Shortly after word that the House GOP was attaching a provision to the CR that limits contraception access comes this:
Legislating is like shooting pool: after two drinks, you’re great; after three, you shouldn’t be playing at all.
At a town hall meeting in El Dorado Hills, California on Tuesday, a constituent asked McClintock for his “stance on Wall Street criminal practices.” The congressman responded, “Well first of all, for a criminal practice there has to be a gun. It’s pretty simple.”
But! But but but but but but but I thought gunz stopped the tyranneez! When King Caliph Obama comes for our Medicare, what are we supposed to do, sell derivatives at him?
Incidentally, this is why god created Eugene Robinson, worth half of WaPo‘s price tag by his lonesome.
From one of this week’s many new episodes of “The GOP Doesn’t Ever Want To Win Another Election In A Non-Gerrymandered District” comes this bit of comic relief:
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas kept jumping up from his chair and objecting to Democrats’ requests, until Boehner’s floor leader put her hand on Gohmert’s chair and asked him to cool it.
He really is like your neighbor’s little dog that won’t stop yapping at whatever he thinks he sees out the window.
I may be seeing causal connections where there are none, but it nonetheless seems noteworthy that weeks after news that the deficit is collapsing at an unexpectedly rapid rate—thereby depriving conservatives of their ability to yell “Austerity! Spending!” in response to any question, real or imagined—comes the following:
The tea partyish elements pulled this bait-and-switch in 2010, when the clown car that got elected on cutting spending pulled up to state capitol buildings with anti-Planned Parenthood bills falling out the passenger window. But that cultural undercurrent, which was largely obscured by subsequent debt-ceiling dramas and budget battles, came back to upend the GOP in 2012 in the form of Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin and the gang. Moral of the story: conservatives are on much firmer footing when they rail about debts and deficits than when they improv on reproductive systems.
But that political calculus requires a deficit crisis. If you read this blog you know the deficit crisis was always more of an imagined moral imperative than a real emergency, but it’s still deflating before our eyes, even with the gratuitous austerity measures we’ve passed in the past three years. So what we’re seeing right now is a political movement suddenly faced with a void where their raison d’être used to be. The GOP clearly has no bench of issues: the moment the government spending alarm stops sounding, they immediately revert to criminalizing women’s health, oppressing gay people, and demagoguing immigrants. Which means the better the economy gets, the more we’re going to hear white men inveigh on the morality of pregnancy.
Pierce points us to two shining examples of modern conservative governance. First up, South Carolina is passing a law punishing anybody in their state who tries to implement Obamacare:
A proposed bill, on special order in the state Senate, would allow the state attorney general to take businesses, including health insurers, to court if he “has reasonable cause to believe” they are harming people by implementing the law. The bill already has passed the House. If it passes, the bill could push South Carolina to the forefront of Obamacare resistance, giving the state’s Republican leaders a national stage. It also could push South Carolina into yet another costly legal battle in the federal courts that, critics say, is unnecessary and avoidable. [E.A.]
Cuz nothing says “responsible use of taxpayer dollars” like a multimillion dollar court battle over a pointless piece of legislation. Speaking of fiscal responsibility, the House is passing an amendment explicitly forbidding any funding of ACORN—which hasn’t existed in three years, but hey, Republican congressmen get to go home to their district bragging about how they took it to those liberal election fixers in the “urban” parts.
This is what happens when you elect people who are not for smarter, leaner government, but explicitly against governing at all.
Far be it for Bachmann to exit stage right without a proper bow to the looniez in the cheap seats:
The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years. And in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district.
This is…not convincing.
Holy drool-puddling mother of god:
Some Republicans think the president has become distracted from the deficit by intensified public controversies over the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party groups and the Justice Department’s investigation of The Associated Press.
Via National Review:
Luntz delivered a presentation to House Republicans at the whip meeting Monday, the gist of which was, according to a GOP aide present, “don’t be an idiot and go on TV calling for impeachment.” Luntz presented polling numbers showing that voters by and large aren’t blaming Obama for the scandals. They are interested, however, and want to know “how did this happen?” and “what are you going to do to ensure it never happens again?”
Don’t listen to them, GOP. Listen to Bill Keller. Always listen to Bill Keller.
Conservative commenters are desperately holding up STOP signs to their nuttier compatriots, warning of GOP overreach in chasing the various Obama “scandals,” and reminding them of what happened the last time Republicans smelled blood in the water. To this, Ramesh Ponnuru adds some smart political context:
For the most part, Republicans didn’t campaign on impeachment in 1998: They didn’t say, “Vote for me and I’ll do my level best to oust Clinton.” Their strategy was more passive. They were counting on the scandal to motivate conservatives to vote while demoralizing liberals. So they didn’t try to devise a popular agenda, or to make their existing positions less unpopular. That’s what cost them — that, and the mistake of counting on statistics about sixth-year elections, which also bred complacency.
Republicans have similar vulnerabilities on the issues now. They have no real health-care agenda. Voters don’t trust them to look out for middle-class economic interests. Republicans are confused and divided about how to solve the party’s problems. What they can do is unite in opposition to the Obama administration’s scandals and mistakes. So that’s what they’re doing. They’re trying to win news cycles when they need votes.
Congressional Republicans were right to press for hearings on all of these issues. But investigations of the administration won’t supply them with ideas. They won’t make the public trust Republicans. They won’t save them from themselves.
This is consonant with recent polling: Obama’s approval rating has stayed steady despite the negative press, while an overwhelming majority of respondents think Republicans are not focusing on the issues that matter.
It’s tempting to say that a combination of scandal-lust and a policy void doomed Republicans in 1998, and will doom them now. But that implies that these two factors happened to occur simultaneously. I’d go one further and argue that the policy void is creating the scandal lust: nature abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of ideas the GOP must substitute whatever it can, and all it can churn up is endless investigations over White House talking points.
Further, Greg Sargeant wonders if conservatives will be distracted enough by the scandals to allow immigration reform to sneak through, which means the GOP could wake up after all this is over to find the public disgusted with their scandal mongering while a popular Democratic president touts a successful immigration reform package. If so, it’s not like the smarter pundits didn’t try to warn them.