Blog No. 107. Trump in August: Notes From the Traveling Asylum

An article in the Washington Post on Thursday summed up the current mood in the Republican Party:

Turmoil in the Republican Party escalated Wednesday as party leaders, strategists and donors voiced increased alarm about the flailing state of Donald Trump’s candidacy and fears that the presidential nominee was damaging the party with an extraordinary week of self-inflicted mistakes, gratuitous attacks and missed opportunities.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was described as “very frustrated” with and deeply disturbed by Trump’s behavior over the past week, having run out of excuses to make on the nominee’s behalf to donors and other party leaders, according to multiple people familiar with the events.

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Special Bulletin. What’s the Matter With the Moderates?

Let’s begin by admitting that there are those who would say that “Republican Moderate” is an oxymoron or perhaps an anachronism. Or that  Republican Moderate is just a polite term for RINO. We will not pause to define Republican Moderate, or identify who, in general, would qualify for that description. We will admit that there are fewer than we would wish and we also note that the related species, Liberal Republican, is truly extinct: we are unlikely ever again to  see the likes of, say, Jack Javits, Ed Brooke or Nelson Rockefeller. […]

Special Bulletin. Frolics of the “Stupid Party”

Two years ago, Bobby Jindal, the Republican Governor of Louisiana notably, and wisely, observed that Republicans had to “stop being the Stupid Party.” Since then Republicans have reminded themselves of Jindal’s advice from time to time, but more often have chosen to forget or ignore it. Recent days are replete with examples. […]

Blog No. 31 Update: Exploring the Desert with Jeb Bush and the Republican Field

In Blog No. 31, we expressed confidentially (to RINOs and our friends) a pre-endorsement of Jeb Bush. We would not like to claim post hoc credit for subsequent developments, but we are heartened by them. […]

Blog No. 28. RINO Heroes of the Month: Boehner and McConnell (and the Anti-Hero, Ted Cruz).

Blog 28 picRINOcracy.com has not always been an unalloyed admirer of Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nevertheless, credit must be given where credit is due, although being named a RINO Hero is probably an honor that neither would relish. In any case, both gentlemen deserve credit for acting with skill and courage to avoid a “crisis” over the increase in the debt ceiling.  As RINOcracy.com had previously noted, the increase in the debt ceiling was inevitable, but it was not at all clear that it would be accomplished with a minimum of embarrassment to Congressional Republicans. Moreover, as events unfolded, the seemingly irrepressible Ted Cruz did his best to create that embarrassment. […]

Blog No. 20. What now for Republicans? (Schadenfreude is not a policy.)

Schadenfreude: a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.

Republicans may be forgiven if they have indulged themselves in a bit of Schadenfreude over the continuing debacle of Obamacare.  To be sure, that debacle could hardly have come at a more opportune time. The furies unleashed by the website failures and the cancellation of insurance policies served to soften, if not erase, the public disdain for the Republicans’ recent antics: the ill-advised gambits with the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. Nevertheless, those furies, and the agonies they have produced in Democrats, may prove to be ephemeral. A diet of Schadenfreude does not provide much nutrition, and it surely is not a policy. […]

Special Bulletin An Update to Blog No. 18: Who’s a RINO Now?

A subscriber called my attention to an article by the distinguished journalist and political commentator, Bernard Goldberg, which included the following observation: The Tea Party folks are very proud of the fact that they stand on principle.  Bulletin:  so do less hardline Republicans.  But the hard right calls everyone to the left of Ted Cruz[…]

Blog No. 18 A Good Day for the Republican Party – and its Coming War with the Tea Party

Tuesday was a good day for the Republican Party because it brought the resounding victory of Governor Chris Christie. Christie demonstrated convincingly that, even in a decidedly “blue” state, a Republican can win with an appeal that crosses economic and ethnic boundaries. As the Wall Street Journal argued, Christie is a “conservative” and not a “moderate:”

The Governor has by and large governed as a conservative reformer. He vetoed a tax increase on millionaires and capped property taxes. He pushed tenure reforms that will make it easier to fire bad teachers, and he extracted far more pension reform out of a Democratic legislature than did Democratic Governors Jerry Brown in California or Andrew Cuomo in New York.

Good Day for Republicans

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Blog No. 16 The Patty and Paul Show: Let’s Make a Deal?

Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan have drawn the short straws: they chair the Conference Committee that is charged with reaching a budget agreement that will avert a second round of crises over a government shutdown (January 15) or a collision with the debt ceiling (February 7). The entire committee, totaling 29, consists of the entire Senate Budget Committee  (12 Democrats and 10 Republicans) and 7 House members (4 Republicans, 3 Democrats).Lets Make a Deal logo

No one, it is fair to say, is overly optimistic about the outcome. If the Grinch does not steal Christmas, he will be hovering not far away. It is a positive sign that Senator McConnell has expressly ruled out the use of a shutdown, and by implication a threat of default, as bargaining chips. As he put it rather colorfully, “One of my favorite sayings is an old Kentucky saying, ‘There’s no education in the second kick of a mule.’ ”  Nevertheless, Ted Cruz and his cohorts in the Senate, and the Tea Party Oozlums in the House appear to have an appetite for mule kicks that is not easily satisfied. Moreover, the Conference Committee itself is hardly lacking in gritty conservatives: 9 of the 14 Republicans, including Ryan, voted against the bill that ended the just concluded crisis. (As noted in a prior blog, however, their votes were “free” in the sense that they were not required for the passage of the bill and may not reflect a tolerance for shutdown or default.) […]

Blog No. 15 The Washington Soap Opera and the Tea Party Tax

The latest episode of our Washington soap opera descended into self-parody, recalling Carol Burnett’s classic “As the Stomach Turns.” Faithful to the formula, the episode ended with the major characters surviving but faced with dire predicaments just ahead. So it was with the bill finally passed by the Senate and House to end the government shutdown and the threat of imminent default. The crisis is over, but not for long: the operation of the government has been continued only through January 15 and the debt ceiling suspended only through February 7.

The most popular phrase to describe Wednesday night’s Congressional action is “kicking the can down the road.” If the beloved William Safire were still among us, he would no doubt enlighten us as to the origin of what has now become a cliché. In Safire’s absence, Timothy Noah of New Republic used Nexis to trace the term back to arms control discussions in the eighties. Noah suggested that kicking the can down the road had not been a bad idea in the earlier context and, writing last January, argued that it might even be the best approach to the budget deficit. Indeed, even in the most recent crisis it was certainly preferable to allowing a government default or even prolonging further the shutdown. But surely enough is enough. Lurching from crisis to crisis is not only a distraction from addressing other important issues, it also deepens public cynicism, and exacts a toll on the economy when we can ill-afford such a burden. That toll could be dubbed most fittingly “The Tea Party Tax” (or in the lexicon of RINOcracy.com, “The Oozlum Tax”).TAX TEA PARTY OOZLUM3 […]