I want to elaborate on something Elias touches on in his recent Salon piece. Declaring the Republican Party paralyzed by their on strategy of obstructionist nihilism, Elias explains,
Cut to yesterday, more than two years later, and depressingly little has changed. There Obama stands; still president, still trying, and still finding no serious partner with whom to bargain. But whereas the original grand bargain was truly sweeping in its ambitions, trading (too few) tax hikes for (too many) cuts to social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security, this latest iteration of what some have called the president’s white whale is far more modest. And yet Republican resistance is, if anything, even firmer.”
The only explanation for this continued behavior that makes any sense to me is that Republicans are just trying to prevent themselves from being challenged on the right during the upcoming primaries for 2014.
Which shouldn’t be surprising after four years of calling the President a socialist radical who may or may not be a secret Muslim terrorist and is almost certainly an angry Black man who has no allegiance to REAL Americans. How can you strike a Grand Bargain if that’s whose sitting across from you?
In a sense then, this feels like a classic case of being forced to lie in the beds Republicans made for themselves. Of course, this doesn’t mean all Republicans. As we should all be well aware, the party is as divided as ever.
The two apparent front-runners for 2016 at the moment (at least in terms of who the media has chosen to focus on) are both conservative black sheep. What does it say about the Republicans when their two leading men are slinging mud at each other over foreign policy dovishness and federal aid to state governments?
And many Republicans are breaking ranks with their leaders well before the fall’s battle to shut down the government. A betrayal that Marco Rubio finds rather “discouraging.”
My political instincts (which are poor and dull), tell me the only way to effectively meet this challenge is for Democrats to focus on the economy and immigration. Good political spin coming out of a game of chicken over the budget isn’t going to make up for low turnout during the mid-terms. If Democrats want to put Republicans on the defense going into 2014, they need to keep immigration reform at the center of their legislative agenda.
They’ll have plenty of time to pay lip-service to jobs and re-investment with the Republicans picking fights over Obamacare and taxes, but without meaningful action on immigration, including forcing the Republicans to continue fracturing internally over the issue, simply crowing about how Republicans won’t work with the President on the economy isn’t going to be enough.