The Republicans are winning, leaders in the building of a New America

Summary: Many people believe the American political system has become some combination of rigid, dysfunctional, perhaps even stupid. All of these are false. The US political system is alive and evolving rapidly, as a New America rises on the ashes of the Republic-that-once-was, built to the designs of its plutocratic stakeholders. That so many remain blind to this reflects the quiet nature of the process, and the skill of its key actors. Today we examine some of the evidence.

GOP sunrise
GOP sunrise, from the “Right Truth” website

.

After 30 years the shift of America has become obvious, along with the Republicans’ successful leadership. Especially after the events during Obama’s administration (aka Bush Jr’s 3rd and 4th terms).

Many social policies have become more liberal. But few of the 1% care who sleeps with whom, or the details of births and deaths among the proles.

What about the Democratic Party’s excitement over the debt crisis fiasco, and the resulting GOP dip in in the polls?  Even the most successful movement has reverses, often from over-confidence and excessive aggressiveness. Setbacks are not defeat. What matters is how they respond and adapt.

Consider instead the momentum of events, their intellectual and financial resources, their legion of shock troops in local communities, their powerful organizational support structure of think-tanks and advocacy groups. All they lack is skilled strong leadership — to replace their current collection of clowns and poseurs. When they have that missing piece, they can shift to a higher speed.

Let’s look at some articles of the past month, much like the news flow for the past few years. And the past three decades.

(1) Conservative Georgia District Urges G.O.P. to Keep Up the Fight“, New York Times, 6 October 2013 — Read the quotes!

(2) Take Back the House? Democrats Aren’t Even Ahead on Friendly Turf In 2014“, Nate Cohn, The New Republic, 7 October 2013 — Candidate selection is vital, and the GOP has the vital edge in enthusiasm.

(3) The mythical moderates?“, David Karol (Assoc Prof of Politics, U MD; bio here), blog of the Washington Post, 8 October 2013 — The GOP has stronger internal cohesion, giving them an edge in every conflict.

.

Republican winning - in results
Republican winning – in results

(4)  “The Roberts Court: What Kind of Conservatives?“, David Cole, New York Review of Books, 7 October 2013 — “There can be no doubt that today’s Supreme Court is a confidently conservative institution. … {looking at the new docket} In all of these cases, the real question is not whether the conservatives will win, but how they will win.”

(5) The conservative shift in public opinion has happened in all 50 states“, Peter Enns (Asst Prof Government, Cornell; bio here), blog of the Washington Post, 8 October 2013 — This is the pure form of political change.

(6)  Recommended:  “Why the Republicans are Winning“, George Packer, New Yorker, 28 October 2013 — It’s a description of conservatives’ victory, not an explanation of why or how. Excerpt:

Jenny Brown started working for the Internal Revenue Service right out of high school, in 1985, typing numbers from tax returns into a computer.

… a lot of Brown’s colleagues are taking pills for stress. They haven’t had a raise in 3 years. Every IRS employee lost 3 days of pay last summer, owing to furloughs brought on by the blind budget cutting known as sequestration …. the agency’s workforce has been cut by almost 25% in the past two decades, while the number of individual tax returns filed has grown by an even larger figure.

With the extra workload, face-to-face audits have dropped by half since 1992, as have the odds of being convicted for a tax crime. Frank Clemente, the director of Americans for Tax Fairness, says, “When the IRS doesn’t have the money to do its job, it’s easier for wealthy people and big corporations to cheat the system, especially by hiding profits offshore.”

For every $1 added to the IRS budget, the agency is able to collect at least $7 in revenue, but in times of austerity that money doesn’t come in — which means that, in recent years, the Treasury has lost billions in taxes, starving government services and increasing the deficit.

Another result, Jenny Brown pointed out, is that wait times at the Ogden call center have risen from 10 – 15 minutes a few years ago to an hour or more today. “By the time they get the IRS on the phone, they’re frustrated, and they vent awhile, which takes up more time,” she said.

