Tags: Britain | Republicans | Lost | Way

View from Britain: Republicans Have Lost Their Way

By Michael Kling   |   Sunday, 06 Oct 2013 07:22 PM

Even the British are perplexed at Republican tactics in the U.S. government shutdown.

"Like many non-Americans, I’ve found myself struggling to understand how the U.S. Right could have so hopelessly lost the plot," writes Jeremy Warner for The Telegraph.

The timing of the financial crisis, coming during a Republican presidency, may account for part of their loss, he says, noting that ruling parties around the world lost power when the crisis hit.

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"The GOP seems to have been particularly badly unsettled by the crisis," he observes. "Factionalism, fringe causes and pressure-group politics have replaced cohesion and straight thinking, giving the party a faintly lunatic aura. There appears to be no one capable of uniting Republicans around a common conservative agenda."

Republicans are at a loss, unable to propose free-market solutions to shortcomings of modern capitalism. As Warner sees it, Republicans should look to their ideological cousins in the U.K. for direction. The American Right should embrace government action to aggressively promote self-reliance, competition, investment, enterprise and training.

"Such state activism is an apparent contradiction, for sure, but sometimes it seems that the British Right gets it rather better than its U.S. counterpart."

The fight isn't about the budget. It's about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, that Republicans refuse to accept, he says. No matter how well the law works, the reality, he says is that "the American Right has already largely lost the argument. Yet it cannot bring itself to run up the white flag."

Even worse for them, if the standoff continues and the Republican refusal to raise the debt ceiling leads to disaster, the GOP will get most of the blame. The U.S. may struggle on without defaulting after reaching the ceiling, he says.

"Yet the belief among some Republicans that the effects of default might not be so bad – or might even help restore the U.S. state to its original, smaller form – is sadly unrealistic."

A Pew Research Center poll done just before the shutdown showed that 39 percent of Americans would blame Republicans, 36 percent would blame Obama, and 17 percent would blame both equally. Overall, 50 percent oppose the Republican proposal to defund Obamacare as part of a budget agreement, while 38 percent favor the proposal.

Fully 87 percent of Tea Party Republicans and 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans support eliminating funding for the health care law. Republicans disagree over compromising: 54 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans want a compromise on the budget even if they don't agree with it, but most Tea Party Republicans (71%) want their lawmakers to stand by their principles even it means a shutdown.

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"Like many non-Americans, I've found myself struggling to understand how the U.S. Right could have so hopelessly lost the plot," writes Jeremy Warner for The Telegraph.

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