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December 17, 2013

Senate Republicans Stage-Manage the Vote So That At-Risk Senators Can Vote "No" Against Budget Deal, But Still Guarantee Its Passage

How stupid do they think you are? This stupid: John Cornyn, infamously firebreathing First Principles Tea Partier, voted "no" on the budget deal. Because he's super-against it and stuff. He's totes a fighter.

McConnell and Rand Paul both voted against it, as did most Republicans who might face primary challenges next year including John Cornyn. John McCain was among the Republicans voting for cloture, though, and he was joined by several others (including the recently-elected Orrin Hatch) to push the vote well past the 60-vote mark to 67-33. Well post the link to the final roll-call vote report when it becomes available.

During the podcast, I meant to say something to Gabe but never got the chance.

Gabe argues that we need to fold, or at least give, on these contentious issues because otherwise we won't win elections and will never be in a position to vote the way we (allegedly) prefer.

Here's my problem with that: If we're going to fold on these issues when we're trying to reclaim a majority, we will also fold when we have a majority. The argument will shift from "We can't do this and ruin our chances of capturing the Senate" to "We can't do this and risk losing the Senate."

This is exactly the argument made to justify all the un-conservative things the Republican-controlled Senate (and House) voted for under Bush. It's a classic; we will be seeing it again.

If you don't run on an position -- if you are so unable to make your position sound appealing enough that you'll merely lose narrowly on it, if you're so afraid of that position you consider it politically toxic -- it is not plausible that you will ever actually vote that position.

This is the problem I have with the GOP. They tell me spending cuts and holding a hard line on government growth is unpopular, and that the American public, despite their protestations, actually wants some Socialist Daddy State, and to oppose this is electorally dangerous.

I believe them -- I agree.

But I also know this: If they never get around to changing the public's mind on this, arguing in favor of actually cutting spending, they will never actually cut spending. They will just continue saying "It's too unpopular; we can't win elections making that case, or voting that way."

At some point they actually have to try. It was not so long ago that the principle of cutting and limiting government was actually a winning issue. It can be done. I don't know if this lot can manage it, but I do know their constituents demand they at least make the effort. And that they stop arranging votes to merely appear as if they're making the effort.

The electoral benefits of surrender and simply being 10% less bad that the Democrats are, I concede, real. And they will continue to be real-- unless something is done to change this resting state of American politics.

And calling objections to new, higher levels of domestic discretionary spending "ridiculous" will not change that resting state, obviously. The GOP is not only not opposing the steady, inexorable, remorseless growth of government, they are positively making the case in its favor.


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posted by Ace at 12:06 PM

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