Free Markets, Free People

The Republicans are lost

I just watched a video in which House Republican Whip Eric Cantor appeared with one of his Democratic colleagues from Virginia to discuss healthcare. You can watch it here if you like.

Though I can tell you right now that there’s not much point to it. It consists virtually 100% of empty, meaningless politician-speak from both congressmen. Despite some decent attempts on the part of the interviewer to get them to answer some tough questions, they both just dodged them and mumbled platitudes about “educating voters” and “the status quo is unsustainable”.

Educating voters isn’t going to do a damn thing. Voters are sick to death of Washington telling them what to do. Democrats in Congress (and many Republicans) insist that there be a mandate to buy health insurance, and I think they have vastly underestimated the pushback they are getting right now and how much worse it would be if they actually passed it. Any bill with a ghost of chance of passing also has new taxes and new spending, and voters are (1) not fooled by any shell games claiming otherwise, and (2) profoundly sick of both taxes and spending.

Saying “the status quo is unsustainable” is pointless because it says absolutely nothing about whether any of the current proposals would make the system any more sustainable. Given the $47 trillion Medicare and Social Security already has in liabilities, creating another entitlement to increase that amount looks like the silliest possible response.

I expected such empty blathering from the Democrat. Any Democratic member of Congress is caught right now between a hard-left leadership who want government control over when people go to the bathroom and the Blue Dogs who know they’ll be looking for another job if any healthcare bill with a lot of government interference is passed. Not to mention a president who can’t seem to make up his mind on what he’s willing to settle for on healthcare, and whose only strategy is to flap his gums.

But have the Republicans learned nothing from 2006-2009? Has the Tea Party movement made no impact on them? Do they not sense the rising anti-government attitude in voters? Are they so incredibly clueless that they can’t learn the lesson from Reagan’s landslide and the 1994 takeover of Congress?

Look, you idiots: You can win big when you strongly advocate smaller government principles. When you don’t, at best you tread water, and at worst you get your butts kicked.

Watching Cantor pour out the same old politician’s blather was painful. Based on that one video, I never expect to support this guy for anything. And he’s part of the GOP leadership, supposedly the best they’ve got. Well, if he’s one of the best, they’re still as lost as they were in 2006.

I see many signs that 2010 could be a landmark year. Two months ago, I summarized Obama’s failings to that point, and since then he’s racked up scandals with his czars, seen his buddies at ACORN exposed as the criminals many of us thought they were, and had his make-nice efforts toward Iran shown to be naive and pointless.

But absent any Republican leadership on a real change in direction, none of that will make a big difference. Oh, I think the Democrats will lose a fair number of seats in the House in any case, because of depressed turnout among Democrats in marginal districts. The Republicans may well pick up three or four Senate seats too. But without a clear message concerning their desire to trim the size, cost, and intrusiveness of government, they will gain no loyalty or long-term support from those people who have finally reached their agony threshold on big government.

They’ll just drift for two years, using the same strategy that got the Democrats in the White House, which is to hope voters are so sick of the other side they will vote for a change, any change. And, of course, even if that works, they won’t do anything about reducing the size and scope of government, hoping the whole debt mess doesn’t finally reach critical mass on their watch.

With a clear message, I believe the GOP could do a rerun of 1994. But I don’t know a single person among them capable of carrying the banner for that message. It sure as heck is *not* Eric Cantor.

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19 Responses to The Republicans are lost

  • I have yet to see or hear anything out of the GOP to dissuade a new 3rd party for the conservative base and a host of independents. Nothing at all, when I hear a Republican talk, all I hear is Democrat light.

    • Palin. She has been right on everything she has commented on.

      Right now we have the disfuntional GOP as well as the disfuctinal Libertarian Party and Constituion Party. We need yet another party?

      As far as independents, they lean more Perot/populist.

      • I was thinking along the lines of Palin and/or Fred Thompson (if you could get him). All that is needed is a straight forward explanation of the alternatives and why they are good.

      • “Right now we have the disfuntional GOP as well as the disfuctinal Libertarian Party and Constituion Party. We need yet another party?”

        Fresh, new, distinctive and exciting, yes we do. The leadership of the GOP is untrustworthy and arrogant and the voters are on to them. The Libertarian and Constitution Parties are perceived as perennial losers and are therefore severely tainted.

        Energizing personalities like Palin and waterfalls of money could put a brand new dynamic party in the hunt. Because of the Tea Party and 9/12 movements, the organization is already largely in place, albeit would need a lot of work, but they are already running local candidates. I believe this approach would be easier and more productive than trying to “re-brand” or “usurp” the GOP.

  • Cantor is being promoted in some places as one of the next generation Republicans, but even the promotion has been getting decidedly less enthusiastic. I’ve watched and listened to the guy a few times and I don’t get a zero, but that’s about all I can say positive about him.

