Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 25, 2010

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... It's not at all uncommon to hear voters describe their preferred political scenario -- well-intentioned officials from both parties who work together, with a sense of common interest, to solve policy problems. It's idealized and naive, but the idea of a functioning political system is a vision many Americans probably find appealing.

Very few people actually want gridlock and increased partisan strife. It's odd, then, that this is exactly what Americans are poised to give themselves.

Voters should expect "good old-fashioned gridlock" in Washington if Republicans win control of one or both chambers of Congress, one GOP lawmaker said.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), a vice chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, told students at Utah State University on Friday that a GOP-held House might not be able to accomplish too much as long as President Obama's in the White House.

"The most you can expect is two years of good old-fashioned gridlock," he said at an event on the campus, according to a report by the university's paper, the Utah Statesman.

Got that? We're not only going to see the entire policymaking process grind to a halt, according to a House GOP leader, that's "the most" we can expect.

It's tempting to think that, right about now, with a week to go, Republicans would be sending a very different signal to the country. Don't worry, the GOP might tell voters, we're serious about working in good faith to get things done. We know people are expecting results, they could say, and we have every intention of finding common ground and delivering.

Except, that's the opposite of the party's message in the cycle's closing days. A Senate Republican leader just finished announcing that everything going forward will be filtered through the GOP's intention to destroy President Obama politically. A House Republican leader announced last week that GOP lawmakers don't intend to compromise with anyone.

And here's another top House Republican declaring in public that "gridlock" is the very best America can do in 2011 and 2012.

I rather doubt this message is reaching the American mainstream, but I can't help but wonder how voters would respond to it if they heard about it. A huge chunk of the electorate, especially the amorphous group of self-identified "independents," claims to like the idea of Dems and Republicans cooperating and working together. A growing number of key Republicans are already declaring -- in public and on the record -- they have no intention of doing anything of the sort.

We know why, of course -- the GOP just isn't serious about governing or problem-solving -- but doesn't this sound like an awful closing message for a party poised to make huge gains?

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

"but doesn't this sound like an awful closing message for a party poised to make huge gains?"

It sounds more like arrogance than a closing argument.

I don't care what people say. They're voting Republican this year because they want the drama. THIS is The Real Housewives of Washington DC.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 25, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Steve, Steve -- People idiotic enough to consider voting for the GOP simply don't know this or don't care. The economy sucks; Obama is a black man; all spending is bad; you know the list. Half this country can't find its butt with both hands with a one-cheek head start. We are going to get slaughtered next week to the tune of 52 House seats and 8 in the Senate, plus governorships all over the map.

Posted by: Nick in PA on October 25, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Democracy - Nice experiment while it lasted . Bring on the Brawndo, It's got electrolytes!

Posted by: John R on October 25, 2010 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think they are saying exactly what their base wants to hear. If they said they were willing to compromise, the teabaggers would turn on them.

Posted by: Rick C on October 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Just as the Democrats' weakness as a Congressional majority is cowardly dithering, the Republicans' is arrogant overreach. It's not like they're popular, but since they're out of power they don't get blamed for conditions as the voters see them. Sooner or later, likely sooner, they will go that bridge too far for most voters.
People are unhappy with Obama, but aside from Republicans, he is personally liked. The GOP doesn't have a lot of LIKEABLE spokespeople in the Congress.

Posted by: JMG on October 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, this sounds bad to us. We're rational. But to the teabagger mind, what the GOP is offering sounds like paradise.

Posted by: Doctor Whom on October 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats should lose the House and maybe the Senate but nothing will happen in the Senate no matter what the election results are next week. We have already seen one nutty Senator shut down the approval process for all Executive Department jobs and 41 Senators filibuster aalmost every legislative proposal. And now they threaten us by saying nothing will happen if they gain more seats. Go ahead, make my day. Take your country back and let all of the Bush tax cuts expire, let the AMT trap 27.6 million taxpayers instead of 4 million, let the defense contractors wither on the vine, let the SS checks come in late, let Medicare payments to providers and suppliers slow to a trickle, etc. You break it GOP, you own it. All of it. And we will see you in 2012.

Posted by: Bob on October 25, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Other gems:

"He criticized the current social security system, comparing it to a Ponzi scheme..." "If you really want to be patriotic - once you're retired, die" Bishop said.

Bishop contrasted the one-size-fits all government programs to the market products like Campbell's soup and Pringles potato chips with their variety of flavors.

I could go on ... but I have to go puke ...

Posted by: bigutah on October 25, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Republican intentions aren't registering with the American mainstream because the American media isn't reporting it. Simple as that. We will have a large dose of buyers remorse in February 2011 if not before. There is ever possiblity that America's decline to the 3rd world will accelerate in the next weeks. Buckle you seatbelts it is going to be bumpy the next two years. Especially you David Broder.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 25, 2010 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

I've got a guy running for re-election in a state House district on the slogan 'Fighting Lousy Government since 2004'.