Worst of all is the hostility that Brown senses toward government employees in general, but especially those at the IRS. She’s learned not to mention her job to strangers, sparing herself the rude comebacks. “On Facebook, my colleagues don’t put anything where it asks where you work,” Brown said. Instead, they write, “If you know me, you know where I work” — as if they were employed at a pet crematory, or a strip club. “Morale is horrible. People are looking for a way to get out of the government.”

… These days, Republicans may be losing politically and resorting to increasingly anti-majoritarian means — gerrymandering, filibuster abuse, voter suppression, activist Supreme Court decisions, legislative terrorism — to nullify election results.

But on economic-policy matters they are setting the terms. Senator Ted Cruz can be justly described as a demagogic fool, but lately he’s been on the offensive far more than the White House has. The deficit is in fairly precipitous decline, but job growth is anemic, and millions of Americans remain chronically unemployed. Democrats control the White House and the Senate, and last year they won a larger share of the national vote in the House than Republicans did.

And yet the dominant argument in Washington is over spending cuts, not over ways to increase economic growth and address acute problems like inequality, poor schools, and infrastructure decay. “The whole debate over the last couple of weeks is playing against a backdrop of how much to increase austerity, not to invest in the economy,” Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, said last week. “We are living in a time of government withering on the vine.”

While House Republicans go home to sift through the debris of their defeat, the sequester remains in place, with deeper cuts ahead. A hiring freeze at United States Attorneys’ offices will continue and they will have to go on using volunteers. There will be no new agents to fill training classes at the FBI Academy, while the bureau’s concrete headquarters, on Pennsylvania Avenue, crumbles. The loss of government scholarships at the National Health Services Corps will mean fewer doctors in underserved areas. Jenny Brown’s friends and co-workers in Ogden will look for jobs in the private sector. And the talk in Washington will return to deficit reduction.

For More Information

(a)  About American politics:

  1. Posts about politics in America
  2. Posts about the Democratic Party
  3. Posts about Obama, his administration and policies

(b)  Posts about the Republican Party:

  1. Whose values do Dick and Liz Cheney share? Those of America? Or those of our enemies, in the past and today?, 14 March 2010
  2. The evolution of the Republican Party has shaped America during the past fifty years, 8 May 2010
  3. Conservatives oppose the new START treaty, as they opposed even the earlier version negotiated by Ronald Reagan, 24 July 2010
  4. A modern conservative dresses up Mr. Potter to suit our libertarian fashions, 17 November 2011
  5. The key to modern American politics:  the Right-Wing Id Unzipped, 15 February 2012
  6. Why Republicans Need Remedial Math: Their Budget Plans Explode the Deficit, 16 March 2012
  7. Let’s list the GOP’s problems. They’re all easily solvable, 12 November 2012
  8. The Republican Party is like America, and can quickly recover it strength, 14 November 2012
  9. The world of wonders: Democratic Party takes center, pushes GOP right to madness, 19 February 2013
  10. A harsh clear look at the history of the Republican Party, 22 September 2013
  11. Most of what Democrats say is wrong about the Republicans’ recent actions in Congress, 1 October 2013
  12. Surveys look into the heart of GOP weirdness: belief in conspiracy theories, 3 October 2013
  13. A new political party for a New America: the Tea Party GOP, 9 October 2013

Strolling to the Right:

Moving to the right

.

.

3 thoughts on “The Republicans are winning, leaders in the building of a New America

    1. Winston,

      I couldn’t finish Hamill’s article. His is hopefully a dying tradition in political commentary: snazzy title, annecdata, lots of guessing dressed up as analysis.

      Nate Silver’s election coverage at the NY Times and the political scientists writing at The Monkey Cage (now at the Washington Post) are the future: hard data, accurate analysis backed by professional research, reliable conclusions (stated with explicit levels of confidence). After reading these we actually know something.

Leave a Reply