TL;DR: Mitch McConnell feels threatened by principled conservatives and feels that they’re ruining the “Republican brand” by challenging him and other establishment Republicans. But really, the “Republican brand” is in shambles, and it’s time to re-define that brand to return to small-government principles.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t a happy camper these days. He’s locked in both a contentious primary and general election fight, losing rule battles against his Democratic counterpart, and has to contend with some members of his own party who are constantly willing to stand on principle, rather than the party line.
The rise of the Tea Party movement and conservative organizations have created havoc for McConnell and Republican leadership in the chamber, who enjoyed mostly distant rumblings from the political right in the past. But over the last few months, there has been a tiff between the Kentucky Republican and the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) that has now boiled over into the public.
Despite voting heavily for him in 2008 and 2012, Millennials — voters between the ages of 18 and 29 — have increasingly become disenfranchised with President Obama. This began early in the summer with the coverage of the NSA’s domestic surveillance and has worsened thanks to the disastrous Obamacare rollout.
But slide, it seems, is much worse than most standard surveys have shown. Ron Fournier of the National Journal broke down the results of a recent Harvard University poll which found that not only do Millennials disapprove of President Obama, but 52% would vote to recall him (emphasis added):
Obama’s approval rating among young Americans is just 41 percent, down 11 points from a year ago, and now tracking with all adults. While 55 percent said they voted for Obama in 2012, only 46 percent said they would do so again.
When asked if they could choose to recall various elected officials, 45 percent of all Millennials said they would oust their member of Congress, 52 percent replied “all members of Congress,” and 47 percent said they would recall Obama. The recall-Obama figure was even higher among the youngest Millennials, ages 18-24, at 52 percent.
While there is no provision for a public recall of U.S. presidents, the poll question revealed just how far Obama has fallen in the eyes of young Americans.
Uhhhh. President Obama, call your office because…wow.
The Quinnipiac University poll brought bad news virtually across the board for President Barack Obama. But three particular parts of the poll relating to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 deserves discussion.
The poll found that voters overwhelmingly disapprove of President Obama’s handling of healthcare by a 24-point margin, at 36/60. The age demographic breakdown shows a 16-point divide in his approval rating among young people, at 40/56:
It’s the lowest of the four age demographics, but still very important.
When Quinnipiac asked voters who they trust to do a better job on the healthcare issue, President Obama or Republicans in Congress, voters gave a very slight edge to the GOP. It’s the first the Republicans have had an advantage of any kind on healthcare, according to the firm.
Holding any edge over President Obama on the healthcare issue, no matter how small, is important because he has staked his legacy on the issue. But the most interesting part is, yet again, the demographics. young people gave a 5-point edge to Republicans:
Over the weekend, Capitol Hill was aflutter with news that Republicans in the House and Senate were coming together to finally propose a “fix” to Obamacare. The “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” sponsored by Fred Upton in the House and Ron Johnson in the Senate, would essentially overrule the HHS grandfather rules for what insurance plans can continue to exist after certain dates so that people can keep their current plans no matter what, as the President promised. It would be a fix for the millions of Americans being cancelled by their insurers to comply with the new regulations.
Reporters and pundits saw this as a “shift” in strategy, to finally start working with Democrats to reform the calamitous reform rather than stonewall it. I used to think that helpful collaboration would be the better option, but had a change of heart after the implementation proved so disastrous. So I was horrified when I read the headline suggesting Republicans were coming around. As soon as I decide that stonewalling is the best strategy, the party reverses course. Typical! Then I read the story.
Now that the anti-Obamacare defund “strategy” (such as it was) has been tried and failed, many on the right are suggesting we get out of the way and let it be implemented in full, on time, as written, so that it can be allowed to fail on its own. The theory is that when it doesn’t work, runs out of money, and breaks the insurance system, the public will demand its repeal just in time for a Republican president to be elected in 2016 and do just that. This, like “repeal and replace” and defund before it, is an unwise and short-sighted strategy.
What precedent is there for a government program, especially an entitlement, failing and just ending? Social Security is out of money, but no one will touch it. Medicare is out of money, Obamacare cut doctor payments rates under it, but no one will dare to truly reform it. Welfare was reformed, not ended or repealed, in the 1990s. Food stamps have exploded. Medicaid doesn’t work either, but was expanded under Obamacare. But we somehow think that if Obamacare runs out of money or doesn’t work as well as it was intended, it will just go away, unlike every other program ever?
