Opinion

Reihan Salam

How to fix the GOP’s discipline problem

By Reihan Salam
October 4, 2013

As the government shutdown grinds on, the Republican leadership in the House is struggling to unite GOP lawmakers around a fiscal deal that Senate Democrats and the Obama administration would be willing to accept. Speaker John Boehner has reportedly said that he is willing to rely on Democratic votes if necessary to pass an increase in the debt ceiling. Yet he also insists that he will fight for spending cuts and entitlement reform in any debt ceiling bill, in a nod to conservative members who are convinced that he is eager to sell them out.

Whether or not Boehner succeeds, it is increasingly difficult to deny that the Republican negotiating position is being constrained if not dictated by a small minority of 30 or so members from safe seats who seem largely indifferent to leadership demands, or rather leadership requests. The result is that the much-derided Republican establishment is in a state of panic, sensing that GOP intransigence will lead the party to squander the political opportunity created by the president’s declining fortunes and the persistent unpopularity of Obamacare. How has party discipline broken down to this extent, and what, if anything, can Republicans do to restore it?

First, it is important to recognize that this chaotic confrontation wasn’t supposed to happen. At the start of the year, congressional Republicans seemed eager to return to regular order, in which, essentially, the House majority brokers with the Senate majority to pass legislation, which the president can then sign or veto. Yuval Levin, writing for National Review Online, argued that for the right, the central political problem with the endless succession of fiscal showdowns is that they inevitably made the president, as a unitary figure, look better than the often-fractious House Republican conference. Regular order, in contrast, would demand that Senate Democrats put up or shut up by codifying their commitments, not all of which are popular in hotly-contested states, in real legislation. House Republicans and Senate Democrats would be on a relatively level playing field, while the president would be relegated to the sidelines. But the regular order strategy didn’t come to fruition, both because Senate Democrats were reluctant to play along and because a determined minority of House Republicans couldn’t reconcile themselves to the fact that the ordinary legislative process left them with very little leverage.

Which leads us back to party discipline. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other members of the GOP leadership team couldn’t compel their most recalcitrant members to steer clear of confrontation because they had very little to offer them.

Traditionally, party leaders would use the appropriations process to cut deals with members. The main tool for these deals was the legislative earmark, which directs the federal government to spend money in particular ways. Earmarks have never represented a large share of appropriations, but they long helped ensure that legislators can achieve tangible, narrowly-defined policy goals that can help burnish their political credentials. Over time, however, the earmarking process fell into bad odor, as it came to be associated with expensive, wasteful projects, like Alaska’s notorious “Bridge to Nowhere.” To demonstrate their anti-spending zeal, Republicans banned earmarks after winning control of the House in 2010. One heretical idea, which Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) floated last spring, is that Republicans should bring earmarks back. As Steven LaTourette, a moderate Ohio Republican and former House member, explained to Richard Cowan of Reuters in 2012, “you can’t get 218 votes (out of 242 Republican House members) and part of that has to be if you can’t give people anything (earmarks), you can’t take anything away from them.”

The problem with restoring earmarks is that legislative deals that were once made in dark corners of the Capitol are now made in full view of the public. Even before the earmark ban, GOP lawmakers were growing wary of using them, as doing so risked raising the ire of more ideologically-minded Republicans. It is easier to imagine Republican rebels representing safe seats boasting of their willingness to swear off earmarks than boasting of having brought home the bacon, not least because their most realistic political threats are from conservative primary challengers.

A more effective strategy for restoring party discipline would be to actually strengthen political parties, which have been sapped of their importance by onerous campaign finance regulations that empower candidates who can build their own fundraising networks. In Better Parties, Better Government, Peter Wallison and Joel Gora explain that while most countries have party-centered campaign-finance systems, in which parties do the heavy lifting of raising funds, the U.S. has a candidate-centered system, which benefits incumbents at the expense of challengers and wealthy candidates over less-wealthy candidates. It also forces elected officials to spend inordinate amounts of time fundraising rather than doing their jobs. Indeed, some influential conservatives, including Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal, have suggested that the recent effort to defund Obamacare has been little more than a fundraising ploy. Giving parties a more central role in fundraising — allowing them more leeway to finance campaigns directly — would encourage a more competitive political system, as it would aid promising candidates who have neither the time nor the inclination to build fundraising networks of their own. And it would also give the party leadership more leverage over members. When members of the party are damaging its reputation in swing districts, the central party organization could nudge them towards considering the interests of the party as a whole.

