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Do Republicans Have A Way Forward?

I wrote yesterday about President Obama’s second term and what it was likely to look like. Today, I would like to examine the paths the Republicans in Congress may possibly take as they confront what is largely an unchanged balance of power in Washington. If you listen to the President and his supporters, the election gave them a carte blanche mandate to pass their agenda of taxing the wealthy into oblivion. Obviously, that isn’t the case but there are signs that many Americans believe the reforms that need to be made need to include some form of tax increase on the wealthy. Speaker John Boehner has already signaled he is ready to move forward and has informed his caucus to fall into line, via a conference call.

John Boehner - RepublicansI have read more than a few different viewpoints on how the Republicans should deal with the situation they are facing in Washington. Some have said Boehner and company should give Obama and company everything they want, loudly proclaiming their opposition to that liberal agenda in the process. That way, the only party that could be blamed when the house burns down is the Democrats and the President.

Others hold the viewpoint that the Republicans should stand their ground and hinder the implementation of the liberal agenda at every possible opportunity. Refuse to fund Obamacare, filibuster in the Senate, and refuse to raise one penny of new taxes.

The most likely scenario will probably contain elements of both contrasting positions. If anything is to be accomplished in Washington, compromises will have to be negotiated. I’m not talking about the compromise the Democrats want, in that the Republicans give them everything, while receiving nothing in return. That includes holding their ground on spending. If we are to see higher taxes on the wealthy, which I’m not at all convinced is a good idea, then we have to have concessions from the Democrats on spending. Again, I’m not talking about the Democrats’ proposal that we raise taxes now and cut spending later, ten years down the road. If they expect us to capitulate on tax increases, then they should cut spending now. Let me state that again. No new taxes unless spending is cut in a meaningful way.

We should also keep in mind that fiscal issues are not the only issues that will be coming up. The homosexuals are already up in arms, demanding President Obama sign an Executive Order about discrimination against them in the workplace. Immigration advocates are making their voices heard and the Republicans have already acknowledged they are willing to compromise on that particualar issue. They are probably correct in that assumption, as they run the risk of further alienating the immigrant community, if they do no. I look for something to happen in that regard soon, probably in 2013.

The Republicans need to understand something. The political reality is that no matter what happens, they are going to be blamed for obstructionism. No matter what kind of compromise is worked out, it will never be enough for some liberals, including those in the media. The Republicans should strap on their hard hats, knowing full well they are about to encounter rough sailing. They are not likely to come through this unscathed. They should choose their path forward carefully.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 1995 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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  • http://westernhero.blogspot.com Silverfiddle

    The Republicans need to understand something. The political reality is that no matter what happens, they are going to be blamed for obstructionism. No matter what kind of compromise is worked out, it will never be enough for some liberals, including those in the media

    That is the cold, hard truth, LD, and you’ve stated it plainly. The GOP is ensnared in a trap of its own making. Obama and the Democrats are holding all the cards, he just won a ‘mandate,’ and the press is on their side.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      That is exactly what I am afraid of, Kurt. I’m not sure if there is a good way out of this for the Republicans. No matter what they do, it will never be enough for the Democrats and the media is sure to place the blame squarely on their back.

  • http://www.stevenbirnspeaks.com Steven Birn

    If the GOP is going to be blamed for obstruction then they should at least obstruct. Boehner is going to have a hard time getting his caucus in line for a tax increase. Eric Cantor has more support in the GOP caucus than Boehner does, Cantor could easily become Speaker if Boehner caves.

  • http://www.cainespestilence.com John Bascom

    A mandate must be real, not illusory to have political effect, like Reagan’s in 1984 when he won by 18%. Obama won by LESS THAN 3%, far lower than his 7+% margin in 2008 and one of the poorer performances in American presidential history. Interestingly, almost all incumbents who won a second term did so with a higher margin than when they were first elected: not so with Obama.

    Simply because he SAYS he has a mandate does not make it so. The Dems lack an effective plurality in the Senate and the Repubs rule the House. Obama had no coattails this time around.

    Conservatives (in the broadest definition)have plenty of power and support. We need to do a better job of framing the message–restoring the country to sanity and stability, not simply obstructing. I’m confident there is a path to achieve that, increase our legislative presence in the 2014 midterms and take back the White House in 2016. The issue will be our skill in executing the strategy.

    And–personally–I’m not worried in the least about Obama’s self-described “mandate.” His words only serve to mock his lack of political power.

  • Dragonconservative

    Well, the thing is, this is his only mandate. He’s got no other plans for economic recovery other than taxing the rich. And they’ve only got so much money. What House Republicans need to do is have comprehensive tax reform, possibly extend the Bush tax cuts for another two years. In 2014, I ghighly doubt the economy will pick back up; they’ll take the senate. In 2016, the Democrat party loses the White House and control of Congress for the next eight years. At this point, there’s no other choice but to extend the Bush tax cuts.

