Tag Archives: GOP

That Ole Time Division: Ideological Battle Threatens GOP

In 2017, everything’s coming up roses for the Republican Party. Fresh off the heels of a sweeping Electoral victory, the GOP has taken control and is working feverishly to Make America GREAT Again.

At least that’s what they thought they would be doing back on November 8th.  But now that post election reality has set in, the Republican-led Congress has revealed itself to be no more capable of actual governance than they were during the Obama era.  Their most recent attempt at a major legislative achievement, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, went down in flames. With today’s resignation of embattled Chairman Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference with the Election has proven to be virtually invalid (if not damaging on its own.  And the hope of lawmakers to pass significant tax reform is proving far more difficult than originally anticipated.  And despite the President’s litany of controversial Executive Orders, his Administration is caught in their own ideological battle.  At least for the start of the Trump Era, governing is not getting done.

So as for what Republicans are doing well, what would be the answer?  To sum it up, they’re fighting with each other.  Freedom Caucus vs. Moderates, Speaker Ryan and the leadership vs. the insurgency.  Governing responsibilities be damned… the inner party Civil War has now been exposed for the American People to see.  As Kyle Cheney and Rachel Bade of Politico report, Obamacare is still a central point of contention…

Republican efforts to unite around a plan to repeal Obamacare devolved into a heated round of intra-party sniping Wednesday, as conservative groups publicly pummeled moderate GOP lawmakers — all while the White House talked of unity and progress.

The failure to reach a deal in late night talks Tuesday, which were held by competing factions of House Republicans and brokered by Vice President Mike Pence, led conservative advocacy groups Heritage Action and Club for Growth to lash out at centrist Republicans for resisting proposals to undercut Obamacare’s regulations.

“Each one of these members of Congress is standing in the way of compromise,” Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham said in a call with reporters, fingering the 50-member Tuesday Group as the culprit that “refuses to get to yes.”

“Their commitment to [repealing] Obamacare is one that existed on the campaign trail but does not exist in the halls of Congress,” he said.

It was an attempt to flip the narrative that has dominated in Washington after last month’s failed attempt to gut Obamacare: That the archconservative House Freedom Caucus was the singular impediment to the GOP’s progress on a seven-year priority.

Sounds like some of them miss the days when they had President Obama to kick around.

As readers to this blog know, Republican In-fighting has been the central characteristic of the party since Barack Obama’s election. But now that they are in total control, time is short for the GOP to prove they can run the government better than Democrats.  After nearly seven years of “show votes” to Repeal Obamacare, a failure actually do so when given the chance should be unacceptable to Trump supporters, Republican party faithful, and the general public.  Not only does this legislative debacle demonstrate a failure of ideas, it shows the Congressional GOP’s failure to put the most basic needs of the American People ahead of their own self interests.

As President Trump said, this behavior is a recipe for defeat.

All of this turmoil may not be good for the country, but it is definitely causing voters to have second thoughts about their support, or tolerance of the new Administration.  Mid-term Elections, like the one coming quickly for 2018, are rarely positive for the party in power.  But if that party is viewed as incapable of doing the People’s Business, Democrats could have much to gain.

IF Voter Turnout increases!!!!

 

Rand Paul In For 2016 White House Run

After months of intense preparation, debate and prayer, the big moment for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has finally arrived.  Via the New York Times, he now joins the hunt for the White House…

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday, aiming to upset the political order in Washington and disprove those in his own party who doubt that a fiercely libertarian conservative can be a serious contender.

“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government,” Mr. Paul wrote in a post on his website on Tuesday.

[…]

Mr. Paul, 52, becomes the second Republican to enter the 2016 campaign, following his colleague in the Senate, Ted Cruz of Texas.

It will not remain a small field for long. Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, is expected to announce his candidacy next week. Also waiting in the wings are Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, who are expected to declare soon, rounding out what Republicans say is perhaps their most competitive and robust slate of candidates since 1980, when Ronald Reagan faced competition from party heavyweights like George Bush and Howard Baker.

