All sanity seems to have left the ranks of those in charge of the GOP—or, more accurately, those who want to be in charge. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) demonstrated in a jaw-dropping performance Thursday on Morning Joe the depth of the problem and why we are bound to go over the fiscal cliff. He made it clear he won’t vote for a tax increase on anyone, no matter how much they make. So, by his logic, we will end up going over the cliff, and raise taxes on everybody, because he and too many others like him in the party are unwilling to raise taxes on anyone. This intransigence will also make a core Republican tenet of broader tax reform more difficult to pursue because the new Congress will then be fixated on smaller bore issues like fixing the rates.
And so voters look at the “negotiations” and see on one side the president—the guy who just won the election by a substantial margin—willing to compromise by lowering his revenue target from $1.6 trillion to $1.2 trillion and moving the goalpost for tax-rate increases from $250,000 a year to $400,000 a year. And on the other side, they see Republicans like Huelskamp responding with a one-finger salute to everything.
But there’s more. Huelskamp’s response to the Newtown tragedy? No need to change any gun laws. (Not even better enforcement of the laws we have?) And those who suggest any changes are simply “politicizing” the situation to fit their political agenda. Was George W. Bush “politicizing” 9/11 when he created the Department of Homeland Security? If so, then by all means shouldn’t we “politicize” in the wake of a national tragedy?
Other Republican elected officials said they wanted to wait to see what the National Rifle Association had to say. On Friday, Wayne LaPierre delivered. No new gun laws, but how about an armed guard in every school, because “the only answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Then LaPierre went on to blame every other facet of our culture for the problem. Now, I don’t disagree that much goes into the cultural equation causing violence, and much needs to be considered to address the root causes, like mental health and violent media. But in 2008, the U.S. reportedly recorded 11,000 gun-related deaths, and Japan recorded 11—and I believe the Japanese play video games. So maybe we should at least include guns in the discussion.
Now, I don’t think more security in our schools is necessarily a bad idea. But it begs the question of funding and federalism, two concepts deeply out of vogue with Republican orthodoxy. And reality.
But here’s the deeper point and the bigger problem for the GOP.
Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the party is against everything and for nothing.
Now Mark McKinnon is only now tenuously connected to the Republican party, having started the "No Labels" political group, but he was STILL an adviser to both President George W. Bush and candidate John McCain so he has the credentials and experience to point out what should be obvious to all but the most cognitive dissonant Republican.
Your party is broken.
Either fix it, or fold it up and go home.