  • http://conservativesonfire.wordpress.com Jim at Conservatives on Fire

    Considering that the debt time bomb is ticking away, I am not sure it matters what the Republicans do. As to what future the Republicans have, I referred to an article I read this weekend (I couldn0t find it to link) where the author made a compeeling argument for the demise of the Republicans for the next several election cycles.

  • Mike

    I think John Bascom said it very well and Dems would do well to listen. It is very hard to read a mandate into this election win except for one thing — raising taxes on the wealthy. That’s the only mantra we heard over and over from Obama and I do think it’s what the vast majority of the country wants and expects. Other than that there is no mandate — and I don’t think there is ever a mandate for either side since Reagan; but the winner always thinks so. And then the electorate tells them they’re wrong. You swing too much to one side and the people slap you down. Happens election after election. I’m hoping Obama will goven as the student of history he claims to be and recognize that the way to make his mark and move his agenda forward is to find common ground and reach compromise. If he does I wonder if the GOP will feel the same. Hard to think both those things can happen but…

  • Steve Dennis

    Honestly Larry I don’t know what the best way forward for Republicans is. I have gone back and forth on whether or not they should simply give Obama everything he wants to prove it doesn’t work or if they should continue to oppose him at every turn. At this point I don’t think they even know what they should do. They have quite a predicament here and I not sure they even know what to do at this point.

  • http://www.sentryjournal.com John Carey

    Larry let’s take a look at this from a slightly different perspective. What if I said the real truth behind Romney’s loss in directly linked to the failures of John Boehner and company after 2010. They were suppose to hold the line and they caved over and over again. They we suppose to stop the President and his progressive agenda and failed on every front. They could have held the purse strings, instead our national debt continued to grow at an exponential rate. They didn’t stand on principle and the people saw it. The people felt let down and betrayed.

    Here’s the kind of hardball I would play with Harry Reid if I was Speaker of the House over this filibuster rule change. I would say to Harry Reid that if you rewrite the rules to diminish the power of the filibuster, in-turn diminishing the power of Republican Senators to effectively represent their states and constituents, then you will not get one more dime of the people’s money. And I would sell it to the American people just like that. Harry Reid is trying to create barriers that will prevent your Senator from effectively representing your states and the people who voted for them. Boehner and the Republicans in the house have the power to do this, but they won’t. And this is why so many conservatives have become disillusioned with the party and why many decided to sit the last election out. The Republican way forward is political theater and this will ultimately lead to the party’s demise. People have had enough of it. They’re look for rock solid leadership and Boehner isn’t getting it done. That’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

    • Mike

      My two cents is that you have it exactly wrong. The people don’t want Congress to forever be a do-nothing institution which is the logical extension of your proposal. We have had that and the election, as well as the pathetic public opinion of Congress’ performance, said that pretty loudly. The GOP has, fairly or unfairly, borne the brunt of that disaffection and the answer lies in exactly the opposite direction of what you suggest. Help the process of governing by moving the legislation incrementally to the right. Negotiate hard but fair. Get the best deal possible but DO something. I think the GOP did itself enormous damage in the primaries when all the candidates, in response to a moderators debate question, failed to endorse a budget agreement that would be $1 tax increase for every $10 spending cuts. That really told the American people a lot about the commitment of the GOP to fixing the budget deficit and the debt ceiling. Any of them could have said “yes I would support that as long as the tax cuts weren’t effective immediately and the spending cuts pushed down the road” but no one was even willing to go there. “Our way or the highway” is not a way forward and that’s the message the electorate delivered.

      • http://www.sentryjournal.com John Carey

        Mike I disagree with you. Since 2010 this so called do nothing congress you describe raised the debt ceiling twice and increased our national debt by over $4 trillion in 2 years. I don’t call that a do nothing entity. The Republicans caved every single time on issues that could have slowed our decline down. They compromised their principles and we slid farther to the left on the ideological scale as a nation. I did not vote for these people to compromise with tyranny. I voted for them to advance the cause of liberty and freedom. I voted for them to reestablish the constitution as the law of the land. Liberty and tyranny can NOT coexist and therefore it makes no sense to me to compromise with an ideology that represents everything I stand against. This isn’t the same Democratic Party of our grandparents. It’s not the same party of Harry S. Truman and John F Kennedy. It’s being run by the extreme elements of the leftist ideology and has great influence over a large number of Democratic Senators and Representatives. They don’t believe in compromise. They believe in their cause. They believe that the ends justify the means and will do anything to achieve their goals. Tell me why it is a sin or wrong thinking to want the same type of passion from the Republicans when advancing our cause. Why should we always cave into the left? Every time we do, we lose more of our liberties. The reason the left has managed to shift the political spectrum to the left is because they haven’t compromised. No more. We have to stand on principle and stand firm or we will lose our nation.

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  • Leo Blueblood

    Even if the Republicans give the Democrats EVERYTHING they want it will still be their fault. The rally cry will be, “Well, they said we could do it.”

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I have no doubt you are correct. No matter which path the Republicans take, it will be portrayed as obstructionist and standing in the way of progress.

      Thanks for commenting on Political Realities.