democrats are pro-capitalists, pro-war, pro-boss. They’re not part of the left.

  14. LeftleaningTx says:

    He’s totally over the job and already talking about leaving and most certainly will if Scalia leaves.
    Scalia is 80 and can’t hang on much longer.
    Women live longer than men so I don’t know why Giinsberg scares you.
    Kennedy , 78, pushes left and right, Pretty left on social issues so he’s certainly going to go for gay marriage but on the rest of the stuff he’s to far right
    At 78 and 80 between Scalia and Kennedy anything could happen any time and if eiher were replaced with a left leaning Justice then all the ruling would go 5/4 to the liberal side so again I disagree with you because that is just simple math.
    Given that the power of the appointment is for the sitting President plus the advisability of the appointment the Republicans can’t hold out as much as you think.
    Ted Cruz alone can’t stall the appointment like he shut down the government., it only take a majority vote and many Republican (like Lindsay Graham) believe that the appointment should be the Presidents choice and actually I think alot of Ted Cruz swanking would hurt the Republicans in the appointment rather than hurt it.
    Clearly I have a more positive outlook than you on the subject but time will tell and we will see.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    Thomas is only 66, he could very easily be on the court another 10 or more years. And there is no doubt in my mind that he, Scalia and Alito will cling onto their seats until they’re burning in Hell. I just don’t see any of them retiring, barring some major life change. The problem is, the court is so far right at the moment, that to bring it back to the left is going to require a drastic shift in jurisprudence, not an incremental one. Scalia or Thomas could be replaced with Cobra Commander and it would shift the court to the left, but not left enough to actually make a significant change in the way they tend to make rulings. Kennedy is right wing on pretty much all the issues that matter. Breyer is just as likely to retire as he’s 76. So we could lose two of the most liberal justices, and with our current political climate there is simply no chance at all that their replacements will be equally liberal or more so. Republicans have shed any and all pretense of shame when it comes to abusing the filibuster to get what they want, or at the very least prevent the President from getting what he wants. Someone the likes of Ted Cruz would never have any problem preventing a left-wing judicial appointment coming to a vote. He’d see any public outrage as a personal challenge, and even his own party leadership can’t shut him up.

  16. LeftleaningTx says:

    They will difficulty filibustering as it will so public and get so much coverage.
    They will fight of course but a left leaning Justine will eventually get the appointment
    I see the math a little different than you
    Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy (who while moderate is way right on to man issues) are all ancient and can’t hold off much longer.
    Ginsberg leans left of course
    With that makeup it would definitely swing the court left

  17. Naja pallida says:

    Well, whoever… I think it works better, but I think i would have broken them up over a couple days, or used one as a weekend post – it gets kinda dead around here on weekends.

  18. Naja pallida says:

    You have a lot more faith than I do in neoliberals nominating left-leaning justices. A likely scenario would be the Democrats failing to take back the Senate, and the Republicans absolutely refusing to even consider any justice who even farts slightly to the left. Or just doing what they’re doing now, and filibustering anything they don’t want to debate. The end result will be more justices who are on the center-right of the spectrum, ala Kennedy. Right now, five members of the Court could legitimately choose to retire at any time, and arguably only one would be improved by any judge that the Republicans would agree to allow to come to a vote.

    If there was a right leaning judge considering retirement, this incoming Congress would probably be their best chance at getting a favorable replacement. Holding off for another two years hoping the Republicans sweep 2016 is pretty wishful thinking. I’m just afraid Ginsberg is finally going to throw in the towel, and then we’ll really be screwed.

  19. LeftleaningTx says:

    But don’t forget that next Democratic President will appoint between 2-4 new Justices to the Supreme Court swing it left.
    The left leaning Court WILL overturn Citizens United, WILL overturn all of the voter suppression rulings, WILL restore the Voting Rights Act and WILL overturn the gerrymandering rulings.
    That will be a disaster of Biblical proportions for the Republicans and destroy their chances to win election for quite some time.

  20. LeftleaningTx says:

    The socialist will be Democrats of course.

  21. LeftleaningTx says:

    The Republicans will get the there much faster than the Democrats

  22. LeftleaningTx says:

    Republicans can’t govern and they won’t allow the Democrats to.

