Upon witnessing the “compromise deal” that reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger political disaster than what befell the GOP. Let’s review.
The Republican Party:
1. Ran horrible candidates and lost big time in 2012
2. Didn’t like Obamacare, but because of Point 1, didn’t have the votes to repeal or amend it
3. Saw its leadership (a classic oxymoron) shut the government down to stop Obamacare, except that it failed to remember Point 2
4. Switched reasons (midway through the fiasco) regarding why the government was shut down, claiming its new rationale was to prevent a debt ceiling increase
5. Agreed to a “deal” that A) raised the debt ceiling, B) didn’t touch Obamacare, winning nothing while earning a 5 percent congressional approval rating
6. Witnessed Mitch McConnell take a $3 billion “Kentucky Kickback” pork-barrel project back home, while he chastised the Democrats for their failure to cut spending. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “. . . politics is the second oldest profession . . . it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”
Hey Mitch, that would be you.
Now, many GOP leaders believe their tactics put the party in a better position to win elections.
Earth to the Republicans: Have we met?
The GOP is like a football team fielding just five players, getting shellacked by 50 points, declaring victory because it didn’t lose by 100 — and thinking it’ll win the next Super Bowl.
That’s not progress, nor is it a “foundation for the future.” It’s grandstanding for stupidity’s sake. There’s no honor in suicide missions, nor is it admirable to valiantly fight for a “cause” when that cause either continually changes or is nonexistent. Hell, you can’t even call it a Pyrrhic victory, since the GOP didn’t win squat.
Knowing defeat was inevitable from day one, as Senate shutdown leader Ted Cruz admitted, amounted to political hara-kiri.
Here’s a newsflash for the Republicans. While the Democrats are certainly not blame-free in this mess, the public overwhelming blames you for the shutdown, which has seriously eroded your party’s credibility. Since the debt ceiling debate will rear itself again in just three months, you’d better come up with a strategy other than shutdowns and whining if you hope to advance your ideas.
Here’s how to make that vision a reality:
1. Admit to the nation you made a big mistake. Stop the justifications, and spare us the spin that you did the right thing, and that it has benefitted the Party. You didn’t, and it won’t. If you can’t grasp those simple concepts, the party — and the Party — is over.
2. Dump McConnell and Speaker Boehner. Both exhibited a staggering inability to lead, which is problematic if your job description is “leader.” McConnell has absolutely no credibility after his latest sellout, and Boehner can’t control his caucus. This should not be a “conservative” vs. “moderate” issue, but one of common sense, not picking a fight you can’t win. Get one more good cry from the speaker, then boot him and McConnell.
3. Start a major PR campaign. It is mindboggling that with all its millions, the party won’t buy extensive network air time to explain its positions and how they will help the average American, since a majority believes in Republican principles of fiscal restraint, personal responsibility, and smaller government. The best ideas in the world are worthless if you can’t explain them, as Gingrich’s Contract With America proved.
There need to be set-in-stone promises, in advance so there’s no more 11th hour brinkmanship, that the party will never again vote for a deficit budget, nor will it further increase the debt ceiling, since spending more, as a solution to a spending addiction, is, by definition, lunacy.
4. No more continuing resolutions. Congress hasn’t had the guts to pass a budget in over four years, instead getting by with short-term fixes known as “continuing resolutions.” It’s time Congress upholds its most basic responsibility and passes a true budget, with across-the-board cuts; no exceptions. And drop the inside-the-Beltway lingo of “CRs,” since no one knows what that means, and you come across as even more out of touch than you already are.
5. Push for a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget. Almost every state has a legal requirement to balance their budget, and the people are fine with that. So why doesn’t the federal government do likewise? Remember, balanced budgets were achieved several times by the Republican Congress and Bill Clinton using something called bipartisanship.
The issue isn’t whether restoring fiscal sanity is the right course of action, as it inarguably is. The $64,000 question is whether there will be a Republican Party left that can sell those ideas.
If the GOP doesn’t fix itself quickly, it will be curtains on a tragic comedy.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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