In theory, Americans admire my-way-or-the-highway mavericks, who are willing to stick up for their principles regardless of the cost. But in practice, unyielding ideologues make it very difficult for a legislature to function, as is becoming painfully clear in this fiscal showdown.

PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) returns to his office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 30, 2013.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 

 

Comments
32 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

One could say the same about the Democrats or any other political party. However, if any party is unhappy with the leadership, particularly in a democracy, changing leadership is not a problem.

As for dysfunction, I blame both parties 40% and President Obama 60%. Great leaders negotiate and create consensus. President Obama is unlike President Johnson who moved enough Southern Democrats to make Civil Rights a reality.

President Obama has taken an extreme hard line with Republicans from the very beginning, contrary to his 2008 promise to reach across the aisle and end dysfunction. His party’s majority went to his head. Go back to the final passage of PPACA. The Democrats were not reaching consensus. When the sands of time on their majority were about to run out, President Obama said, “Get it done,” which is why we have deep concern about this legislation.

If you’re going to point the finger, don’t be so exclusive. I have great respect for Reuters “journalism,” but not for slanted editorials that paint half a picture black and the other half white like yours Mr. Salam.

Posted by GSH10 | Report as abusive
 

One could say the same about the Democrats or any other political party. However, if any party is unhappy with the leadership, particularly in a democracy, changing leadership is not a problem.

As for dysfunction, I blame both parties 40% and President Obama 60%. Great leaders negotiate and create consensus. President Obama is unlike President Johnson who moved enough Southern Democrats to make Civil Rights a reality.

President Obama has taken an extreme hard line with Republicans from the very beginning, contrary to his 2008 promise to reach across the aisle and end dysfunction. His party’s majority went to his head. Go back to the final passage of PPACA. The Democrats were not reaching consensus. When the sands of time on their majority were about to run out, President Obama said, “Get it done,” which is why we have deep concern about this legislation.

If you’re going to point the finger, don’t be so exclusive. I have great respect for Reuters “journalism,” but not for slanted editorials that paint half a picture black and the other half white like yours Mr. Salam.

Posted by GSH10 | Report as abusive
 

“Americans admire my-way-or-the-highway mavericks, who are willing to stick up for their principles regardless of the cost.” Darn right they do. America does not need more “party discipline”. It needs more common sense.

Our “I want it NOW” generations have lost the ability to discern the difference between what America can afford to do at present versus what America hopes for it’s future to bring someday. We lean forward so far beyond our actual financial reach that we risk falling off our horse still far short of the “golden ring” of a “good life for one and all”. So, while I remain a fiscal conservative, in my opinion BOTH parties have literally lost their mind. Each seems today motivated solely by mindless emotion utterly lacking logic or coherent long term perspective.

In my opinion the religious right has fundamentally hijacked the GOP, demanding that government stick it’s nose into population control and abortion debates which were supposedly decided decades ago. Suddenly those supposedly ideologically oriented to the preservation of the status quo become obnoxious “in your face” radicals to unite every human sperm and egg and bring same to term.

Never mind that there SEVEN BILLION humans (with millions and millions already “on the way” all but certain over time to turn our big blue marble into a big brown marble. And never mind that as soon as each new child is born, they are off to the next person considering limiting their family…never mind helping those already here to grow up with sufficient healthy food and opportunity to prosper.

I have come to believe more and more that Republican judges make for a more and more pro-business anti-consumer, pro government anti-accountability legal environment. These judges seem most comfortable with a legal perspective where the meaning of statutes enacted by a state legislature are considered unclear until a member of their “judiciary club” renders a legal opinion defining it.

At the same time they still expect “we, the people be expected to “know and obey” such statutes as yet undefined? Such hypocracy being personally unacceptable, I now vote exclusively for Democratic judges.

And yet I can cheer and sympathize with the Tea Party freshmen, full of conviction to “make a difference” and truly represent, to the best of their ability, local majority constituents whose fiscal long term concerns have always been ignored by those “‘wheeling and dealing” in Washington. While I may personally object to certain of their goals and values, when they put their “stick in the spokes” of “Business as usual Washington politics”, graft and influence gone wild without meaningful restraint, I think they do us all a favor.

Maybe, just maybe, by jerking our heads from the sand a few more of us may start to think for ourselves how to build the best POSSIBLE future within current financial constraints.