  23. LeftleaningTx says:

    NEVER happen.
    The Republicans for fear the Democrats will get the credit in 2016 will do nothing except predictably lurch right to please their base with anti immigration to please the Tea Party (offending the Hispanics), Anti choice, anti contraceptive “war on women’s rights” to please the social conservatives (offending postmenopausal women) and try to cut taxes and further deregulate to please big business (offending all Americans)
    With all of this and the lack of agenda they are setting the democrats up for the perfect win for the WH in 2016

  24. LeftleaningTx says:

    She man but don’t forget that Scaila, Thomas and Kennedy will either die or retire as well
    If no once is confirmed the Court automatically swings left.

  25. LeftleaningTx says:

    and the rear end mens parts too.

  26. TheOriginalLiz says:

    I’m not entirely sue the GOP didn’t intentionally throw this one thinking they’d get the presidency and a lot of new dem congresscritters in two years. Both parties are despicable enough to think that way – the only difference is that the GOP seems to be controlling ladyparts.

  27. RWISCLSS says:

    My Gov. Elect who is Republican said after his concession speech when answering questions asked by the press. That it was a competition.. That really got to me.. Because it shouldn’t be about competition but by who one thinks is going to govern the best..

    I didn’t vote for this person and if anyone wants to know I am talking about the State of MA..

  28. And I totally did not set you up, Jon, by asking Naja to say that :)

  29. Yep, I really think the multi-post break-up works, particularly for this post. It makes it more bite-size manageable, but at the same time, it really lets each post speak for itself.

  30. GeorgeMokray says:

    Obamacare may very well go away due to the Supreme Court. The Repugs can “govern” through the Supremes if they want to and let the House and Senate remain in gridlock until the next Presidential election.

  31. Rambie says:

    The Democrats will also just lay there and take the blame too instead of fighting back.

  32. flocculent says:

    Nice theory, until RBG dies and the righties slow the replacement process down enough to keep the judiciary in their fascist death grip. We will yearn for the days of citizens united and hobby lobby.

  33. Demosthenes says:

    Wow, an astonishingly cynical take, particularly on Pres. Obama. While I believe he is a terrible negotiator, is he really what you say he is?

  34. Demosthenes says:

    Exactly. Not bothering to vote and ceding the ground to the other political party is my definition of self-destructive stupidity.

  35. Demosthenes says:

    It will be a rough ride. The question is what incentive does the President have to work with the GOP instead of vetoing everything?

  36. FTC says:

    They will do nothing, then blame Obama and the Democratic minority for gridlock. Many gullible souls will continue to believe them.

  37. Lordwhorfin says:

    Sorry, all of modern Latin American history and politics says otherwise, Brother Bill. Welcome to Brazil.

  38. Bill_Perdue says:

    Climate degradation has three components, all of which are supported by Obama or his regime.

    Fracking “After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it.” Obama State of the Union 2013

    Offshore Drilling ” Not Just the Atlantic: Obama Leasing Millions of Gulf Acres for Offshore Drilling – Deploying the age-old “Friday news dump,” President Barack Obama’s Interior Department gave the green light on Friday, July 18 to companies to deploy seismic air guns to examine the scope of Atlantic Coast offshore oil-and-gas reserves. It is the first time in over 30 years that the oil and gas industry is permitted to do geophysical data collection along the Atlantic coast. Though decried by environmentalists, another offshore oil and gas announcement made the same week has flown under the radar: over 21 million acres of Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas reserves will be up for lease on August 20 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Superdome.

    Keystone “GOP Congress May Steamroll Obama On Keystone Pipeline, Energy Exports – Republicans have a reason to celebrate, having taken both statewide and national positions around the country. It was a near sweep. Assessments of that victory, though, vary, depending on whom is asked. In the short run, by all accounts, the new majority — with all of its new confidences — will push key energy issues off the fence: the Keystone Pipeline as well as oil and natural gas exports. That’s particularly true since the Obama regimes DoS supports Keystone.

  39. Bill_Perdue says:

    They will be extinct and socialists will replace them. Your implausible and far-fetched
    pessimism is not an excuse for abstention from the fight for social change.

  40. BillFromDover says:

    So now… they have even more people to do nothing other than block and obstruct?

    Meet the new bosses, same as the old bosses; just more of ’em!

  41. Max_1 says:

    Democrats didn’t have the desire to win…

  42. AnitaMann says:

    No they will not go extinct. Because something would have to replace them. That would take mass mobilization to fight the entrenched powers. Not enough Americans with the will and ability to take this on. We’ll just see dwindling participation and learned helplessness.

