What happens when the Republicans win?

Republican prospects for winning big in the November congressional election, though slightly dampened by the nomination of some extreme Tea Party candidates, look good.

I predicted in January of this year that Democratic losses would not be significantly above average midterm losses for first-term presidents. Now, that prediction looks, to say the least, optimistic.

According to election forecaster Nate Silver, whose estimates synthesize fundraising, multiple polls, and historical trends, there is nearly a two in three chance that the Republicans will take control of the House. Until the nomination of an extreme Tea Partier in Delaware last week, there was even a one in four chance that conservatives would take the Senate.

So, it’s a good time to ask: what happens when Republicans win in November?

Frankly, I’m worried. Conservative opposition to President Obama has surpassed even the level of pure hatred displayed by liberals in 2006 and 2007 towards President Bush at the height of the Iraq War.

From accusations of socialism, to insinuations that Obama has lied about his religion, to the laughably ridiculous “Kenyan, anti-colonial” view that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes the President holds, there is just something about the President that an extremely vocal segment of conservatives absolutely hate.

We’ve seen this uncontrollable rage exhibited in many ways, but perhaps the most pernicious is the unprecedented level of obstruction by congressional Republicans. Using arcane congressional mechanisms, the GOP has managed to delay, weaken, and block Democratic attempts at progress.

Hundreds of critical government positions have not been filled because of conservative “secret holds”, stacks of bills have been blocked by the filibuster (a maneuver that is not in the Constitution and that was not common until the Republicans were forced into the minority in 2006), and countless hours have been wasted.

If these obstructionists control the House, will anything get done? The question is no exaggeration. Some Republicans have recently spoken of a government shutdown if they take power in November.

The worst part is that we’ve seen this movie before, and yet we are still barreling towards a sequel. After Republicans won in a landslide in 1994 midterm elections, Newt Gingrich duked it out with President Clinton for years in ferociously partisan debates.

There actually was a government shutdown. The Republican-controlled House spent 140 hours taking sworn testimony over whether the President had misused the White House Christmas card list. The Clintons were accused of complicity in the death of a deputy.

We can expect more of this insanity if Democrats lose the House. According to Glenn Thrush of Politico.com, if Republicans take power, they plan a “wave of committee investigations” into manufactured controversies like those we saw in the ‘90s.

Finally: what is it exactly that the Republicans have to offer?

They have yet to present any new policy, any alternative to Obama and the Democrats. In 1994, the GOP presented its “Contract with America”, which explained what the party would do with its newfound power. The policies of today’s Republican Party can be summed up in one word: “No.”

No to the President’s agenda. No new regulations to prevent a new financial crisis. No legislation to prevent climate change. No aid for the chronically unemployed. No aid to cash-strapped states and school districts. No progress.

Is this really what America wants?

18 Comments

  • no aid to the chronically unemployed? How about no aid to Obama's aunti. Maybe we can give her aid to a war vet who actually deserves it.

  • avatar Anon Y. Mous

    Keep telling it like it is. Good stuff.

  • Great Job Basil. The Republicans need to stop saying, "No" and think about others for a change.

  • avatar dis a pointed

    democrats need to start thinking about what the people really want and stop telling us what is good for us. this president is not the great leader that his hope and change promised. all of us will be paying for his out of control spending for a long time.

  • avatar hank wimbledon

    i beleive when you said 1194 you meant 1994

  • avatar disagree

    i disagree with this whole article. okay i see your a democrat… but there is no reason to put down the republicans. obama is so low in polls its ridiculous.

    • There's no reason to put down the Republicans? How about the three big reasons I went through in the article above?

      1. The current cadre of Republicans in Washington is vehemently obstructionist
      2. With Republicans in control of one or both houses of Congress, we will likely see a return to the frivolous partisan investigations and bickering of the 1990s – *as many Republican politicians themselves have called for*
      3. The Republicans have not offered up any new policy ideas (and, until today, no ideas at all).

      This is my reasoning to "put down the republicans," as you put it. Which of the above three points is incorrect?

      • I mean yes they are obstructing… Obstructing the horrible plans put out by Obama. Would you prefer they just agreed with everything he said for the sake of not "obstructing"?

        • First of all, you didn't respond to my 2nd and 3rd points.