Carrying the torch from his father Ron Paul, son Rand is sure to stir up a lot of passion and dedication, especially from younger Libertarians (who have been noticeably absent from Party politics in recent years).  But if Rand Paul is to be successful in his quest for the Presidency, he has a much bigger task to accomplish than his forbears.  He must challenge GOP conventions enough the next generation of voters will stick with him, yet somehow appeal enough to the mainstream to run a credible race.

On this magnanimous goal, Paul isn’t exactly off to a great start.  For one thing, if a founding principles for his campaign is to limit wasteful spending, then why would he want supporters to waste $1000.00 of their hard-earned money on a signed pocket copy of the US Constitution??  Bit of an oxymoron there.

rand paul constitution

 

For Liberals, the news of Rand Paul’s race is more of a wait and see proposition.  He may not end up with many Left-leaning votes, but his opinions on issues like Criminal Justice Reform will certainly get noticed over the next several months.   For good or ill, Rand Paul will be sticking around for a while.  But it’s up to the GOP to determine just how far he can go.

rand paul

(Photo credit:  Rand Paul youtube video)

Is Ted Poe A Go for Light Rail?

Unless mine eyes and ears deceived me… yes. Though unlike the Chronicle’s Dug Begley, I’m not exactly ready to call him a ‘new rail line champion’.

In a bit of a shocker on the House floor yesterday, Congressman Ted Poe spoke in support of federal funding for Houston METRO’s University Line, the “cornerstone” branch of Houston’s light rail expansion that would connect Downtown and the Medical Center to the Galleria.

It’s common knowledge that John Culberson, who represents the area in which the westernmost branch of the rail line will run, is Capitol Hill’s most vocal opponent of rail transit. He has tried time and time again to kill all urban rail projects in Houston. But in speaking with Ted Poe yesterday on the House Floor, he almost sounded supportive of the line as well. Perhaps he was just trying to sound cordial with Poe and his Republican colleagues, but it’s a greater positive step than he’s ever taken before. From the video, Here’s what Poe had to say about the rail…

“…I have never been a strong champion of light rail, but my Congressional district includes a significant portion of the proposed rail line… A majority of my constituents in the affected area that would be served support the light rail. I am concerned that Section 166 of the bill that would prohibit federal funds from going to a part of the University Line that falls in… Mr. Culberson’s district, number 7. This language, although affecting his district primarily, indirectly affects my constituents because it has the effect of killing the whole project. Federal funds are needed to build the University Line in Houston. To be clear, Section 166 really doesn’t save any federal money, it just sends those funds to somewhere else

I’ve recently surveyed the constituents who live in the affected area in my Congressional district… Those in the affected area want light rail. On Facebook alone over the last few days, 604 people supported light rail and 340 opposed it.”

Just in case you’ve forgotten, this rare occurrence where a member of Congress is against a project, but is later swayed by the overwhelming support of his constituents? That’s actually how our government is supposed to work. Americans send Congress to Washington so that they will vote the interests of their constituents, not just hold to their personal, rigid beliefs. It was also quite surprising to see Poe concede this fact publicly.

Now the next question… will Ted Poe’s reasoning be enough to sway John Culberson to drop his bill killing federal funding? No one knows for sure, but after yesterday’s events in Congress, Houston is again closer than ever to completing a major piece of it’s planned transit infrastructure. It’s good to see that some in Washington are beginning to figure out that Houston doesn’t need to fall behind just to prove a talking point.

Many Republicans in Culberson’s district are in support of transit investment. I asked Republican activist and Houstonian Christopher Busby what he thought of Poe’s remarks, and here was his response…

“As a former University of Houston student who understands the need for a modern transportation system, I think Congressman Poe’s support for the University line is great. As we continue to grow and become a more dense urban population, projects like the University light rail will become more and more essential to the development of our city’s infrastructure. We have reached the time when development of new roads and maintenance of old ones is not enough to sustain our population growth.”

