Republicans Remain the Party of No

Less than a week before the mid-term election, the Republicans have yet to come up with a single concrete principle or legislative agenda for how they’ll solve anything. Their only message is, effectively: The Democrats caused everything that bothers you, and we’ll do better, because, after all, the last election was stolen, but we don’t have the faintest idea how we’ll do anything, except be against everything the other guys support.

The message isn’t surprising. It’s the same message that the GOP has had for years. The only real achievement the party has made in the past decade was to enact a massive tax cut that primarily benefitted the wealthy.

Yet it appears likely that the Republicans will take over the House, possibly the Senate, and will accomplish almost nothing on the federal level, while Republicans on the state level will do their best to undermine government credibility at all levels.

Why will the Republicans likely win? Because too many Americans are angry, and they need someone to blame, despite the fact that conditions here in the U.S. are far from as bad as they believe, and most of what’s going wrong isn’t because of what the federal government is or isn’t doing now, or for that matter what it’s done for the last two years, as I’ve pointed out earlier.

But today, facts don’t matter, only feelings, and those feelings, especially anger, Trump [negative pun intended] facts, common sense, and even enlightened self-interest.

And screaming “no” and echoing lies isn’t going to make anything better, not that the screamers will listen to anything, because then they’d have to take some responsibility, and far too many Americans don’t have the faintest idea what electoral or even personal responsibility entails. Besides, following simplistic lies and screaming “No!” is so much easier.

8 thoughts on “Republicans Remain the Party of No”

  1. Bill says:

    Don’t they have a great con game going? They scream and yell about how bad things are when they are very happy with how things are going. Their true constituents are getting richer and richer. They are overturning just about all the progress that has been made in the last 60 years which threatened their control of society.

  2. R. Hamilton says:

    We do need some laws and regulations, but the less there are, the less favors there are to lobby for. Least necessary is arguably best, even if it doesn’t address every possible problem.

    IMO, one of the primary duties of government IS to say “no” to itself; half as much time spent repealing or simplifying laws as passing new ones would be a start. A Congress that was NOT full time (although could be recalled in case of emergency) would also help. But a Congress that had the guts to do things that were necessary within the minimum functions of government but not necessarily politically advantageous, or to stop handing its powers over to the other branches to avoid the hard choices, would help even more. Not that I imagine that either party will do anything particularly challenging or that most members will risk their own power and position to do it.

    Still, any sort of “no” is probably better than another federal program to buy votes with handouts to this OR that favored constituency, always with strings and accompanied by the expectation that interests contrary to those of the favored will be suppressed with little regard to liberty.

    “The best government is that which governs least.”

    1. “The best government is that which governs least,” was coined/popularized by Henry David Thoreau, who was opposed to government in any form, and endorsed by Jefferson, who relied on slaves for his income. Not exactly the best provenance for the saying.

    2. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

      It’s like how we shouldn’t have hospitals, because having hospitals means we can have bad Doctors who do things wrong or hurt people. Or we can have incompetent ones who mess things up and…

      What’s that? We SHOULD have hospitals? Because outliers and negatives are outweighed by the positives?

      I seriously never know if you’re trolling or just woefully unaware of existence and how people work…

  3. Darcherd says:

    In my youth, I entertained a brief dalliance with Libertarian political philosophy after reading one of Ayn Rand’s books, but I was cured by reading Page Smith’s “People’s History of the US – The Rise of the Industrial Era” where it became clear just how close we came to being ruled by a hereditary oligarchy because the small-government, laissez faire policies allowed for greater and greater accumulation of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people. And of course, since money equals power, once the rich had enough power they could change the rules in their favor to make their status and privilege permanent. I have yet to see Libertarianism come up with a plan to combat this natural tendency, other than violent revolution, of course.

    1. Tim says:

      @Darcherd. Your description of the early industrial US reminds me of Ancient Rome and how the Patricians ruled and paid no tax. It worked for them for over three hundred years so maybe that was the model the oligarchs had in mind.

    2. Ryan Patrick Jackson says:

      I dabbled with Objectivism. The problem is it only works if people are altruistic. Took me a while to have that epiphany of “Wait, what happens when selfish and bad people take this approach of upholding yourself and your values at all costs?”

  4. Tom says:

    US government “true” size has varied little between 8% and 12% of the population, no matter which party was in power, over the last 40 years. (Various outlets other than Brookings have placed it as between 13% and 17% of the population). Nigeria and smaller nations such as New Zealand and Singapore have a smaller per centile of population employed directly or indirectly in government, but all other national governments are actually a larger portion of the work force/population than we have in the US – so what’s the beef!

    Ezra Klein’s comment regarding size of government being a “philosophical discussion” in the WAPO blog July 13, 2010; 9:16 AM ET ( klein/2010/07/government_size_as_philosophy.html), is worth noting.

    The “New Meritorites” would (perhaps) be more concerned about government efficiency (once they work out that the only people who want public voting are Tyrants and “On the Waterfront”-type Unions). Surely efficiency is what citizens would want from their government?

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