Coffee House

Debt emergency over – now for the Republican Party’s existential crisis

16 October 2013

8:22 PM

16 October 2013

8:22 PM

Phew! America has stopped banging its head against the debt ceiling. For now. The world’s pre-eminent power can carry on ruining itself for a while longer — until the next boring-but-incredibly-important fiscal crisis hits. (The dreaded sequester is next up, oh joy).

There’ll be plenty more soul-searching essays about the eclipse of American power.


But it’s the poor Republicans who face a more urgent existential crisis. Their party’s strategy for handling the issue has been confused and inept.  At every turn, the Democrats have managed (somehow) to present themselves as reasonable, while the Republicans have seemed at best cynical and divided, at worst leaderless and delusional. They have emerged from the tortured negotiations with precisely nothing.

Sen. Ted Cruz has bungled the crisis so spectacularly that some snarks in Washington are even suggesting he’s Democrat in disguise.

This is not just liberal media bias by the way; it’s reflected in the polls, too. The party’s brand is now so toxic that its members are starting to suffocate on their own fumes. Even when they are right – and they are right to challenge Obama’s fiscal folly – they are wrong in the public’s eye. The GOP has to change or die.

For his part, Obama should not be complacent. As Daniel McCarthy pointed out last week, his own shortcomings are as much to blame as the GOP’s. The president is lucky to have such rotten enemies.

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Show comments
  • the viceroy’s gin

    As has generally been the case, this latest sellout deal was passed on leftist votes, coupled with a few RINO sellouts, who banded together for protection as usual.

    But it won’t save them. The Tea Party is all about culling these RINO sellouts, as a first principle. That culling will start-up again in the Spring of 2014, in the Republican party primary elections. Not all, but some of these RINOs who voted for this latest sellout deal are about to be culled, courtesy of the Tea Party.

    I’m not sure the Speccie teenager who wrote this blogpost understands what just happened, or is happening, but one thing’s for certain, such knowledge isn’t to be found in the Huffington Post.

  • andagain

    At every turn, the Democrats have managed (somehow) to present themselves as reasonable

    That is not really very difficult when the Republicans have repeatedly threatened to blow the economy up unless they get what they want.

    They are about as rational and reasonable as Arthur Scargill.

  • Tom Tom

    The Republican Party should die but won’t because Big Business needs it. The basis of the party in Homesteaders and Self-Employed is sidelined by Corporatism and this is why the Tea Party is a cry of despair. Bush and Cheney took the Republicans off a cliff by running a huge Corporate Welfare War Economy with Greenspan as the Grand Debaser of Currency. The Democrats are simply the creature of Jewish Wall Street and have basically ditched their ethnic and blue collar constituency onto JP Morgan Food Stamps and Contingent Employment.

    The American Political System is in terminal decline simply taxing the rest of the world with debased dollars to pay for a lifestyle based on illusion backed by military intimidation. The Superstructure has become totally detached from the Substructure of the US society and it looks more like a decadent monarchy than a republic

  • allymax bruce

    I Luv it !
    President Obama has again crushed the Republican Party, & the tin-pot T-Party too !

    Hey, Bush got his two illegal & wasteful wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, pushing USA into a debt BY $10 TRILLION !
    Bush even gave Karzei $60 billion as a sweetner; all while the American soldiers lost their lives in a foreign land, and USA people lost their jobs to foreign workers in their own land!
    So why can’t President Obama give a wee bit o’ help to the poorest people of his own country USA, through his Affordable Care Act, (Obamacare).
    Republicans waste money, Jobs, and don’t care about USA citizens. But Democrats help to bring jobs, give money, and care to/about their own USA citizens; who would you vote for?
    President Obama; the best President of USA since Kennedy.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well over 50% of the Left voted for the “illegal and wasteful wars”, laddie.

      Only you lefty muppets still play the “blame Bush” card. Smart people know better.

      • allymax bruce

        Actually nobody voted for Bush’s wars; Bush imposed those wars on the people.
        Bush didn’t even win the 2000 electoral vote; he stole it through his daddy’s placement pals on the supreme boke!

        • the viceroy’s gin

          As I say, the Left voted well over 50% for those wars. Only you delusionals are ignorant of that fact.

          Notice I said “voted”. Nothing was “imposed”. There was a vote. You can look it up, if your delusions aren’t too debilitating.

          Oh and by the way, no recount performed since 2000 ever showed Bush losing the 2000 election, so that’s just more of your delusion.

          You’re delusional. Seek help.