But having more Houstonians in support of rail transit is just the first step. Most of the University Line is still planned as an At-Grade system, and that’s going to lead to more accidents in the future. While renewed hopes for federal funding are great, it’s time for city leaders and METRO to consider grade separation for the University Line. Most expect that when completed, this line will have the highest ridership of the whole system. It will also be traveling through the most high-density area of the city… an area that is still growing very rapidly. More people and more cars make for a higher probability of accidents. But if Houston plans for a better system now, those future issues can be avoided.

For more on this, check out Off the Kuff.

Before You FREAK OUT About Obama’s Budget…

Take two seconds, breathe, and use that noggin of yours to gain some long-game perspective. One thing is clear… It’s a busy time in our Federal Government right now. Probably the busiest time that we’ve had since Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. We sit on the precipice of having Our Legislators do some REAL work on both Gun Safety and Immigration Reform. We may (fingers crossed) even encourage these people to SOLVE some of these problems.

But then on Wednesday, this happened. President Obama released his budget proposal… the third such go at a Federal Budget after previous ones by both the House and the Senate. And yeah, he attacks Social Security directly by slowing the increase Seniors get each year due to expected inflation.

To ward off the cardiac issues (remember we’re trying to LOWER health care costs here), let’s put this bitter pill in perspective with three main points.

1. The President’s Proposed Budget is just that… a PROPOSAL. Remember this is the Washington fantasy world we’re talking about here.. A place much is said, and very little is DONE. Absolutely nothing regarding the budget has been passed by both Houses of Congress. And no one has voted on even a single word of the President’s proposal.

2. We need to create some SPACE right now. That’s the most important thing that President Obama can do if he has any chance of getting a gun safety bill and immigration reform passed. This budget does that because it makes Republicans feel like they are not being ignored. Look at it in perspective. Remember how the GOP said that the President isn’t serious on entitlements? Well they can’t say that now.

3. TIME is running out for gun safety and immigration reform, . As soon as we get to the summer, the only thing that will matter to Congress will be the 2014 elections. That’s another reason this proposal was critical at the time it was released. Before the lawmakers go back into campaign mode, we need to get these things done.

Progressives should be infuriated at the notion that President Obama would propose these cuts to our nation’s most vulnerable, while continuing to protect the wealthy. The time is surely coming for the Left to push back. But with gun safety and immigration reform hanging in the balance, now is not that time. But it is the time for us to hold our tongues, raise some money, and look ahead to 2014. If these initiatives pass, Democrats score a major victory and ride that into 2014 and take back the House. If they fail, they will do so because of the Republicans, and we ride THAT into 2014 and take back the House.

So for now, the best we can do is to grin and bear it. We’ll know when it’s time to bring the real bears out.

HYPOCRISY 101: GOP Congressman Discoverd on Grindr

It appears that one of our nation’s most prominent anti-GLBT voices is about to be exposed as gay themselves. According to an anonymous blogger, verified pictures and conversations have surfaced from Grindr… a popular gay men’s social networking app. The Congress man has been caught discussing particulars within his district, and even political strategy against Democrats, all in the hopes of coercing the anonymous poster into “personal endeavors” (there’s really not a polite way to say it). Rest-assured, once the full pictures are released, this will spell the end of a political career. You can view the first pictures here.

This story is still developing…

Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Opener: Game ON

My only advice for Liberals when the Conservative blogosphere starts their crowing and whining about the Fiscal Cliff negotiations… GET USED TO IT.

After President Obama delivered his “opening bid” in the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, Republicans naturally became upset over the fact that there was not much for them to like. Conservatives from sea to shining sea will continue to feign outrage and disgust with this in an effort to scare the Left and the President into submission. They want the country to forget the 2012 elections ever occurred.

