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Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:32 PM

Why G.O.P. Extremists Are a Danger to the Country


Why G.O.P. Extremists Are a Danger to the Country
Posted by John Cassidy


By year’s end, Obama and Boehner will almost certainly reach a deal—a fact reflected in the muted reaction on Wall Street to the failure of Plan B. At noon on Friday, the Dow was down a hundred and fifty points, or a bit more than one per cent. If investors really believed that the economy was heading over the fiscal cliff, the fall would have been much bigger. A trickier issue is whether an Obama-Boehner agreement would pass the House. With the support of the Democrats (who would have opposed Plan B) it probably would. The Republican majority is just fifty. If Boehner could garner, say, a hundred loyalists out of the two-hundred-and-forty Republican members, which even now seems possible, the agreement would pass comfortably.

The bigger issue is what the Republican obstructionism means for the next four years and beyond. There is no reason to suppose that the newly-elected House of Representatives will be any more moderate than the current one. President Obama pointed out in his press conference the other day that most G.O.P. congressman now hail from districts where he lost heavily. Such Republicans have little incentive to coöperate with the White House. The only potential challenge they face is from the Tea Party right—in the form of a potential primary battle in 2014.

To say that this doesn’t augur well for the prospects of bipartisan agreements on issues such as gun control, immigration, and tax reform is to lapse into understatement. Many of the congressmen involved in the effort to embarrass Boehner—such as Jim Jordan, the current head of the Republican Study Group, which represents over half of the G.O.P., and Steve Scalise, his successor in the new Congress—see themselves as on a mission. To heck with President Obama’s victory in November. In their minds, their reëlection to Congress gave them a mandate to uphold ultra-conservative positions, especially on those issues that bind together the conservative movement: guns, God, and taxes. Refusing to vote for a tax-raising bill, even one that would have come with many, many goodies attached for the rich, was the first step in carrying out this mission.

Fortunately, the Bush Administration’s decision back in 2001 to sunset its tax cuts robs the conservatives of leverage on this issue. Even if they were to burn Boehner at the stake, taxes on the wealthy would go up on January 1st, with or without a bipartisan agreement. But on issues like gun control, immigration, entitlement reform, and global warming—where the onus is on the reformers—the ultras may well be able to wield a veto, which would mean another two years, at least, of gridlock. With the United States facing grave problems that need addressing, that’s not good for any us.

During the past month and a half, I and many others have been thoroughly enjoying the sight of the Republican Party wriggling like an earthworm with a pin through it’s middle. But let’s not kid ourselves. The G.O.P. rabble in the House isn’t just a threat to Boehner, or whichever unfortunate soul might eventually succeed him as Speaker. It’s a danger to the country.

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Reply Why G.O.P. Extremists Are a Danger to the Country (Original post)
babylonsister Dec 2012 OP
Stuart G Dec 2012 #1

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:50 PM

1. I don't think the that most of the GOP members give a damn about this country...nt

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