“We, the people need to debate among ourselves and come to some consensus as to the kind of a nation we afford to be at this time rather than what kind of nation do we “want” to be someday. Until we can and do do that, there is NO LIMIT to how large our government can grow and NO LIMIT on how much of our individual income it can and will take to feed itself.

I see no workable future yet on the back of either our existing elephants or asses.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Perhaps we should have four parties? Break each into two. It couldn’t make things any worse.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

The rebellious Tea Party ideologues have found a new way to govern. Of course they would have no hope as a tiny separate party. So instead of founding a party of their own, they are riding piggyback on the GOP, enforcing their will on its leadership.

Posted by pbgd | Report as abusive
 

AM UTC: Most of your points are well taken. The most important topic that is lost in the current political chatter is discussion of how the “I want it NOW” U.S. public has a federal government with on the order of $90 trillion in mainly entitlement program unfunded liabilities, on top of the current $17 trillion or so in debt. Those are staggering figures, and they are just being added to and/or ignored year after year, in good times and bad. While the Democrats, who built up most of these debts (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are all their creations), are less fit to redress the problems than the Republicans, the country could use sober, adult-minded leadership to help its national government better live within its means,from any quarter. I agree with you that President Obama is not providing statesmanlike leadership to address either the immediate national government fiscal problems or its long-run fiscal imbalances.

Posted by ExDemocrat | Report as abusive
 

Typical decline of a once powerful nation. Nothing new. Just frustrating to be part of it.
the Zeitgeist is with us. Better get used to a smaller role for us in the world. I think we will be better off in the long run.

Posted by Hermist | Report as abusive
 

A few massively rich One Percenters fund the Tea Party extremists and plan to run Ted Cruz for president in 2016. This is who they are:

•Corporate billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch (front group Americans for Prosperity)
•Venture capitalist and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel (front group Club for Growth)
•Leverage-buyout specialist John Childs (front group Club for Growth)
•Investor Howie Rich (front group Club for Growth)
•Executives of JPMorgan (front group Club for Growth)
•Crow Holdings’ Harlan Crow (front group FreedomWorks)
•Shipping magnate Richard Uihlein (front group FreedomWorks)
•Investment banker Foster Friess (front group FreedomWorks)
•Executives of MetLife (front group FreedomWorks)
•Philip Morris (front group FreedomWorks)
•Foundations controlled by the Scaife family (front group FreedomWorks)

Posted by Des3Maisons | Report as abusive
 

And, here we thought your proposed solution involved taking those 30 or so Tea Party Members out to be executed!

As Des3Maisons points out, the core issue is satisfying the Plutocrats. Everything else is deliberate obfuscation. Everybody knows that Congress was corrupted a long time ago and now represents the government of the people, by the Plutocracy and for the very, very rich.

It’s time that millions of people recognize this reality and stop voting against their own self interests. Refuse to be gullible. Stop the blindness and deafness and gullible capitulation and start fighting back against the Plutocracy. Don’t let the Plutocracy wield the Idiocracy against the United States.

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive
 

The tea party may be having a good time now throwing a monkey wrench into Washington’s political works, but it will be a different story when it’s time to show the folks at home what kind of goodies you can squeeze out of the “feral gumint”. When the leaders in your district can’t get a dime in government contracts or assistance because you’ve pissed off the leaders of your party, you can start looking for a new job.

Posted by JRTerrance | Report as abusive
 

@pbgd, Des3Maisons, ptiffany and JRTerrence,

You “99% vs. 1%” would-be class warfare instigators are today’s equivalent to the OWS side show or Nero fiddling while Rome burned. The collapse of the dollar as a credible international substitute for holding gold will be both swift and irreversible.

It will take down both rich and poor Americans. BOTH political parties and ALL elected individuals who pretend to know nothing (or look the other way) must be considered complicit and responsible (not that this will then matter).

Once all governments today squirreling away “Monopoly money” dollars of no meaningful backing start pulling them from national vaults they increasingly dilute the purchasing power of ALL dollars in actual circulation.
The scenario could well mirror the rampant inflation in the German Weimar Republic following WW I which ultimately led to Hitler’s election as Chancelor of Germany.

Few remain with personal memory, but Google it. It took wheelbarrows of paper bills to buy a loaf of bread. What one earned each day had to be paid and immediately spent less it’s value be halved the following day. To survive, people ate rats!

What does that have to do with you and yours? As an elderly American’s Social Security check becomes as worthless as our dollars our national economy will enter a death spiral from which no one will be isolated.

