Thursday, January 20, 2011


Two stories illustrate the 2011-model GOP's aversion to, um, governing. First, from the Daily Caller (emphasis added):

A number of the House GOP's leading conservative members on Thursday will announce legislation that would cut $2.5 trillion over 10 years, which will be by far the most ambitious and far-reaching proposal by the new majority to cut federal government spending.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, will unveil the bill in a speech at the Heritage Foundation on Thursday morning.

Jordan's bill, which will have a companion bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, would impose deep and broad cuts across the federal government. It includes both budget-wide cuts on non-defense discretionary spending back to 2006 levels and proposes the elimination or drastic reduction of more than 50 government programs....

The RSC boasts a membership of 165 members out of 242 total House Republicans. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, is a member, as is House GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican, and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican.

None of the three chose to comment on the proposal when asked about it through spokesmen on Wednesday.

It was not clear Wednesday whether the bill would be pushed hard by leadership, though the prospect seemed unlikely, at least for the moment....

Next from The Hill (again, emphasis added):

...Fresh off Wednesday night's vote in favor of repeal, the House will take up a resolution Thursday morning directing committees to develop alternatives to the [health care] reform law....

The work to replace the law will prove a far more unwieldy task than simply rejecting what Democrats passed.

Just how quickly Republicans plan to come up with their replacement is unclear. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this week he does not intend to set an arbitrary timetable.

“I don’t know that we need artificial deadlines set up for the committees,”
Boehner told reporters....

This isn't legislating. This is talk radio or Fox News paid for by tax dollars. It's pure posturing, and that's clearly all it's intended to be.

Ezra Klein's take on the lack of an actual GOP replacement for the health care law is "Opposition is easy, governing is hard." But I think what Republicans believe is that governing is unnecessary. Governing is politically risky. They want to be the backseat drivers of America's political system for as long as possible -- and, from the backseat , they want to call the "How's My Driving?" number on the rear bumper every ten minutes to register a complaint -- but they know the road is treacherous, so they don't actually want anyone to find out how well they can drive.

This is what you get when the real leader of your party isn't an elected official -- as Dave Niewert says, the GOP's leader is, after all, Roger Ailes. So the main work of the GOP is bitching, and floating theoretical notions of what would bring about the right-wing utopia.

Republicans know that their ideas seem more appealing to the public the longer they exist merely as poll-tested slogans and not as legislation in concrete legislative language. I half-wonder if they'll be happy if they lose the 2012 presidential election, because they'll be able to avoid taking responsibility for the fate of this country for four more years.

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