Mark McKinnon, campaign advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain, unloads on his party in a must-read over at The Daily Beast. He’s not the only one saying this stuff, but it is well put.
Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the party is against everything and for nothing.
Nothing on taxes. Nothing on gun control. Nothing on climate change. Nothing on gay marriage. Nothing on immigration reform (or an incremental, piece-by-piece approach, which will result in nothing). It’s a very odd situation when the losing party is the party refusing to negotiate. It may be how you disrupt, but it is not how you govern, or how you ever hope to regain a majority.
And so, we have a Republican Party today willing to eliminate any prospect for a decent future for anyone, including itself, if it cannot be a future that is 100 percent in accordance with its core beliefs and principles. That’s not governing. That’s just lobbing hand grenades. If you’re only standing on principle to appear taller, then you appear smaller. And the GOP is shrinking daily before our eyes.
The only way out for the Republican Party is to give up on having a monolithic caucus. John Boehner was embarassed and humiliated when he couldn’t carry fifty members of his own party on his fiscal “Plan B” and the Dems staid firm. He shouldn’t have bothered. As soon as he saw that he wouldn’t be able to deliver his own collegaues as a block, he should have quietly turned to the President and did a deal on which he could carry enough of them to pass a bill. That might now happen in the Senate, instead.
As McKinnon says, Republicans responding with a “one-finger salute to everything” will get blamed for gridlock, and punished at the polls in 2014.
All sanity seems to have left the ranks of those in charge of the GOP—or, more accurately, those who want to be in charge. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) demonstrated in a jaw-dropping performance Thursday on Morning Joethe depth of the problem and why we are bound to go over the fiscal cliff. He made it clear he won’t vote for a tax increase on anyone, no matter how much they make. So, by his logic, we will end up going over the cliff, and raise taxes on everybody, because he and too many others like him in the party are unwilling to raise taxes on anyone. This intransigence will also make a core Republican tenet of broader tax reform more difficult to pursue because the new Congress will then be fixated on smaller bore issues like fixing the rates.
…No one questioned Reagan’s principles or values. But he was seen as great because he had the ability to maintain his principles while adapting, evolving, and negotiating as the world around him changed. When I raise these issues, many of my Republican friends respond, “We will not become a stronger Republican Party by acting more like the Democratic Party.” And I say, “No, we become a stronger Republican Party by acting like reasonable human beings who acknowledge reality.”
The world is still changing. Faster than ever. And so should the Republican Party. Or condemn itself to a smaller and smaller base of core supporters and permanent minority status.
Here’s a prediction for you – I believe 2013 is the year the Republican party must adapt or die. That adaptation is going to have to come in the form of a schism between the far right hardliners and those who don’t want to cut of their own nose to spite their face. The Republican leadership is going to have to accept that it won’t carry all of its members on any issue anymore and begin looking to simply carry as many as possible – all for the sake of becoming again a “do something” party. If that doesn’t happen, the Republican party will be Dead On Arrival at the 2014 midterms.
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