Today our political magicians of BOTH parties have some of the people, like you, fooled all of the time. But not ALL of us.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Wow Sheepster, that was harsh!

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

Thank God for the TeaParty and their willingness to stand against this out of control corrupt beast in Washington! When Obama took office this country was $10.2 Trillion in debt and is now $17 Trillion in debt, the fastest and greatest increase of debt in the history of the world. This is just Obama following Cloward and Piven’s strategy to overwhelm and collapse the system. The Tea Party by helping shut things down are trying to stop these psychopaths from completely destroying our country at 100 miles per hour. Obamacare is a socialist nightmare. Thousands of Americans across the country are getting notices that their premiums are doubling from this “affordable” healthcare, meanwhile our taxes are going to go through the roof as we subsidize more illegals and welfare cases. On top of all that the pile of Democrap in Washington can’t wait to unionize these 15 million healthcare workers so they can start funneling dues into their party coffers to support more tyranny in Washington. Good for whoever is fighting this criminal insanity!

Posted by CountryPride | Report as abusive
 

“Today our political magicians of BOTH parties have some of the people, like you, fooled all of the time. But not ALL of us.”

I think this is the type of thinking that keeps Washington stagnant, this epidemic of ‘both sides are to blame’. It’s the position of a coward that’s afraid to be wrong.

Maybe take a look at the commentary from around the world. It’s all pretty much pointing to the GOP – they totally get it. The very act of refusing to take a vote on a clean bill on the House floor should make that pretty apparent, as well as naming the party who originally tagged on the ACA to the CR in the first place. They don’t want to follow traditional democracy by voting – they’re in a desperate position where threats and random notes are their only option.

And they’ve already negotiated/stripped down the heck out of the ACA, got it approved by Congress, and then verified by a Supreme Court that has a conservative majority. The Tea Party still isn’t happy though – compromise isn’t in their dictionary. Either something is, or isn’t.

“… the fastest and greatest increase of debt in the history of the world.”

I think you need to do some research on your numbers before you go off on big rants like that. Also, I mean, how exactly can you be expected to be taken seriously/objectively with infantile terms like “Democrap”?

I know posting on a forum like this might soothe your guys egos, but they don’t affect the reality of the situations you complain about, especially when you start to fabricate information and essentially go on theatrical rants.

Posted by ahms | Report as abusive
 

Serious campaign finance reform and a universal formula for drawing up redistricting that is fair, equitable, and that best represents the people: that’s what we need. Gerrymandering needs to be banned. It’s a bane on our democracy.

And it’s too bad we can’t regulate dishonesty. There is so much misinformation that’s being fed to the public, so much so that we can no longer have a meaningful national dialogue on the issues, and that’s a critical part of an effective democracy. I understand a certain amount of misinformation is going to float, but what we have today is tragic and shameful. It muddies the waters so that no one knows what the truth is anymore. And that’s the goal.

In particular, the way this President has been treated by conservatives in this country is like a pestilence on the good spirit of this country. We should never have spent time discussing whether or not Obama was born in the US, and yet Republican Presidential candidates who spouted that canard rose to the top of Republican opinion polls. Obama isn’t a US citizen; Obama was from Kenya and faked his birth certificate; Obama is a socialist; Obama is a radical Muslim; Obama went to Afghanistan and snubbed our soldiers; Obama cost tax payers $200 million a day during a trip to India; Obama plans to confiscate our guns; Obama had “In God We Trust” removed from some gold Presidential coins; Obama traveled around the world apologizing for America; Obama was the reason for the government’s bad response to Katrina; Obamacare is a socialist government takeover of our healthcare system; Obamacare has death panels; and my favorite, Obama might be the anti-Christ. And believe it or not, there are a lot more. This, folks, is as serious as it gets. This is propaganda of the worst kind. This is why we can no longer have a useful national dialogue about anything. How can we discuss anything on a serious level with people who are thinking Obama’s planning to confiscate their guns or that Obama hates America and is part of a conspiracy to bring the country down? I don’t care if it offends people’s sensibilities to say this, but it smacks of the kind of propaganda that Joseph Goebbels used against Nazi opposition. It’s gotten out of hand and it needs to stop.

