Following the unregulated free market logic that has spiraled the country into our current economic morass, the Republican Party, especially those in the House of Representatives, have taken a page from the corporate world. They have decided to downsize, and it appears that the execs at GOP, Inc. are expecting the downsize to be permanent. The logic here seems to be that it is better to have a smaller, more efficient body of ideologues, that can be held in line, in order to toe the line. This will guarantee that the rhetoric from GOP Inc., its most important product line, will remain as pure as the first snows of winter. After all, Republicans are principled folks, unlike Democrats and Obamanites who are willing to be “pragmatic.”
The unprecedented scope of their business plan has only become apparent in the last few days. The Republican execs in the House of Representatives, Boehner’s band of boys, have been especially aggressive in supporting it. A recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll has shown overwhelming support for the President’s stimulus package, yet not one Republican in the House voted for the President’s package.
Would you support or oppose new federal spending of about 800 billion dollars on tax cuts, construction projects, energy, education, and health care to try to stimulate the economy?
- 70% Support
And Nate Silver reports on January 29, 2009, the following on FiveThirtyEight:
It’s not just the goose egg that the House Republicans laid on the Democratic stimulus package yesterday: Boehner’s Boys have been equally uncooperative on other matters. Case in point: a bill yesterday to delay the transition to digital TV. This measure was approved unanimously by the Senate; every Senate Republican gave it the green light. But 155 out of 178 House Republicans voted against it, which resulted in the measure’s defeat since a two-thirds majority would have been required for passage under the House’s suspension of the rules.
Or, take the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a seemingly fairly popular/populist (if not inscrutable) piece of legislation on gender-based pay discrepancies. This was something that Barack Obama whacked John McCain on on the campaign trail, with McCain offering little rebuttal. In the Senate, five Republicans — out of 41 — voted with the Administration on Ledbetter, including all four Republican women. In the House, just three Republicans did — out of 178.
There may be a few retrograde Republicans in the Senate not fully with the downsizing program. But one has to understand that the House represents the life blood of the Party. They are the elected Republicans closest to the forces of production, those that produce the largest quantities of grade A ideology. So, unless there is an unexpected upheaval at the top of GOP, Inc., expect the downsizing to continue. (The proposed new motto for the new GOP: Change through Ideological Purity.) There have even been rumors that GOP, Inc. would rather go bankrupt than compromise its principles. (Unnamed sources suggest that bankruptcy filings can be expected any day now. Stay tuned.)
(Image from The Boston Phoenix)
UPDATE: August 26, 2010. Well, it looks like I must have been terribly wrong about this from what appears to be a Republican resurgence. As of today, the Republicans look like they may win back the House this November. They have been temporarily saved by the bad economy and the mid-term election pattern of voters turning against the incumbent party. However, I would still argue that in the long term Republicans will be forced to downsize if they decide to stick with ideological purity. They don’t have any answers to the economic mess that we are in. (Just look at the how dependent they are on the “magic” bullet of lowering taxes, which helped bury us during the Bush years.) Once people realize this, and understand how much of the Party is under the sway of right wing ideologues, the Republicans will indeed have to consider downsizing. (And then there are the demographics that are against them. But this would be another blog.)