  • chan chan

    Excellent news. The can has been kicked down the road until February, when we can enjoy the exact same rubbish all over again, as if it has never happened before. Just like we have been doing for the last few years.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Unfortunately, that’s the best outcome right now. Few are serious about spending discipline, and far fewer still are in Washington, in government. But keeping matters on the front burner may be the best and only outcome right now. Highlighting the issue, and all that.

  • swatnan

    There is a big difference betweeen UKIP and the Tea Party; the latter has policies whereas UKIP is a one issue, one man, little englander, xenophobic Party. I’m just waiting for Nige to do a ‘tommy robinson’ and ditch UKIP because the wrong kind of people are joining it.

  • CraigStrachan

    What happended to the soul searching and reform that was supposed to follow the Republicans defeat in 2012?

    They don’t need a Cameron. They need a Kinnock.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You mean somebody who talks balls endlessly and falls over?

      • CraigStrachan

        No, Ted Cruz fits that bill.

        Republicans need a Kinnock to stand up to the extremist-entryist elements, and start the process of moving the party towards the center. If they do that, they may be in with a chance at the 2024 presidential election, as Hillary is finishing up her second term.

    • Tom Tom

      No – they need to re-connect with their base and keep the Money Men at bay. It is just like the 1890s all over again

      • CraigStrachan

        Except Ted Cruz is no Teddy Roosevelt. (Not least because Roosevelt wasn’t Canadian.)

  • Curnonsky

    This latest crisis will be soon forgotten, same as all the other manufactured crises that have marked the Obama Years (socialists need a regular crisis to distract attention from their failings). Less reported has been the unfolding catastrophe of Obamacare – the websites that have crashed, the minuscule numbers of people who have signed up, the sticker shock when they realize they can no longer afford the insurance they had previously. Anger at this mess will grow steadily as the deadline approaches and will pose the greatest threat to the current regime it has yet faced.

    You’re unlikely to read about it here, though.

  • Observer74

    As John Redwood recently pointed out on his blog, Obama is doing better than Cameron on deficit reduction, forecast at 4 per cent of GDP for 2014. It is not clear to me why you call this fiscal folly. If the Democrats can take the House in 2014 the Bush tax cuts can be ended which would further reduce the deficit.

    • Tom Tom

      Your logic is fascinating. If you reverse the Bush tax cuts you raise taxes to cut the deficit and hope the deficit does not widen as taxable income falls. You assume that the Bush tax cuts have no economic impact and that reversing them has no impact. Can you explain the Economic logic behind your assertions ?

      • Observer74

        economic logic is an oxymoron. You need to address your query to the CBO,who made a very substantial increase in their forecast of US debt when they removed their assumption of the ending of the originally time limited Bush tax cuts (a change which appeared to catch out NIall Ferguson in an early version of his attack on a well known American economist).

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Nobody cares about a +10 year old CBO “forecast”, which is a fancy term for a guess.

          They do care about the actual debt, and those numbers, even following the Bush tax cuts, stayed on the same or less 30 year average slope of increase, as a percentage of GDP:

          The curve goes haywire when the Left took over Congress in 2006, as you can clearly see. The Bush tax cuts had nothing to do with that… it was the Left’s massive spending increases, which Bush foolishly signed, and shouldn’t have.

    • HookesLaw

      Sequester cuts
      This is how the US are cutting.
      ‘another $52 billion in defense cuts later this year will completely devastate the U.S. military.’

      Parhaps you should take off your blinkers and start praising Osborne.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …for being a socialist poshboy?

      • Observer74

        Your linked article complains that the US will not be able to fight two wars at once in future. I know Tony Blair would disagree,but that sounds like good news to me. If the republican nut jobs are unelectable,as you say elswhere, and I hope you are right, the outlook for world peace is much improved. Osborne’s aircraft carriers without aircraft may be a waste of money,but may contribute to world peace as well?

  • dalai guevara

    Please explain how “America has stopped banging its head against the debt ceiling”.
    I simply do not believe you.

  • Hello

    Their problem is the Tea Party. Every time the Republicans do something people say “Typical Tea Party extremism. Yep”, and their actions are discredited. It may, of course, be true but nevertheless it’s a formidable weapon for their opponents.

    Worth bearing in mind for anyone suggesting a Ukip pact, or even those that wanted a lurch to the right. Any suggestion that the Conservatives are trying to play by Ukip’s rules would be a weapon for future opponents, as soon as it becomes received wisdom. You really want to skedaddle away from these movements in the margins.