    Oh, I was in a MUCH WORSE MOOD two days ago.

  43. AnitaMann says:

    In other news the Pope wears a funny hat. This was clear to any sentient being who was paying attention. Ah there’s the rub. Those are not the people who SHOW UP TO FUCKING VOTE in midterms. We should just rename our country, Wha Happen?

  44. RepubAnon says:

    That’s my worry – this time, after wringing every conceivable concession from President Obama, Mitch McConnell will get the Republicans to agree to a “Grand Bargain” It will include selling out core Democratic constituencies and lots of wedge issues for 2016.

    After President Obama signs it, the Republicans will impeach him for doing so.

  45. Silver_Witch says:

    I have my martini, crackers and pate….I shall enjoy the show…since there is little else one can do now.

  46. Colin says:

    Absolutely !

  47. Indigo says:

    They can break things. They probably will. There’s the faltering infrastructure, roads and bridges, the international scene where they can insult Moslems and wonder why Jews don’t become Christians, and best of all, they can send their representatives to talk to European leaders. Won’t that be hicks-ville?

    It’s Carnival at the peak of Bakhtian criticism. Sharpen your pencils, folks, this is too tasty for satire, this is ripe for high end Marxian critique and Bakhtian irony. Welcome to the circus! []

    Shades of Philip K. Dick . . . we’re in for a round of fan fiction as social commentary, oh, yeah!

  48. nicho says:

    Shamus Cooke at Counterpunch lays it all out. What will change? Not much, apart from political theater.

    What can we expect from the new Republican-controlled Congress? Many people will likely be surprised at the high level of cooperation between Obama and the Republicans, who have much in common. Most likely, a quick bi-partisan consensus will be reached on continuing and expanding the wars in the Middle East, with the ultimate and insane goal of toppling the Syrian and Iranian governments.

    A new consensus will be reached regarding the U.S. economy, as both parties will “work together” to lower the U.S. corporate tax rate and give other “incentives” to the corporations and rich investors to actually invest their money in something productive other than their Wall Street gambling.

    Obama and the Republicans will continue to work on their bi-partisan public school agenda, which aims to privatize the public schools through charters schools, an idea first proposed by the Reagan administration.

    And while Republicans moan about Obamacare, they agree with its central feature, that “the market” should determine who gets health care and of what quality, based on what you can afford. The Republicans will loudly crow about this or that aspect of Obamacare they want eliminated, but the central logic is bi-partisan.

    Ironically, as Obama continues to act in favor of the very wealthy, the Republican-controlled congress will give the president a chance to regain his lost popularity among Democrats. The Republicans are likely to use their control of the House and Senate to put forward legislation to appease their Christian fundamentalist base, targeting either abortions, immigrants, homosexuals, etc.

    Obama will then get a chance to act as a “progressive” by using his veto power. After doing nothing for working people during his six years as president, Obama can become a ““hero” again over a couple of social issues, just in time to re-energize Democratic voters for the 2016 election, which will falsely be labeled “the most important election of our lifetime.”

  49. Houndentenor says:

    The climate disaster is coming, Keystone or not. That has little to do with it. I just know I don’t want to live anywhere near it. The media did a good job of intentionally ignoring the nasty spill in north central Arkansas a couple of years ago. Keystone will be an environmental disaster somewhere. We let the oil companies do whatever they want and then act surprised when they ignore safety regulations that we don’t bother to enforce. (See: British Petroleum).

  50. Jon Green says:

    I have to give a hat-tip to John for turning one long, four-section article into four short ones ;)

  51. Tony Mac says:

    Republicans can’t govern…and Democrats won’t…

  52. GarySFBCN says:

    “If that means that the next two years feature the same amount of nothing as the last two, all while exacerbating the damage the Republicans are doing to their brand by being crazy and in charge, I’ll take it.”

    I’ve been thinking the same thing. Taking it a step further, give them all the rope they need. I think all the angst regarding the election results is overblown. Getting young people to vote is critical. Just as same-sex marriage approval ratings go up one funeral at a time, support for Republicans and their despicable policies goes down one funeral at a time

  53. basenjilover says:

    Neither could the Democrats lead nor govern. If Democrats think Obama will use the veto pen to veto bad policies, they’re still deluding themselves.