And it’s not just the lies. Seldom do you hear fellow conservatives who know better correct anyone who says this stuff. There’s no sense of principle or personal integrity. I’ve had several occasions when someone would try feeding me some line of bull about Obama and when I point out that it’s not true, and can verify it, instead of getting angry at the source of the misinformation, they get mad at me for pointing out the truth. A normal response would be to get upset with whomever it is who’s trying to get you to believe something that’s not true. I don’t like being lied to. I don’t want liberals telling me lies about Republicans. I want the truth. Always. What good is a lie? It’s as if they don’t really care if it’s true or not. The important thing is that it attacks Obama, and how does one justify an attitude like that? Instead of challenging Obama’s ideas and policies, his opposition focuses on getting people to hate him. That way it doesn’t matter what he says or does. If you hate him you’ll hate everything he does. It’s a sick kind of political ploy. And don’t say the left does the same thing. I just gave 13 examples of serious lies spread about Obama. Give me 3 examples of similar lies spread about Bush that was believed by at least 20% of liberals. Give me one example. Saying both sides do it is just another lie.

Conservatives have to stop dismissing this stuff and stop with the excuses, and start showing some integrity. Stand up for the truth. Without the truth, this country is finished.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive
 

The only hope for the Republican Party is for them to firmly stand up to or throw out their Tea Party rebels.

Young voters, minorities and women would become even further estranged if the tiny Tea Party minority retained its monkey grip over the GOP. The GOP would undoubtably lose a lot more of the swing vote at the next elections, as independents tend to be more moderate than the extreme right Tea Party candidates.

The GOP needs a real leader: one who doesn’t come from the extreme right. If Cruz is to be the next great hope for the GOP, they can count themselves out of the next round of presidential elections. Hilary Clinton would walk over him like a doormat.

Posted by LoveJoyOne | Report as abusive
 

fix both parties at once. Support a referendum vote on:
1. Term limits for congress and SCOTUS
2. Campaign finance reform
Without these two things, nothing will change in the USCA.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

tmc: I think term limits will only entrench party politics in this country. Instead of backing individuals with campaign bribes, our corrupt quid pro quo system would merely focus on directing their donation to the parties (not unlike what Mr. Salam recommends, which I don’t agree with as any kind of a solution.)

Say you’re an oil company executive who wants to see the Keystone XL pipeline go through. You’d go to party leaders and tell them, if your party will support the pipeline we’ll donate X amount of dollars, and you can divvy it up as you see fit. In addition to that, you have the revolving door problem, where politicians are offered lucrative jobs when they leave office, or directorships on corporate boards, in exchange for passing the legislation the corporations want. So little would change. Different face, same crap. In the meantime, the few good politicians, like say, Elizabeth Warren, would be forced out of office, and it’s unlikely that she’d be replaced with anyone as willing to fight for the people as much or as effectively as she.

If we had serious campaign finance reform, serious penalties for violations of campaign finance laws, and do away with gerrymandering, replacing it with a redistricting system that is fair and equitable, that would do away with the need for term limits and we could keep the good public servants around.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive
 

The GOP is being controlled by a minority, but not the one mentioned. It’s the One Percenters in the Plutocracy that completely controls the GOP going back almost forty years. Don’t be so naive as to believe that the distraction issues directed at the Idiocracy are the main issues. It’s all about keeping the wealthy, very wealthy. It’s called preservation of capital. And, let’s not think it is limited to the GOP. The Democrats, including the President of the United States, are also beholden to the Tenth of One Percent.

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive
 

Boehner doesn’t cut the big corporation refunds on taxes, he doesn’t cut the subsidy to the farm bill where the law makers get millions. Boehner only mission is to go after Obama, that has been his mission since 2008.

Posted by sammy750 | Report as abusive
 

TMC; aren’t our values universal.

I also think that my MPs and Prime Minister should have term limits too.

And I want money out of politics and government too!

Love from Singapore

Posted by PreetSG | Report as abusive
 

The article shows a clear understanding how the legislative system used to work and points out how this no longer works, but does not really address the new system at the root of the GOP’s discipline problem. The elephant in the room is the under the table money from a few ultra wealthy individuals that is utterly dominating who gets the gerrymandered seats in congress. It is also doing the similar things in many state and local races. Once you have a gerrymandered safe seat, it all boils down to the primary, and the big money can easily install a puppet candidate from the Tea Party. Very few voters contribute legitimate money to House primaries, a few billionaires often contribute massive under the table sums to their puppets. These candidates have no allegiance to the voters, the GOP leadership, or the nation.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep: (the perfect handle)
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Could any comparison between the US dollar and the Deutchmark at the end of World War II be any further off the mark? The United States dollar, the world’s reserve curreny, is now stronger than any currency in history starting from the day that Standard & Poor’s degraded its triple-A rating based on political, not economic reasoning. Oddly, the other two main credit rating agencies – Moody’s (owned by Warren Buffett) and Fitch – refused to follow this political nonsense. Meanwhile the millionaires and billionaires and soverign nations around the globe consider the dollar to be the safest, soundest investment – ever!