I'm not sure if he wants to join it, angry because he's not part of it, or wants to be rewarded for not actually stopping it.

But he's angry -- and that should be enough.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 25, 2010 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

If you really want to be patriotic - once you're retired, die" Bishop said.

I hope all Republican retirees are the true patriots of Bishop's dreams.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on October 25, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

A year from now, with the GOP stonewalling any and everything and blaming the Dems and Obama for every mess we are in (with compliant Media help), we will begin "Election Year" and the GOP will treat us to the selection of their "standard bearer" for 2012. Yep, that ought to be quite a spectacle. The mind races.

Posted by: T2 on October 25, 2010 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Repubs always talk about the man in the White House as the impediment to them implementing their agenda. What makes them think they're ever going to get anything through the Senate even if they have 50+ seats?

Posted by: sceptic on October 25, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

It wasn't an impediment from 1994-2006...but whatever. The voters are doing this to themselves. It will be REALLY HARD not to say 'I told you so' in the coming years.

Posted by: SYSPROG on October 25, 2010 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama not destroying our health industry; Obama not raising taxes; Obama not regulating business out of existence; Obama not appointing anymore radical left wing idiots as "czars"; Obama answering for some of his underhanded tactics; and finally Obama having to respect a two party system. I'd say that's gridlock and that's good. A better word is NEUTERING!

Posted by: wayne on October 25, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's just part of the GOP's long-term strategy:
1) Prevent the Dems from doing anything meaningful to fight the near-depression; Make huge gains by blaming the Dems for not doing enough to fix the economy; 3) Once in office, stop absolutely everything from getting done in Washington and; 4) Run against Obama in '12 saying that he is causing the gridlock in Washington.
After witnessing what I have over the last 18 months, there's a good chance it will work.
PS. - Wayne, someone should've neutered your father.

Posted by: Sean on October 25, 2010 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Steve,
You started off with an assertion that everyone is just like you in not wanting gridlock. I'm counting on a majority of Congress to pursue gridlock and then eventually even begin rolling back the oppressive legislative burdens created over the past several generations.

Unfortunately the only legislation that will not be slowed down is funding the perpetual war. Both parties pursue a strategy of perpetual war. Neither side has any clue how to fund their grand visions without the fallout from war spending being directed toward them.
-Jahfre Fire Eater

Posted by: Jahfre Fire Eater on October 25, 2010 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK
"It's just part of the GOP's long-term strategy: 1) Prevent the Dems from doing anything meaningful to fight the near-depression; Make huge gains by blaming the Dems for not doing enough to fix the economy; 3) Once in office, stop absolutely everything from getting done in Washington and; 4) Run against Obama in '12 saying that he is causing the gridlock in Washington. After witnessing what I have over the last 18 months, there's a good chance it will work. PS. - Wayne, someone should've neutered your father. Posted by: Sean on October 25, 2010 at 6:10 PM"

Small problem. Republicans will control the House, where they will be expected to pass spending bills and actually get things done.

Only they want to investigate Obama and shut the government down. They're convinced that with the vast right-wing noise machine blasting full volume about how the government shut-down is "Obama's fault" they'll WIN this time.

But, since CONGRESS passes spending bills, it's CONGRESS's fault if they fail to keep the government open. Obama just has to do what Clinton did and sit there and defy them.

I don't see how any amount if propaganda is going to succeed in pinning this on Obama.

Republicans NEVER lose their hubris so they ALWAYS over-reach and piss everybody off.

The only reason anybody but die-hard Republicans are voting for them is anger at the failures of the Democrats. Only in the next two years it's going to be REPUBLICAN failures as well.

Posted by: Cugel on October 25, 2010 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Steve appears pathologically incapable of believing that Republicans actually mean what they say. And that their voters believe what they have been told.

Let me type this slowly. If you believe that Obama is leading the Democrats on a course to fundamentally destroy America then DESTROYING OBAMA POLITICALLY IS ENTIRELY RATIONAL AND ACCEPTABLE.

For the love of God, what message should the GOP be sending right before the election? "We think that Democrats plan to destroy America...and we plan to work with them." Wow! That should really drive the teabaggers to the polls. Only Rahm Emanuel could craft anything so stupid.

Posted by: square1 on October 25, 2010 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I thought ambushes were a liberal-approved 60 Minutes journalistic technique.

Posted by: JEA on October 25, 2010 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

What do you know? An honest politician...

Posted by: JEA on October 25, 2010 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

wayne, i want to congratulate you for producing the stupidest comment i've seen today: i mean, every possible cliche all in one brief paragraph! stellar, my good man, just fantastic.

Posted by: howard on October 26, 2010 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Either a majority of Americans are dumb-ass stupid, or us lot are missing something.

If the lemmings win and America crashes out of all recognition who benefits? Well - the wealthy, of course. I guess that's our answer.

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Posted by: sdfwe on October 26, 2010 at 6:23 AM | PERMALINK

It is sad that the majority of American voters are locked into political puberty.

Posted by: bob h on October 26, 2010 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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