GOP establishment circles the wagons

  • 28 April 2015
  • NormanL

Out on the campaign trail, Republican contenders like Sen. Ted Cruz are calling for the abolition of the IRS. Senator Rand Paul wants congressional term limits and would junk the Patriot Act. How are such ideas going over with the republicans">Republicans in congress">Congress? Not well at all:


Freed from the need to build coalitions to pass legislation, Paul and fellow GOP senators Cruz and Rubio are unleashing an arsenal of crowd-pleasing conservative proposals along the campaign trail. Some, like calls to abolish entire federal departments, are staples of GOP presidential campaigns going back decades that have never come to fruition. Others are of more recent vintage, such as scrapping the post-9/11 Patriot Act.


The cool reception is a stark reminder of the gulf between presidential campaigns and a Congress designed to frustrate the will of any president. The proposals are being written off as wrongheaded or unrealistic not only by democrats">Democrats but by Republicans.


We get it: a seven term Senator like Orrin Hatch doesn't like term limits. John McCain thinks ending the IRS is an old joke. Lamar Alexander says ideas to radically change the culture in Washington, DC just won't fly once the campaign is over.


Do you see a pattern here? The establishment likes working within its comfortable confines -- new ideas need not apply. And there's even a presidential candidate for those who agree with this thinking:


“After Obama, where he’d say anything — ‘If you like your health care, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep it’ — we shouldn’t be saying things that are not practical,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will likely mount a presidential run himself. “After Obama, our party shouldn’t be saying things just because they are nice to hear."


There is a nugget of truth here: politicians should not promise the moon and stars simply to get elected (though they have done just that for as long as there have been elections). 


But campaigns are also supposed to be aspirational. If all candidates talk about is what is practical, the result is...more of the same of what we have now.


And who really thinks the government we have now -- riddle with cronyism, intent on spying on us, dismissive of the constitution">constitution">Constitution, saddled with debt -- is the best we can possibly hope for?


The folks who are in charge now.