Monday, September 23, 2013

Elsewhere: GOP, Shutdown

Two new columns out, one over the weekend and one hot off the presses today:

At TAP, I run down the likely scenarios, and incentives, after a shutdown starts. I don't think we're going to see one, but here's a guide to the next steps if we do.

And over at Salon, I sketch out the relationship between the post-policy GOP and the ability of the Crazy Caucus to bully the sane mainstream conservatives. This one sort of follows up on my "they need a Pope" post from last week: basically, mainstream conservatives need some way of proving their conservative credentials, and without policy (or a Pope) they don't have one.

While I'm here: one more on judicial nomination filibusters at PP today. This fight is coming, too.


  1. I agree that Republicans are not unified on policy. But to call them "post-policy" is to ignore the genuine movement for reform that's coming from the tea party wing of the GOP. Frank Rich, Ross Douthat and Isaac Chotiner have all recently written about this creative impulse found in conservative populism today.

    In the past year, conservative policy direction has increasingly turned towards Rand Paul -- which is remarkable, both because it deviates from party orthodoxy and aligns the Party with broad changes in public opinion. And to quote Frank Rich, this change in direction would make "Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, look like a nostalgia act."

    Democrats are unified behind a coherent policy agenda, which is best described as reconciliation with the Bush agenda, in exchange for the promise of ongoing fabian economic reforms. While in some sense it does answer the economic and nationalist insecurities of our time, it doesn't represent a new or creative way forward. At worse, it represents a doubling-down on the post-9/11 guns-and-butter agenda that attempts to bolster the strength of Empire America by indulging in its worst excesses.

    This is most obvious if we look beyond economic issues. The Obama administration has been, at best, no more transparent than the Bush administration -- indeed, Obama has been so greatly empowered by Democratic reconciliation with Bush policies, that he can get away with trying to hunt down the whistle-blower responsible for the most important revelation since the pentagon papers. We have a black president and a black attorney general who are vigorously prosecuting a war on drugs that has literally disenfranchised a large proportion of black males in this country. And who in 2008 would have believed that Obama would commit us to war without congressional approval or sign legislation to allow for the imprisonment of US citizens in Guantanamo Bay without trial?

    Liberals may force a radical turn away from some of these policies in 2016 -- but with the future of the party in Hillary's hands, I think it's more likely that Obama Democracy will continue. Right now, the most promising force for genuine policy reform appears to be in the Republican party.

  2. @JB, you're exactly right in your Salon article. If you were an undecided voter and looked at the GOP proposals, you probably said "you've got to be kidding me. I'll take my chances with the Dems." Except for the policy of shutting down as many abortion providers/PP facilities as possible, the GOP didn't have coherent policies. I guess they're not going to be developing any in 2013 either. Will they do it in 2014 or not?


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