At the time of this writing, there seems to be some movement on the “government “shutdown” (the shutdown in which 83% of government continues to operate), mainly in the form of Republicans regrouping yet again to come up with yet another offer for Obama, every one of which he has thus far rejected, demanding the GOP unilaterally surrender before he will he “talk” with Republicans about issues concerning them, like a monstrous and growing national debt, entitlement spending which pushes America into bankruptcy, and Obamacare, which has been disastrous (to use CBS News’ description) and which is killing jobs and raising health insurance costs drastically.
Why would Republicans continue to negotiate against themselves, when it is Republicans who have fulfilled their constitutional obligations by passing four major appropriations bills and a dozen or so “mini-CR’s” (smaller Continuing Resolutions to fund every operation of government except Obamacare)? That would be because Obama and his media lapdogs continue to spin this as a “Republican” shutdown, regardless of the fact that it is the Democrat-controlled Senate which has refused to vote on these bills, demanding House Republicans pass a single, massive bill to fund ALL of government, including Obamacare.
With Republicans negotiating against themselves so often in trying to find an offer Obama would accept, it might make one wonder why we are still at an impasse, and why Obama still refuses to negotiate with them at all. In order to understand that, you first have to understand that Obama, all the way back to his pot-smoking college days, has been a disciple of leftist radical Saul Alinksy, who wrote the guidebook for other leftist radicals hell bent on destroying the social order.
As has become an increasingly frequent occurrence of late, it seems Obama, the supposed political genius, has once again misplayed his hand. Emboldened by the knowledge that he has an army of uninformed voters supporting him, and a compliant and sycophantic media spinning and deflecting any bad news that might harm him, Obama had little worry that he would win the Battle of the Continuing Resolution. After all, time after time, Republicans have been terrified of standing firm on principle, fearing voter backlash as Obama, the Democrats, and the media successfully painted them as racist, obstructionist, greedy, and heartless.
Until an odd thing happened; despite leadership’s attempts to give in to Obama’s every demand, rank and file House Republicans, and even a few in the Senate, defied their leadership and welcomed a battle over Obama’s latest red line; namely, the budget. Now, as happened with his Syrian red line, Obama has an unexpected fight on his hands, and rather than the thoughtful, deliberative actions of a man who stands on the moral high ground, Obama has revealed himself as a petty, vindictive tyrant, desperate to maintain the illusion that Big Government is essential to our lives.
However, like with the sequester, it seems that the only people who’ve noticed that the government is shut down is the political class, the media, and the 800,000 or so “non-essential” federal employees that are now sitting at home (including 1,265 White House staffers!).
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the strange new debate between conservatives over what they call themselves relative to which side they come down on the Ted Cruz “defund Obamacare” effort is just that it’s gotten contentious at all.
But it certainly has:
Corker, a Tennessee Republican, accused Cruz and fellow conservative Tea Party-backed Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah of not wanting to vote on legislation on Thursday night because they wished to maximize their public exposure on Friday.
They “have sent out emails around the world and turned this into a show possibly, and therefore they want people around the world to watch maybe them and others on the Senate floor,” Corker said on the Senate floor.
“That is taking priority over getting legislation back to the House so they can take action before the country’s government shuts down,” Corker said.
And Corker, of course, is just the latest among Republican Party legislators to bristle at what they consider a display of hubris and spotlight-seeking by new conservatives in the Senate like Utah’s Mike Lee and the aforementioned Cruz of Texas. As The intellectual contortions seemed painful…:
What used to be a value even to the Democratic Party has now become a forgotten lesson: it’s impossible to control the economy by decree.
According to President Barack Obama, he is perfectly capable to, as a president, fight income inequality and actually stop it. Leaving things alone, President Obama said during ABC’s Sunday “This Week” program, can “accelerate these trends (growing income inequality).” The President was also quick to note that technology, globalization and the GOP’s opposition to his personal agenda are all responsible for the growing income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans.
For Obama, the government must intervene in the economy during the recovery in order to promote income equality and ensure the poorest among us have an easier time climbing the income ladder. The President highlighted his goals, which include increase funding for research, education and infrastructure. He also reported to be interested in reforming the tax code in order to keep companies from leaving the country.
According to new survey data from Pew, a plurality of self-identified Republicans oppose bombing Syria to help we-don’t-really-know-who. Across partisan divides, respondents overwhelmingly believe that a U.S. military intervention would elicit significant blowback, and would likely lead to an actual war (as opposed to a strategic, surgical bombing campaign to even the score for the rebels fighting Assad’s regime):
Three-quarters (74%) believe that U.S. airstrikes in Syria are likely to create a backlash against the United States and its allies in the region and 61% think it would be likely to lead to a long-term U.S. military commitment there. Meanwhile, just 33% believe airstrikes are likely to be effective in discouraging the use of chemical weapons; roughly half (51%) think they are not likely to achieve this goal.
Read the full report here (PDF).