This is a test for Congressional Democrats and everyone that cares about our causes. This is ONLY a test. No matter how many threats they try to spin, Obama and Democrats are playing a new game right now. A game that is weighted by public opinion, inflated by an improving economy and mandated by the votes on November 6th. Before those on the Left consider cowering, let us be reminded of some very important facts…

1) On November 6th, the GOP lost the election. They lost eight net seats in the House. They lost 4 net seats in the Senate. They LOST the Presidency. And not only did they lose the Presidency, but they lost it on the very same issue being presented in the Fiscal Cliff talks. All polling shows that Americans want taxes for the wealthy to go up, and they don’t want to cut benefits on MedCare, MediCaid or Social Security. In other words… we want a balanced approach. So why is it an insult for the President to do what we’ve asked?

2) House Republicans may have retained control of the chamber, but only after the most aggressive gerrymandering plans in US history. Let them claim a mandate if they wish, but one can argue its strength quite easily by looking at the numbers. 3) If the House GOP feel “insulted” by Obama’s opening bid, it’s high time. The President has gotten little more than insults from this caucus since he was first sworn in… from the infamous shouting of “You Lie!” during a State of the Union address, to the constant conspiracy theories from Birthers, Truthers and whoever else-ers, to the all-out persecution of current Cabinet members Eric Holder and Susan Rice, this group of legislators have shown nothing short of contempt for the Obama Administration.

4) The clock is still ticking. The GOP now have 32 days to come to a deal, or the Bush Tax Cuts expire… never to return. If that happens, they lose all leverage on a bargain for lowering tax rates. As was said yesterday, the writing is on the wall.

For Democrats, this is the time to let the Right crow about insults and being unfair. And when the opportunity arises, simply remind them that if they really cared about insults, maybe they should have thought of the ones they started hurling in January of 2009.

New Game. New Rules. GAME ON.

GOP shows no gratitude to Mitt Romney

Nobody likes to lose. But one thing that Americans themselves despise more than losing? A sore loser. And after November 6th, it’s clear that we have very sore losers in both Mitt Romney and the GOP.

Granted, Mr. Romney’s recent comments about Obama giving “gifts” to his electorate in exchange for their vote is nothing short of offensive. Now that he’s finally untethered from the whims of his party, Mitt’s true character has been revealed for the world to see. But here’s the big “secret” that’s right in front of everyone’s face… This is THE Mitt Romney that the GOP elected!! Remember how he said “I’m not concerned about the very poor“? That was back in late January. And the infamous “47 percent” comment? He said that in May, but it wasn’t really on the national consciousness until September. But still the GOP rallied around him… the crowned him the leader of the party, and accepted him WITH ALL OF HIS FLAWS. Long story short, they bought in, and then sold him to the American people. One may be frustrated with Romney for being a sore loser, but folks, we knew he would be all along. You get what you vote for, right?

For the greater Republican Party on the other hand… the blazing speed with which they have turned to disown Mitt Romney is quite astonishing. Some are trying to quickly act like November 6th never happened and that he was never the nominee. They have disowned Romney at every public opportunity. Does that mean that they also want to disown their vote too? Did they forget that this guy was one night away from the Presidency a couple of weeks ago?

Here’s the greater problem… turning Mitt Romney into the new “Republican enemy number one” does nothing to solve systemic issues within the party. Romney was simply a symptom, he was not a cause for the GOP’s long history of problems. After living in a vast bubble of denial, the GOP finally must look in the mirror at a party that was built on malice and falsehoods. This party nearly tore apart between fringe religious fundamentalists and the well-funded but shrinking establishment. And in 2012, Mr. Romney stepped up to the plate and chose to lead them to an humbling defeat. In so many ways, they really should be thanking him saving a more critical member of the party agony and public embarassment of a 2012 loss. No matter what he says days after election, the party should be standing up for him, and finding a way to move forward with their own political aspirations.