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July 27, 2015

"Why Does The GOP Exist?"

Ben Domenech asks that reasonable question. Sadly, there's no reasonable answer.

After running through the GOP's recent collapses on fiscal restraint, national security and pro-life issues he concludes with the only answer possible....

Well, actually, the aim is to pass a Highway Bill. It is a thousand page tax and pork-laden monstrosity which does not deserve to pass in the first place, and whose failure would be greeted as a positive development for any fiscal conservative. For conservatives, the Highway Bill is a bad thing that could be the vehicle for something politically useful. For Republicans, this is not the case. The passage of a Planned Parenthood defunding amendment would set up a direct conflict with the White House over the issue, and undercut McConnell’s priority of passing a Highway Bill with an Ex-Im resurrection attached to it – two things that are not a priority at all for Republican voters, mind you, but for the corporatist constituency the Republican Party actually serves, are near the top of the list.

And that is why the Republican Party exists.

Again, there was a better and conservative alternative to the GOP's traditional "shower money on unions and Chamber of Commerce members" approach. But hey, what's 1.3 billion dollars more in debt so long as the donor class gets its return on investment?

I think the GOP success in 2010 is the worst thing to ever happen to conservatives. After the Bush/Hastert/Lott years the GOP had been cast out over spending, Iraq and the financial collapse. The Democrat overreach of 09-10 returned the GOP back to power before conservatives had time to sufficiently purge the GOP's ranks of the type of people who led it to disaster in the first place. Instead of arguing over the proper direction of the party (and the conservative movement) the GOP was thrust back into power.

Boehner, McConnell and their top lieutenants were just a step below the disgraced establishment figures that led the GOP to electoral disasters. They rode the "TEA party" wave back into power but they don't reflect the post 2010 mood of the conservative movement. They are as much in the pocket of the DC spending establishment as those that came before.

The conclusion the party leadership reached was 2006 and 2008 were just the normal ebb and flow of politics along with some extraordinary events. The GOP didn't see the anger at the bank bailouts and the like as the culmination of disgust with the party's leftward swing. They simply saw it as a storm they could weather before returning to business as usual.

They read the 2010 elections as a sign that their basic positions were sound and voters would once again support them without any sort of deep soul searching or course correction.

Take McConnell for example. Not only did he refuse to let conservatives offer an amendment to the highway bill to defund Planned Parenthood, he personally lobbied GOP Senators to vote for an Attorney General that is investigating the group that brought the body parts trafficking to light.

The mismatch between the energy, and yes anger, that provided the GOP with a quick return to power and their view of how the GOP and government should function is at the root of the current discontent within the party.

A new CNN/ORC Poll finds that just 30% of registered voters nationwide say they feel their views are well represented by the government in Washington, while 40% say they are not represented well at all. That figure spikes among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Among GOP voters, 53% say they don't feel their views are well represented in Washington at all, nearly double the 27% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who feel the same way.

That's a stunning figure considering the GOP was returned to power with record wins just 7 months ago.

Right now the only thing the GOP has to offer is "but, but Hillary." If the current Trump bubble is any indication of the real mood of many conservatives (and that's far from certain) the GOP may find its, er, trump card isn't going to work this time.

Political parties and movements need identifiable goals to attract and motivate supporters. The GOP is has been running an interesting experiment for the last 6 years or so....can a party prosper by delivering only for its elite financial supporters "victories" that are in direct conflict with the goals of a significant portion of its voting base?

So far the answer has been yes but it doesn't seem to be a sustainable business model. Time will tell.

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posted by DrewM. at 02:30 PM

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