Day: September 5, 2010

The Coming Conflict Within The Congressional Republican Party!

Assuming that the Republican party wins control of the House of Representatives this November, and even possibly the Senate, does this mean a united GOP against President Barack Obama in 2011 and 2012?

The clear answer is NO, as younger and more right wing conservative members now, and newly elected, will be desirous of grabbing power and going in a more extreme direction in policy and philosophy!

It is hard to know which new House members will become leaders of a “revolution” in the House, but one can be assured that Eric Cantor, the House Minority Whip from Virginia; Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is seen as the ideological leader of major conservative oriented reform; and Kevin McCarthy of California will lead the charge for change, and just might challenge John Boehner’s leadership.

Cantor, Ryan and McCarthy are publishing a book called “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders”, and it is a clarion call for moving away from the stodgy, unimaginative leadership of Boehner, who is from the Newt Gingrich era, and a lot older than them! And they fail to even name him in their book!

Will libertarian, Tea Party Movement supporters who are elected this fall move to oust Boehner in favor of Cantor? No one can be certain, including Boehner!

And, as stated elsewhere by the author, IF a whole group of libertarian oriented Tea Party types are elected to the Senate–Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Mike Lee, Ken Buck, Joe Miller, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Linda McMahon–or most of them–it could be a very uncomfortable time for the old line Republican leadership of Mitch McConnell and other traditional conservative Republicans in the upper chamber!

Imagine this internal set of battles going on as the GOP tries to make a case for its nominee to challenge President Obama, and with Sarah Palin possibly complicating the battle by becoming a burden to the other GOP presidential possibilities by either deciding to run, or trying to influence who IS the nominee!

Will the GOP be able to accomplish anything in the 112th Congress, and make a case for their keeping control and for a Republican President in 2012?

It might actually be better for them to be unable to gain control, but come close, so that the burden of governing is still left in the hands of the Democrats! It would make it easier for them to build a case for a GOP majority and a Republican President in 2012!

Will 2010 Be Another 1994? It Does Not Have To Be!

In 1994, the Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress, losing 54 House and 8 Senate seats to the Republicans, who gained control of both houses for the first time since 1954!

Many see a similar result today, but conditions are different in a number of ways!

The Democrats had leadership which was really senior in nature then, with Tom Foley as Speaker and Dan Rostenkowski as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and there was lots of corruption within a party which had held control in the House for 40 straight years!

This time, the Democrats have only had control for four years, and Nancy Pelosi has been much more effective and successful than Foley was, and although former Ways and Means chairman Charlie Rangel is in trouble, it does not match the level of Rostenkowski and other senior Democratic leaders who were involved in scandal back then!

Barack Obama has accomplished much more than Bill Clinton had by this time in 1994, and while there is criticism of Obama, it is not personal in nature as Clinton faced then, with investigations going on on his personal life and years before the Presidency!

Newt Gingrich was a new, aggressive leader of the Republicans back in 1994, while John Boehner is older and more stodgy and far less imaginative today, not exactly a great leader to stir the troops in his party!

The Republicans have major headaches dealing with the Tea Party Movement candidates within its midst, but back in 1994, there was a greater sense of unity, instead of an internal struggle which could cause a rift and make the GOP totally ineffective in the next two years if they should win the control they are seeking!

Barack Obama may be at a low level of popularity right now, but again it was the same for Ronald Reagan in 1982 and Bill Clinton in 1994, and yet both went on to win reelection, and Obama has the capability to rally less than enthusiastic Democrats and attract independents, if he goes on an active equivalent of Harry Truman’s “Whistlestop Campaign” of 1948!

The bad economic conditions really hurt, but again if it is emphasized that the Republican opposition has no new ideas, and that things could have been a lot worse without the policies and actions of the Democratic majority in both houses and the President’s efforts, this year does not have to be another 1994!

Why A Second Economic Stimulus Is Essential!

If you listen to conservatives, they will constantly state that the economic stimulus legislation of 2009 has failed, and that the nation does not need any more attempts at economic stimulus, a totally wrong viewpoint!

Sure, the economic stimulus has not been a panacea, but ask most economists and they will say that WITHOUT the stimulus, our unemployment rate would have been closer to 20 percent, instead of the 9.6 percent that it presently is!

We are facing an extreme economic crisis with local and state governments, undermining public safety and public education, with the anticipated dismissal of hundreds of thousands of police, firefighters, teachers and other public service fields that we all take for granted!

The first stimulus helped to prevent many of these people losing their jobs, and it is estimated that at least three million people either kept their employment because of the stimulus, or were employed when they had been unemployed due to the economic collapse that began at the end of 2007!

This is, of course, a “drop in the bucket” solution of the problem, but if we continue to act as if we have no need to deal with this crisis in public safety and education, we will pay the price in higher crime rates and worse educational opportunities for millions of school children, which will affect lives not just for a year or two, but for the long term future!

Also, extension of unemployment compensation creates consumer spending and gives the long term unemployed a lifeline until things get better, and if it is not done, we will have widespread starvation and homelessness!

It is easy to say it is someone else’s problem and not care about it, but this could literally happen to anyone at anytime, and the fact that it does not is due to a lot of luck, as there is nothing inherently wrong with people who lose their jobs!

We should not be judging others, and looking down on them, as “there but for the grace of God go I!”, and one does not have to be religious to realize the truth of that statement!

We must also work on creating critical infrastructure jobs, as that is a long term need and will provide many new employment opportunities, and we cannot allow the fear of deficits long term to make us paralyzed in our actions short term!

The problem is that if the Republicans gain control of either or both houses of Congress in November, the room for action on these matters may very well be lost, and the country will then suffer through a much worse economic downturn over the next few years!

We might look back in 2012 and after and bemoan what the voters did in 2010, in their moment of frustration and anger! Let us hope they do not take self destructive actions! 🙁