As incredible as it may sound, both major political parties have decided to throw in the towel on the 2014 elections. Both parties made their announcements true to their traditions. The Democrats did it in their typically coy way, having their plutocrat masters hint that no money would be forthcoming for House races. The Republicans did it by calling their base racist and telling it to DIAF (or FOAD depending on which member of the House leadership you talked to.) While the Democrats at least have the stated objective of retaining the Senate, the GOP seems to have set out to prove you can lose an election when your opponent has conceded defeat months in advance.
What the GOP has done is take two issues: Obamacare (a proven winner) and immigration (a proven loser) and decided to totally mismanage the winning issue and run on the losing one.
Obamacare is not only unpopular and ineffective people but it has been so pathetically managed by the administration, so full of pork and cronyism and wishful thinking, that it really can’t be fixed. The numbers hating Obamacare continue to grow and they are doing this without — or perhaps because — the GOP doing anything. Unfortunately, we have a substantial cadre of Republicans, mostly in the Senate minority but also acting as dingleberries in the House leadership, who have convinced themselves that they are CALLED BY THE GREAT JEHOVAH TO GOVERN. Pardon the caps the I can’t emphasize that enough. They seem to have forgotten that they are called the opposition party for a reason and when the other guys own the executive branch and the Senate you don’t govern diddly squat. You try to slow down the train to socialism. I’ve written about this before (here) and again when Paul Ryan’s hubris led him to trade away real budget cuts for a photo-op with Patty Murray and cuts to military retirement.
On Monday, three GOP senators, Burr, Hatch, and Coburn, decided that as minority senators they couldn’t pass a health plan of their own but they could totally **** up the chances of anyone running against Obamacare by saddling them with the Burr-Hatch-Coburn version of Obamacare.
People are not going to the polls to vote on your plan, which will never see the light of day. They will go to the polls based on their experience with Obamacare and the experience of their friends and neighbors. By offering an alternative you’ve given every vulnerable Democrat a pinata to whack. Not helpful. Not useful. Not productive.
Then yesterday we had the House GOP announce it would push immigration reform (this is not an analysis of the bill, for a more complete take on it visit the post by my colleague Daniel Horowitz). This is a sure loser for the GOP so long as we try to be the party that believes the nation should a) have some modicum of control over its borders and b) that the rule of law is important. The House GOP leadership jettisoned both of these requirements yesterday and adopted a plan that is virtually indistinguishable from the Senate Democrats plan.
All polls show that no one outside the Congressional big brain guys cares about this issue. Commonsense tells you that trying to develop a plan that will satisfy the lions share of the party base — which tends to view illegal aliens as, well, illegal aliens — and pander to enough Hispanics to move that electoral needle in a favorable direction probably doesn’t exist. All the “principles” announced by the House GOP leadership do is reprise the experience we had with every immigration bill since 1965: illegals are legalized (and become Democrats), because of the legalization more illegals are incentivized, and happy talk is given to border security which is promptly undermined by the US Chamber of Commerce, K Street lobbyists, and their bag men.
Every “Dreamer” who becomes a citizen makes his family permanent residents because we aren’t going to deport his illegal mother and father and non-“Dreamer” siblings. Plus when he becomes a citizen he gains the right to have his family reunified in the US.
If the President decides not to enforce the immigration laws of the nation, which is the current situation, then there is nothing Congress can do about that short of impeachment.
So we are in a unique moment in American history. We stand on the threshold of an election which will probably make 2010 look like a minor chastisement of the Democrats. Not only is the House majority secure but significant gains are possible. The Senate becoming Republican looks very much like a done deal. Rather than hammering the administration on its incompetence and criminality, the GOP has elected to give the Democrats an escape hatch on Obamacare and to carry out a bloody civil war over immigration.
We are led by buffoons. We deserve to lose.