Posted by Elaine Magliaro
Stephen Colbert tells Republicans they had better listen to their leader Rush Limbaugh and the editors at Bill Kristol’s brain trust (National Review) if they’re even going to pretend they’re interested in governing.
The Governing Trap (National Review Online)
Already a conventional wisdom about what Republicans should do next has congealed. Supposedly it is up to Republicans to “prove they can govern” even though they do not have the White House. Senator Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) told NPR listeners that Republicans could do this by moving on trade-promotion authority, the immigration bill the Senate passed in 2013, and corporate tax reform.
With all due respect to the senator and like-minded Republicans, this course of action makes no sense as a political strategy. First: While trade-promotion authority and a tax reform that includes (but is not limited to) corporations are good ideas, voters are not, in fact, waiting anxiously for any of this. Business lobbies are. The Republican party should not pursue an agenda that is identical to theirs.
Second: The desire to prove Republicans can govern also makes them hostage to their opponents in the Democratic party and the media. It empowers Senator Harry Reid, whose dethroning was in large measure the point of the election. If Republicans proclaim that they have to govern now that they run Congress, they maximize the incentive for the Democrats to filibuster everything they can — and for President Obama to veto the remainder. Then the Democrats will explain that the Republicans are too extreme to get anything done.
Third: A prove-you-can-govern strategy will inevitably divide the party on the same tea-party-vs.-establishment lines that Republicans have just succeeded in overcoming. The media will in particular take any refusal to pass a foolish immigration bill that immediately legalizes millions of illegal immigrants as a failure to “govern.”