    • telemachus

      But the Tories are playing to the UKIP tune

      • Colonel Mustard

        Tagging again. Why were you and the other trolls so frenzied in the Police Conspiracy against Andrew Mitchell blogs? Was it, perhaps, that the subject matter was just a little too close to home?

        • dalai guevara

          No one gives a capital S about Mitchell.
          I would safely say I do about law enforcement, I totally ‘get’ what goes on there, but some out-of-favour whip? Nope.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Nothing to do with you. Stop running diversions.

            • dalai guevara

              Just trying to help. 😉

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You mean, you’re just trying to be a socialist nutter. You’ve succeeded, as usual.

        • arnoldo87

          Yes, but give those socialist political police some credit. They swallowed their Marxist principles for a little while in the eighties to help Mrs Thatcher during the miner’s strike. How it must have hurt them to do the dirty on their fellow traveller Arthur Scargill.
          Having said that, Colonel, your comment was up to your usual level of accuracy and relevance..

          • Colonel Mustard

            That was then, this is now and 13 years of New Labour and a new generation of senior police political appointees have intervened. Common Purpose only really took off after 1989, much bolstered by the disbursement of Moscow gold after the Wall came down. The world has changed since the miners strike. England has changed. The police have changed.

            It is your comparison of the police of today to the police of Thatcher’s day that is inaccurate and irrelevant. Your usual snide ad hominem doesn’t add anything to that. Here’s one for you. Were you born in 1987? That would make you 10 years old when Blair slithered into No. 10 and explain much.

  • OldLb

    Not the case.

    Just wait. The debts still there, and the impact of Obama care has yet to kick in.

    Just back from NY I talked to my taxi driver about his medical insurance. 5K has been added to his bill, and his cover cut, just to pay for ACA. He’s not rich and he’s not happy.

    It’s all well and good voting in an act for Apple pie, but if you don’t put in place any plan on paying for it, you’ve got problems.

    So as the bills kick in, look at who gets hit.

    The 50% better off, yes? But they vote Republican.

    The poor 10% with no health care? They get ACA, but they vote Democrat anyway.

    Nope, its all about how much those in the middle who had health care, but aren’t rich. They are going to get done by huge increases and cuts in the level of cover, like the taxi driver.

    What are they going to do?

    The next part, they are both arguing over the same thing. Namely cuts in spending are bad. The only difference is the timing, with democrats wanting it later and bigger cuts, and republicans sooner and smaller

  • SD Sun Devil

    Not exactly the way I see it. The GOP had limited leverage and used it the best they could, which bought them very little, but nonetheless something. In the long run, no one will remember this just like the many other partial shutdowns that have occurred over the past decades. 2014 elections are a long way off and right now I don’t see the Dems taking over the House. Hard to predict the Senate. The good news is that the GOP does better in non-presidential elections, because that’s when the Democrat voters turn out in higher numbers.

  • alabenn

    What part of this non event leads you to think that the Republicans are so screwed and toxic that they are about to dissolve into mist.
    They are 10 points behind the Democrats on a disproval vote 37 against 47.
    In local ballots around the country they are still apparently winning seats and posts from the Dems.
    The Obama love fest is coming to an end, embarrassed people cant quite bring themselves to admit they fell for such a con man.

    • HookesLaw

      The nutjobs in the republican right are making the party unelectable.
      they are handing the ‘WH’ to Hillary.

      • Tom Tom

        Benghazi Hillary ?

      • anyfool

        Do not be silly, the nutjobs want to curb spending, the majority want to curb spending, the real nutjobs want to increase spending.
        In time the first two will coalesce.
        Hilary Clinton will not even get the Democratic nomination, if I am still around I will remind you of your lack of insight into reality.

  • Span Ows

    This is not just liberal media bias by the way; it’s reflected in the polls, too. The party’s brand is now so toxic that its members are starting to suffocate on their own fumes. Even when they are right – and they are right to challenge Obama’s fiscal folly – they are wrong in the public’s eye. It has to change or die.

    You begin the sentence with a statement that you then go on to disprove in a single paragraph: it is reflected in the polls BECAUSE most things are entirely misreported (if at all). Why do you think “they are wrong in the public’s eye” even when they are right? Added to which, the WH reelection machine hasn’t actually stopped since last year (now it is purely a rolling instant rebuttal/BS squad) and nearly all the US MSM are still hopelessly in love with BO (ACA roll out disaster is starting to change this)

    • monty61

      What’s WH?

      • SD Sun Devil

        WH = White House