    The Republicans have not gotten coherent yet. Sometimes I’d like to be able to imagine that they are working a strategy, but it is a strategy it’s something like “be a coward and hope for the best.” Maybe the Tea Party crowd will save them, could be what they are thinking.

    The also might be scared of the Democratic attack machine, afraid of stepping up and getting the Palin treatment. That was a zombie attack, if you ask me, by which I mean the sort of thing you have to watch 28 Days to find an apt comparison.

    The Republicans do not have a deep bench, but there is buyer’s market in zombies.

  • I have been saying this for a while, do not believe that there will be a major sea change in the next elections. The republicans will gain some, but not much will change.

    It turns out that you cant beat something, even a pack of very bad ideas, with nothing.

    • The GOP only has to gain enough to able to cause gridlock.

      But they don’t understand that the tea party movement ISN’T TO BENEFIT THEM.

      It may in the short term (which I support) but they’re going to be sorely stung in the future if they don’t take the lesson to heart.

  • Cantor is a lost cause. After initially being enthused about his rise in the GOP, my increased attention showed me that he is a typical politician. And then came the TARP vote.

    At the RPV convention, I had the opportunity to grab him as he came by to thank the bloggers. As one of his constituents, I asked him why he voted for TARP. He quickly backpedaled and tried to double talk his way out of it, justifying it as “WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING!” Well, this is ANOTHER “we have to do something” moment. He’s afraid and they are afraid of being the party of NO!, not realizing that sometimes that’s their duty.

    • What most of the national stage Republicans are afraid of is being portraited as the caricature republican as constructed by legacy media. They listen to the likes of David Frum, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, etc., and buy into a system build upon false premises. They are, in effect, trying to play a game which the very rules prevent them from succeeding. Instead of acquiescing to demanded condemnation of a bombastic comment by Rush Limbaugh or a hyperbolic quip by Sarah Palin, they should point out how biased the media and the Dems are for demanding such. Instead of the unstated acquiescence that government should grow hidden behind the trite proclamation that they will work for smart government, they had better recognize that millions of Americans, represented by the hundreds of thousands participating in Tea Parties want less intrusions by all government upon our liberties.

      Americans are saying with loud voice “stop using my money to give fish away…” T’would be nice were the GOP to listen.

      • They are, in effect, trying to play a game which the very rules prevent them from succeeding.

        Yes indeed, and well said. They’re stuck in that game as long as they let the other ideological side make up the rules.

  • Remember, voters often are choosing between turkeys and chickens when they really want a duck – they will go with what they think looks as close to duck as they can.

    I think someone at QandO said that…

    But yeah, I would also predict 2010 gains to not eliminate Dem majorities.

  • Voters are sick to death of Washington telling them what to do.
    Puh-leez…the very definition of the word *voter* is: A person NEEDING to be told what to do.

  • Are they so incredibly clueless that they can’t learn…..?
    I placed my hope in Obama. Hope that he and the Democrats would over reach and help remind the American voters and the Republican party that smaller government policies are best. Obama did his part, though possibly too fast. I really thought he would be minimally competent, but he is not. I don’t know what lesson the Republicans have learned, but it certainly wasn’t one of “smaller government wins”. So I expect a few turkeys will replace a few chickens, while the ducks sit in the tall grass marvelling at their domesticated kin.

    How sad.

  • Even if the Republicans made “less government” their message, they wouldn’t act on it once they had the seats to do so.

    • That is the real “brand” of the Republican Party, tell the fools what they want to hear and then give them big government and laws that the Democrats can use to undermine the Constitution and expand government even further. I don’t see how they can overcome this well earned reputation. Not as long as the same faces are calling the shots, anyway.

  • This is why congressional gains in 2010 won’t be what you might expect. Especially since what is going on now is laid at the feet of Obama.

    It is far from Obama alone doing this. The Dems in congress don’t get enough credit.

  • I’m very sympathetic to Libertarian ideals, disagreeing primarily in that I’m far more pro-military than most libertarians seem to be.

    But the Libertarian Party lost me forever when in 2006, their nominee caused the open Montana Senate seat to go to democrat Conrad Burns.

    Who was the libertarian nominee? Stan Jones, a man who had turned his skin blue by drinking colloidal silver because he was scared of Y2K.

    I mean that is just frakkin’ pathetic. I don’t care how good their ideas are, the Libertarian Party is dead to me forever after that stunt.

    • So just exactly how good was the Rep. candidate if a flake like Jones can take his votes? That’s the same thing all those establishment Rep.’s said about Perot and Buchanan too. Sorry, fella, we don’t live on your plantation. Get better candidates.

  • Palin is an idiot-savant. Once in a while (when she spoke about the 10th amendment) she gets things right. Usually she talks like a hayseed and an illiterate. To paraphrase timactual: Get a better candidate.