          Second, while yes they are obstructing "the horrible plans put out by Obama", they are not obstructing his policies via the normal 51 vote block – they are using rarely-used congressional procedures to do in anything and everything to block pretty much every single piece of legislation.

          Third, the GOP congressional delegation is not just blocking the Obama agenda: they're blocking anything they can get their hands on.
          *They are blocking votes on nominees for federal position (that, once they finally get a vote, usually are approved 100-0) until the congressional leadership agrees to fund their particular earmark
          *They are blocking funding for veterans benefits (so much for supporting the military eh?)
          *etc.

          The point is that they're not just blocking health care reform, financial reform, and climate change legislation – they are blocking every single thing that will slow down the legislative process and make life more difficult for President Obama.

      • Congress itself is designed to be obstructionist. The majority party, in the case of the House, is able to get whatever bill they see fit to the floor, and block any bill they don't agree with. So the reason there are no policy ideas coming from Republicans can be attributed to the fact that the Democrats will not allow a Republican bill to reach the floor of the House of Representatives.

        In the Senate, the filibuster is used when the minority wants to make themselves heard and keep a bill they do not agree with to be voted on. The filibuster and the 3/5ths majority are both rules that ensure that policy is not made by just a simple majority.

        I have a couple of points to make about your mention of the filibuster in the article:
        1) There is nothing in the Constitution that talks about how Congress should operate, except for mentioning that bills having to do with monetary issues have to begin in the House. Every rule that makes up the lawmaking process is decided by Congress for themselves.
        2) You mentioned that the filibuster was not common until the Republicans became the minority in 2006, however the filibuster has been used throughout history to block legislation. For example, when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went to the Senate there was a 54 day filibuster enacted by southern Democrats

        This was a very interesting article to read, but it did seem a little one-sided.

  • I dont understand why you feel the need to support an oppressive government as rabidly as you do, all of your points revolve around how self determination is a plague and that socialism is the way of the future, our founding fathers would be disgusted, before you write another report, think long and hard about how the values this country was built on

  • avatar the original

    yet democrats are so smart because they like healthcare? healthcare would RUIN our country. obama is already ruining our country, it's way worse then it was when Bush was in office. step off your high horse and see through the eyes of an average american. can you believe that about 13% of this country is now on food stamps? this is what our great democratic president has done to us.

    • avatar Teacher K

      "healthcare would RUIN our country"???? Is this for real? or is this person privileged and have never had to struggle a day in their life? There are regular people out here who are sick and looking for a way they can afford proper healthcare for them or their child. I suppose you'd spit on homeless people too, huh.
      Basil, thank you for telling the truth. I wish people would be a little more concerned about others who are suffering and less about their greed and selfishness.

      • avatar a student

        uh hello, have you been to Children's Hospital????? WIC…FOODSTAMPS..HOUSING… EDUCATION…HELLO????This country takes care of all of it's poor and underpriviledged, especially in Massachusetts and NH…Healthcare is going to be a disaster, and most of those that have looked into it know it . You ask is the person priviledged and never had to struggle a day in their life? Are you serious? The people that work and have jobs , that pull the cart,pay for all those that sit in the cart…Tipping point(Gladwell) comes when there are more people sitting in the wagon the pulling.Spit on homeless people? You are a teacher? Why don't you do some research and do some demographics checking on entitlements and subsidies that are given to the poor and homeless. And our country was founded on self interest and determination, Communism is a failed experiment, but you may disagree. Anyone with awareness , that grew up in a family with more than one sibling, knows there are givers and takers, there is imbalance and injustice. Of all the governments that take into account the strengths and weaknesses of human nature, I would say a democratic republic, founded on liberty and self interest, with moral accountabilty, would serve the people best. Our drastic move to Socialism under the current administration will not serve the people you claim to care about well, unless you do not believe in upward mobility, opportunity, and self determination. Perhaps you like Greece's current welfare state?
        You are not a history teacher I hope?

    • YOU are my HERO original!!! They want everyone on foodstamps…now to ask why.
      Many democrats are elitists, it is terrifying, but Americans are beginning to realize what a huge mistake they made electing someone they had no idea about just so they could feel good about their country…how good do they feel now?

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