Politics as we have known them in this country are shifting significantly. New coalitions are in the process of being built. It’s an exciting time.
Since Obama was elected we have heard over and over that the Republican Party is the party of old white guys who’d soon be dead and that there wasn’t any hope for the demographically challenged elephant parade. (What one calls a group of elephants. Just found out.) Then Tuesday happened and like that even NPR is wondering what is wrong with the Democrats and where the GOP found all its mojo. The GOP is reborn Hallelujah!
A new GOP may be being birthed not reborn. This election was the first without unrelenting neocon overtones from the Republicans of my adult life. It is also the first election where Republicans seemed not to be looking back to the days of Reagan but toward a new and different future. It was the first election where the GOP did a halfway decent job of reaching out to non-white voters. (They need to do much much better still.) It was also the first election where at least some of the GOP began talking about how government has been gamed for the benefit of corporations and other large interests to the detriment of small and midsized business and the middle class. Though it was the GOP leadership which ultimately kept the Export-Import Bank alive the big boosters we prominent Dems, Bill Clinton, Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters, etc. The only people on The Hill calling for Boeing’s Bank’s death were Republicans. The obvious corporatists were the Democrats. (In this instance.)
Voters felt a shift in the political ether. Mix in a president who seems perpetually out to lunch when he isn’t being outright antagonistic. Add a Democratic congressional leadership which suddenly looked hopelessly behind the times and one has a recipe for significant political change.
And who would be a good presidential nominee for the GOP? Well, either Jeb Bush or his son Jon Huntsman Jr. of course. Sr. also likes Hilary Clinton who he says would make a “fine president.”
Let’s get one thing straight from the outset. The Republicans winning big yesterday was not necessarily a win in the fight against crony capitalism. It is a mixed bag at best. Sure Harry Reid, a consummate crony capitalist was kicked out of majority leadership, but we got Mitch McConnell in his place who is more than happy to boondoggle when it suits him.
Sadly The Hill reports that one of the first things on McConnell’s agenda is the reintroduction of CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a terrible piece of legislation which (among other things) gives immunity to Internet companies which give your information over to the government. The government may soon be able to troll through your browsing history (legally) without a warrant with help from your ISP. Not exactly progress on the freedom front.
It is also very unlikely that the Ex-Im Bank will be defunded. Something which would appear to be a no-brainer for a Republican Party really interested in reducing the size and scope of government.
And don’t forget that there’s a war on – again – in the Middle East. Increased funding for the military and for military contractors is very likely. Again, not exactly what a small government party would do.
In many ways last night was a win for the establishment GOP, the generally large government, corporate inclined GOP.
But it’s not all grumbles.
And guess what? The Republicans had a chance to vote on a repeal of the “risk corridor” bailout for the giant insurance companies but House leadership, Boehner, didn’t let the repeal come up for a vote. It likely would have been killed in the Senate if the measure passed, but now we’ll never know. The potential bailout would have at least gotten some attention.
I’ll say this for the Democrats when it comes to corruption. They don’t really hide it. Everyone knows that the Dem machines in the Northeast and on the West Coast are full of union winks and nods. Everyone knows that it’s pay to play in New York, Chicago, Boston, and California. It’s understood and in many ways accepted.
But the Republicans have long acted like they were above this. That indeed the Republican Party was and is the party of good governance, of the suburbs, and middle class accountability. This was the spirit of Reagan for instance.
In the attached article Glenn Reynolds examines the new, increasingly stratified America.
In fairness Romney is probably not fully involved at this point. The establishment Republicans are seeking desperately to find a candidate which keeps the current GOP power structure in place.