The New York Times lead editorial on May 31 quoted former Senator Bob Dole as saying the Republican Party should put a “Closed for Repairs’ sigh on its doors, and that Dole found the party one that he barely recognizes and, were he alive, Ronald Reagan would have the same difficulty.
The editorial also reported Sen. John McCain as saying the Tea Party was “absolutely out of line” and setting a bad precedent. This same Tea Party whose votes in 2008 and 2012 kept the Republican Party from being more severely embarrassed in the presidential election counts. In any case, Congressional paralysis, caused mostly, though not entirely, by far right House Republicans, many elected in 2010, are credited with ‘blocking effective action on the sequester of funds, action on economic growth and climate change, checks on gun purchases and a threat to compromise on immigration’. [slight paraphrase]
Much ink and many pixels have been spilled driving home point about gridlock in Congress, the abuse of the filibuster, and, earlier, Senator Mitch McConnell’s economic and unusually candid wish that above all else, the GOP must insure that Obama be a one term president. Of course this did not come to pass, and the Republicans have followed with the usual internal self-examination of a losing party. But to date, with the possible exception of immigration and the tax on the “1%” the House, and thus the Congress, and thus the law making and overseeing process has been held hostage by an intractable minority.
The question we open up here for discussion is not so much centered around what pragmatic Republicans would Need to do to move governance forward and to attract more voters at the national level. Solutions about a “bigger tent or umbrella,” facing demographic realities, extracting itself as “The Party of No,” have been well covered. What we are seeking and ask our readers to join the discussion about Why hard working, true believer ultra conservatives would think that any serious negotiation would be caving in and perhaps selling out their constituents.
They should remember that even if their re-election depends on hard line, disaffected conservative voters backing them, that they also represent districts where many voters have Disagreed with their positions and that on average barely 50% of voters will cast a Congressional ballot. So they may actually be representing supporters who may be, on the high side, 70% of 50% of district adults, or 35% of their adult constituency. Of course this could be said for less conservative Republicans and Democrats also. And it is arguable that if true believer ultra-Right congresspersons and Senators feel the progressive agenda is so wrong-headed, they may need to block it at every turn. The practical result of course is the kind of dispiriting stalled engine that is the legislative branch right now. Please give us your thoughts.
Frederick l. shiels