  54. just_AC says:

    Meanwhile, The Repubs pay back their Koch overlords and pass the Keystone pipeline, ensuring climate disaster. And the Senators now in charge are mostly climate change deniers, while this is one of the most critical times to stop the almost inevitable disaster. We had one tipping point reached this year – how many more will we see in the next two years?

    It might not matter too much to me, I’m 60. but I have daughters and hope to have grandkids that aren’t huddled around a campfire, hoping to scrounge some leftovers from the baronal palace as the sun flickers through the neverending smog and the thermometer reaches another low.

    I often wonder how different it would’ve been if Gore would’ve had some balls and claimed the election that was rightfully his. 8 years of no smirking chimp. Gore embraced climate change and we hopefully would have been in the lead, making the world safer

  55. Mark J says:

    a GOP senate that bothered to make an attempt at governing would be vulnerable to the same filibuster, attack, repeat strategy that they just rode to the majority

    The problem with this theory is that it requires the Dems to grow a spine and act as a united opposition party, as the GOP has done so successfully.

    And we all know that isn’t going to happen.

    And we also all know that Obama just wants to be loved and get along so he’ll quickly fall into line with what the GOP wants. I imagine that there will be some new grand bargain that guts Social Security soon enough. Obama has been wanting to pull that trigger for some time now.

  56. 2karmanot says:

    “all while exacerbating the damage the Republicans are doing to their brand” It seems to me that the Republican toxic brand is the new status quo—-they cleaned the Democratic clock big time.

  57. Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks says:

    Iowa just gave Comedy Central gift-wrapped comedic gold in Joni Ernst, or as one writer described her, “America’s first Alex Jones senator”.

  58. Bill_Perdue says:

    Republicans and Democrats can’t govern because they don’t represent the majority of the American people who want an end to the economic chaos, low wages, unemployment and underemployment.

    They can’t govern because they represent the oil companies and the military industrial complex and will continue to engage in wars of aggression in the Arab and muslim world and will continue to attempt to expand the number of nations plundered by US and EU banks.

    There is one major political question that they may be able to agree on and that is the question of increasing austerity measures to cut social security and gut the wages of workers.

    Neither party can govern because they don’t have the votes or the support of the American people. Obama won with less than a third of eligible voters in 2008 and 2012 and in 2014 less than 50 percent of eligible voters actually bothered to vote. “Election turnout is often cited as an indicator of the strength of the mandate of winning candidates, but it can be a misleading statistic: Turnout is usually measured as a proportion of registered voters rather than of those eligible to vote — and census numbers show that more than 70 million U.S. citizens of voting age are not registered voters.

    Turnout proved to be lower than previous years in all but 10 states, but the reasons for that decline are many: Some states lacked competitive races to draw voters to the polls; others cut polling hours or reduced early voting periods. And, in some states, new voter ID laws could have kept some voters away. Public opinion polls such as the one released by Gallup earlier this week suggested that fewer Americans cared about this election than in previous years.

    Turnout in midterm elections measured by participation of registered voters has fallen since 1840, according to the Pew Research Center. Voter turnout in 2010 rose slightly, but 2014 turnout is a return to the declining trend.

    Both right wing parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are headed for political extinction as more and more voters see through their lies and rhetoric.

  59. FLL says:

    Look at which Republican senators have the best name recognition and the most coverage in the media: Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The folks at Comedy Central have their work cut out for them.

  60. Naja pallida says:

    You’ve been busy, Jon. I, for one, appreciate you breaking your posts up into more easily digestible chunks. :)

    All I can say is that the American people are screwed. We have a Congress that either doesn’t want to do anything, or if they do decide to do something, President Obama will be right there with them just chomping at the bit to jump on board with their half-assed, poorly thought out, right-wing policies that are guaranteed to cause millions of people unnecessary suffering. Not that this wouldn’t have been the case no matter the outcome of this election, but it’s going to be even more so now, because Obama is going to be riding around on his “can’t let perfect be the enemy of the barely tolerable” horse, and the Democrats in the Senate are completely useless to anything resembling progressive policy.

    In 2016, assuming people have finally suffered enough and are finally ready to go to the polls, they’re going to be so disgusted that they’ll vote for anyone who isn’t a complete loon. Allowing Democrats the perpetuate the lesser of two evils theme. Rinse, repeat.

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