Back in 2008, I thought the modern republican party was dead. They had gone as far right as they could possibly go and remain a mainstream viable party. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Good times, good time. I was so naive then.
See, what I didn’t realize is that they could go further to the right with a brand new political technique called unabashed lying. Sure, lying in politics far predates our founding fathers, but nobody had actually made it an official platform before. And worse, the American people have lapped it up.
Of course, it’s easy to yell insults from the cheap seats, and I think the GOP was genuinely surprised when it won in 2016 and realized, “oh crap, we actually have to make these lies into policy.”
The koolaid drinkers in the Freedom Caucus of course see no hypocrisy. They can’t understand why not everyone wants to give billionaires a tax cut and sell it as job creation. But the cooler heads in the leadership and Senate actually have to deal with the reality of their policies.
And so it is not without a small amount of curiosity that I look toward what republicans will actually do with power. I often wondered if the best way to defeat the republican lies is just by letting them have the keys and letting the country watch them wreck the car. Short term pain, long term gain? Or would they actually govern responsibly. They’ve backed themselves into an awful corner with their rhetoric.
And with only a short time left to pass legislation on a simple majority vote, the pressure is on to deliver SOMETHING.
And now we’re starting to see how they might confront reality, and so far it is taking 3 forms.
- Fuck you
- LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU BLAM!!!!
- The Apple method
1) The Fuck You method, is basically what’s happening on regulation and the environment. They’re trying to get as much of this out of the way as early as possible to put distance between these indefensible votes and the midterm elections. Votes like allowing oil companies to drill under your land without permission. Ok, I might have made that up, but you probably wouldn’t know without checking first.
2) LALALALALA BLAM!!! This is the current approach to healthcare. The objective is to move as fast as possible to avoid anyone accidentally running into any reality based arguments and just passing something plausibly “republican”. They’ll deal with the cleanup later. The justification on this appears to be something along the lines of “we just gave the states back control of their healthcare systems. If they screw it up, it’s their fault. I mean states rights.”
The problem is that the states don’t really have the same power to fund fixing their healthcare. How many medical device manufacturers would leave the state if they were to impose the Obamacare device tax? It’s not like North Dakota can tax a Boston biotech. But republicans know they have to pass SOMETHING on Obamacare and this has enough plausible deniability for the sure to come fallout that they can duck and cover.
3) The Apple Method. This is how Steve Jobs would stand up and get his audience to ooh and aaah and applaud and whistle over adding a feature that competitors have had for years. As an aside, I think it weakens the hype when Apple truly does something revolutionary, as it occasionally does, but I digress.
This appears to be a potential option for republicans on tax reform. See, you can’t cut taxes when taxes are already pretty low and expect revenues to rise. The Laffer Curve is a tried and true republican prop, but it’s also as laughable as when Bush tried to use it in 2001. What’s worse is that most of the GOP proposals would primarily benefit the rich and corporations. And if you didn’t notice the last election, voters are gettin KINDA touchy about the system being rigged.
So maybe they’ll just pass an innocent old middle class tax cut instead. They’ll get a feather in their cap, and only increase the deficit by 70 billion a year or so. That’s only another 15% or so on the current deficit, so maybe they’ll just stomach it and try to claim it will grow the economy.
What I’m really curious about is which of these 3 approaches they’ll do for the debt ceiling. I suppose, shock of all shocks, that they could choose a fourth option of “doing the right thing” but I’m not hopeful. I think it’s quite hilarious to see them control all 3 branches of government and then complain that they have to hold our credit and credibility hostage so they can cut spending. If you don’t want to borrow the money, don’t spend the money! But aside from that it’s, you know, economic suicide. I’m betting they go with door #3.