Monday, July 10, 2017

GOP: Great At Demonizing Dems - Terrible At Governing

The top cartoon (from represents the Republican officials before January of 2017. They were a powerful party when out of power, because all they had to do was demonize the dominant Democrat (and oppose everything the Democrats tried to do).

The bottom cartoon (from represents the Republicans since they took over the White House and both houses of Congress in January 2017. They have been exposed as a dysfunctional machine, whose parts no longer fit together. They are now expected to govern, and they don't seem to have a clue as to how to do that.

They are learning that while demonizing and obstructing are easy, governing is much harder.

The following is much of an excellent article by Stan Collender at on the current situation GOP officials find themselves in:

For the past eight years the devil for Republicans was Barack Obama and sometimes Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

During the campaign it was Hillary Clinton.

Since Election Day, some have tried to make it House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

In other words, it was whoever Donald Trump and congressional Republicans said must be stopped before his or her policies go into or stay in effect. For them, it was the monster under your bed, Satan, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from "Ghostbusters" all rolled into one.

Until recently, the GOP's demonization strategy worked brilliantly. Whenever there was a clear demon to be defeated, all of the multiple factions in the Republican Party were able to put their many policy preferences, ideological contradictions and parochial needs aside to slay the dragon of the moment and have good triumph over evil.

The most obvious example has been the healthcare debate. It has repeatedly stalled as the effort changed from the much-easier stopping of Obamacare (named, of course, for the GOP's supposed demon-in-chief) to the far-harder replacing of the Affordable Care Act. The first was a unifying moment for congressional Republicans and their presidential candidate; the second, without a villain, has been the precise opposite.

But lacking the requisite villain, this year's federal budget debate may be the ultimate example of a Republican-led legislative effort devolving into a GOP-only food fight.

Obama didn't send a fiscal 2018 budget to Congress before he left office so he's not the great Satan on this issue. House and Senate Democrats haven't released their own budget proposals (after all, they're in the minority) so it's not Pelosi or Schumer either. And because the Black Caucus and all the other mostly Democratic groups that typically come up with separate budgets haven't released one either, they're also not the political fire-breathing dragons that need to be slain.

As I explained in my previous post, it was House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black's (R-TN) tremendous problems in cobbling together a group of Republicans who will support any 2018 congressional budget resolution that forced her to cancel a scheduled markup before the Fourth of July recess. Without a devil, the House GOP had to fight itself over policy and there simply wasn't a consensus within the Republican caucus that allowed Black to move forward.

The House GOP disunity is growing. . . .

Especially in the Senate, the Trump administration's and congressional Republican's efforts to diabolize the Congressional Budget Office, something called the "deep state" and even the media have similarly failed to convince individual Republicans to drop their parochial interests and compromise with their GOP colleagues.

That's a huge problem. If the White House and congressional Republicans don't quickly find another Democratic/liberal/progressive dragon that's threatening the villagers, it's hard to see how Trump and the GOP will be able to do much on healthcare, the budget, tax reform, infrastructure or anything else the rest of this year or next.

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