Maybe you’d like to return to the gold standard?

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive
 

@ptiffany,

“…the millionaires and billionaires and soverign nations around the globe consider the dollar to be the safest, soundest investment – ever!” The word is SOVEREIGN.

Your short attention span is also showing. I agree your statement is correct for this moment, but I said above: “Once all governments today squirreling away “Monopoly money” dollars of no meaningful backing start pulling them from national vaults they increasingly dilute the purchasing power of ALL dollars in actual circulation.

The scenario could well mirror the rampant inflation in the German Weimar Republic following WW I which ultimately led to Hitler’s election as Chancellor of Germany.”

My point, which remains entirely credible and valid, is that denial is historically useless as a strategy. But it’s apparent that all you have to hang your hat on.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@ptiffany,

It is America’s monetary czars who continue to run our currency printing presses 24/7 whose actions will eventually cause the dollar to fall from favor as an international currency of agreed value.

If the woodsman steadily chops away at the roots of the oldest, biggest and most substantial tree in the forest, for a long time nothing changes. But the clock is ticking, counting down to the moment the slightest breeze can bring the mightiest redwood down.

Do you really think it matters, one way or the other, who is looking…before, during or after?

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

If those twits really want to shut down the government and the world economy maybe they should just wait until the next time they control both the executive and legislative branches like they did the first six years of Dubya’s reign of error, eh?

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

Muttonhead seems to lack any real understanding of why Weimar Germany’s currency was in such an inflationary spiral. Along with recognizing that influence is precisely why all these plutocrats “donate” so much money to politicians and the need for more objective district drawing, I would add a broader definition of bribery, one that doesn’t require a specific quid or quo, just the expectation or granting of access beyond that any ordinary citizen gets. Once you let the plutocrats think they can buy anything with their money, you’ve lost the democratic republican form of government we were given by the drafters of the Constitution. And if you really want to return to the gold standard, think first of who has all the gold.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

@boringjumble,

The “…why Weimer Germany’s currency was in such an inflationary spiral…” remains irrelevant since the comparison was to results and not cause.

Any “wisdom” as to the cause is most conspicuous by it’s absence!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

The GOP does not have a discipline problem. The GOP has a relevance problem. According to the Pew Research Center (and the GOP itself in strategy meetings), new voters are choosing the Democratic party 2:1 over the GOP. Market share among new voters has fallen off 60% for the GOP since Reagan’s time. This while the older voters continue to die off daily. The republican party is becoming the new AOL, and still bickering with themselves about the logo. Their decline is largely because the GOP panders to discriminatory, fear-based and religious interests. Long run, that’s a losing game because you can only exclude so many people for so long. So they opened the tent to the loonies, and that got them nowhere either. Unless Ted Cruz is…. the new somewhere.

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive
 

It’s not a matter of discipline. The dissenting House members represent dissenting constituents. There is a large rift in the Republican party as there is in the nation at this time.

Also, I have to second “tmc” :
1. Term limits.
2. Campaign finance limits.

Posted by bigerbadertommy | Report as abusive
 

As an outsider, I always find it srange reading these comments about overspending on entitlements, welfare, healthcare and the like, and how these should be cut back as they’re bankrupting America.

How come the military is never mentioned? Is the military considered a better investment in the economy than health and welfare spending? Are the gargantuan sums the US spends on its military considered sensible, but the amount spent on health and welfare considered a waste?

Posted by K.MacKenzie | Report as abusive
 

America’s military is as necessary as a nation’s police, insurance of survival in a world full of wannabee predators. It provides a very large number of good paying jobs and a continuous contribution of technology that improves civilian lives over the globe.

For the most part, America’s uneducated, unmotivated, unskilled and uncivil poor provide only problems in our schools, unrest on our streets, urine, feces and more of themselves; and yet they breed at a rate that would make a rabbit blush to increase in number faster than we can build prisons.

You figure it out.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

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