Political Animal


January 05, 2012 11:15 AM What if the GOP wins in November?

By Steve Benen

It’s far too soon to say with any confidence who’ll win the 2012 presidential election, but it’s hardly unreasonable to believe a Republican victory is a distinct possibility.

But while there’s going to be all kinds of coverage, here and elsewhere, about the horse race, what matters most is the public understanding the consequences of GOP success.

It’s the focus of the Washington Monthly’s new print edition, and it’s one of my favorites. Here’s the editors’ summary, setting the stage for a fascinating and important package:

One simple question has dominated the coverage of the GOP presidential primary: which candidate is likely to win? But the most important question has been left largely unexamined: if one of these candidates actually becomes president and advances his policies, what would be the consequence for the nation?

To fill this gap, the Washington Monthly asked a group of distinguished journalists and scholars to think through the likely ramifications of a GOP victory in November. Here’s what they conclude:

* David Weigel reports that the Tea Party will control the agenda regardless of which Republican wins the nomination.

* Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann predict that there’s a “better-than-even chance” that the Senate filibuster will be destroyed.

* David Roberts shows that the GOP won’t eliminate the EPA, but will permanently cripple it.

* Harold Pollack disabuses liberals of the hope that health care reform can survive a Republican presidency.

* Dahlia Lithwick writes that one more round of judicial appointments by a Republican president will lead to a generation of anti-government rulings no future Democrat can undo.

Plus: Jonathan Bernstein on why campaign promises matter; Michael Konczal on the end of Dodd-Frank; James Traub on the GOP’s “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine; and Paul Glastris on why, this time, conservative anti-government aspirations will be fulfilled.

Read a sneak preview of the Washington Monthly’s January/February cover package, “What if Obama Loses? Imagining the consequences of a GOP victory.”

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • c u n d gulag on January 05, 2012 11:31 AM:

    Oh, look, it's 11:31am on January 5th.

    Only 10 more months to build up my supply of hemlock!

    Where DOES the time go?

  • DAY on January 05, 2012 11:31 AM:

    One need only look to recent history for evidence of what a Republican president will do:
    A: Start more wars.
    B: cut more taxes.
    C: Borrow more money from China.

  • ComradeAnon on January 05, 2012 11:33 AM:

    So, basically what's happening in Hungary.

  • T2 on January 05, 2012 11:35 AM:

    well, clearly, the most significant result of 4 or 8 years of a GOP Presidency would be the semi-permanent subjugation of the Supreme Court to the Conservatives and the TeaParty mentality that infects the mainstream of the GOP.
    We are and will see the effect of a Conservative SC majority during this election cycle, when their horribly wrong decision on PAC campaign contributions is wrecking the normal democratic process. Multiply that grievous error by each and every decision and you'll have an idea of what electing a moron like Santorum or a spineless dullard like Romney will do.
    Their mantra has been Take Back Our Country, and as so many have said, they mean take it back to 1845. And that was a tough time to live, except for wealthy white men.
    That's what they have in mind, folks.

  • Joe Friday on January 05, 2012 11:38 AM:

    "What if the GOP wins in November?"


  • Jon on January 05, 2012 11:44 AM:

    Ditto Joe Friday.

    You would think that this topic would be the bulk of MSM coverage between now and Nov., at least in a functioning polity. But it certainly won't be: just the horse race.

  • Kane on January 05, 2012 11:55 AM:

    If President Obama wins reelection and Democrats win back the House and hold on to the Senate, does anyone believe that Republicans will put an end to their obstruction? Does anyone think that Republicans will finally put the interests of the country before party?

  • hells littlest angel on January 05, 2012 11:58 AM:

    You forgot to mention the flying pigs.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 05, 2012 12:28 PM:

    About this hard-right tea party nonsense, have their been any recent polls indicating that their general line of political nuttery still holds sway over a significantly measurable portion of the American populace? I know they were all the rage in 2010, but do Americans in general (the original grassroot protestors, in particular) still give them any credit? Seriously, have their been any polls on the tea party philosophy lately? I know Weigel speculates they've been formally co-opted by the GOP and can provide "public pressure" for their psychopathetic legislation, but will the grassroots of 2010 and the general public still go for it come November and thereafter? With all the ballyhoo with OWS, the debt-ceiling fiascos parts I and II, the SS payroll tax implosion, Obama's recess appointments, and perhaps the cold weather--I haven't seen too many Hitler=ObamaNaziCommie signs waiving in the wind lately.

  • chi res on January 05, 2012 12:41 PM:

    Don't miss the new WM video: "Scared Straight (Ticket Democrat)"

  • Brenna on January 05, 2012 1:38 PM:

    The republicans have been honest at least. They are telling us exactly what they will do. If we as a nation are stupid enough to vote them in, I guess we deserve what we get. It's just that for those of us who always vote for democratic candidates on every ticket, it's a bitter pill to swallow that we'll be taken down too.

  • Trollop LeTroll on January 05, 2012 3:23 PM:

    Here here Brenna.

    We've nothing to fear but fear itself, and stupid (and I mean, shit stupid) shit stupid Americans who either vote either A.) Republican, B.) Democrat or C.) useless in the upcoming national elections. I'm really starting to side with "Anonymous" on "the issues".. Both parties are corporate and special interest lobby "tools". Both parties have failed us demonstrably time and time again. Both parties have sold the American public down the river. It's time to move to France..

  • chopin on January 05, 2012 3:35 PM:

    I have been watching episodes of House Hunters International on Home & Garden chanel with renewed interest. At the moment, Ecuador is looking REAL good.

  • Ned Roberts on January 05, 2012 7:09 PM:

    I move to either Australia, Borneo, Costa Rica, Ecuador or Nepal. Good luck to the rest of you.

  • oldswede on January 05, 2012 10:43 PM:

    The GOP will use every dirty trick and foul play to steal the election. The Democrats will need to do far more than simply turn out more voters. Florida 2000 was just a warm-up.

  • waddanut on January 06, 2012 10:30 AM:

    * David Weigel reports that the Tea Party will control the agenda regardless of which Republican wins the nomination."

    That should probably be "Koch Brothers will control the agenda"