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Republicans and cult suicide

Republicans and cult suicide

What goes through the mind of a cult member while they’re preparing their own ritual suicide? Yea, as you can see it’s becoming pretty difficult to find metaphors capable of capturing the insanity unfolding in our politics. So, today’s post at Forbes uses the Heaven’s Gate cult suicide from the 90’s as a reference point.

It’s dark and unpleasant, but the photo I found to headline the piece makes it all worthwhile.

Nowhere can I find any remotely sensible defense of this tax bill, just like I can’t find any sane defense of Roy Moore, or a fact-based defense of anything the Republican Party is doing. I’m used to arguing over policies, but our continuing national disconnect from objective reality is exhausting.


  1. This is what happens when you’re so desperate for power you sell your soul.

    I spoke over a year ago about how “conservatism” and being ‘republican’ became a cult-like following. We’re beyond tribalism, Republicanism has become a tribal cult hell-bent on power or doing everything in their power to see the government they can’t control collapse.

    1. We’ve seen them castrate the once deliberative body of Congress into one of conflict, grandstanding, and obstinance.

      We’ve seen Republicans deliberately violate the Constitution over the chance, just the chance, for a Supreme Court justice.

      We’ve seen them publicly endorse child molesters, and seek ways to ensure that even if a known child predator is elected to office, that the seat is given to one of their own and not to ‘the enemy’.

      We’ve seen them engage in Harry Potter Economics, and contrarian Fantasy Football policy which for years they have espoused their sole righteousness, and why those that saved this country from economic despair are wrong. Without batting an eye or downing a bottle of whiskey, endorse and vote on behalf of would-be legislation that would cause more damage to the people of this country than we’ve seen in living history.

      There are no good republicans left. We’ve seen the worst of Republicanism distilled to its most base, bitter, and caustic essence. What is tragic for this country is how much of it there is.

  2. Susan Collins is a perfect example of Chris’s point that even voting for “moderate” Republicans is not a good option these days. Moderate Republicans say the right things in election time, cast a few symbolic votes according to their “conscience”, but go along when their vote is actually needed.

    I cannot imagine what possessed her to vote for this abomination. And her vote to “save” obamacare previously has been entirely negated by this vote to repeal the individual mandate which will start the ACA marketplace death spiral that every Republican has been so fervently wishing for. She could have at least had the decency to stab obamacare in the front like the rest of her colleagues.

    The same goes for Jeff Flake. He’s not even running for re-election. Exactly what drove him to vote for this?

    1. From my understanding, Collins supposedly got assurances from McConnell that there would be no cuts to Medicare if she went along. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a political savant to know that McConnell has absolutely no power to keep his word here, and if Collins were serious (rather than simply looking for political cover and feeling oh so shocked and betrayed later, which would be my guess), she’d have known that before throwing her legacy in the crapper.

      Flake is arguably even worse. He just wanted a “place in the room” for DACA deliberations; no real assurances or even a promise that something would get done or voted on, but just a guarantee that he could let himself be heard and then subsequently be given a nice pat on the head and shove out of the room when he was done.

      1. There were other concessions, yes, such as (hopefully) passing Alexander-Murray to try and stabilize the insurance markets, but the broader point I was trying to make is that Collins essentially took McConnell’s word at face value for a whole bunch of stuff with really no leverage on her side to force him to act, which strikes me as *pathetically* naive for a politician of her experience.

    1. Mary, I read that article. The only way such an act is if the government the protest targets has any conscience or integrity. Given the current regime (all three branches of government) has neither, it becomes an irrelevant gesture. If the Democrats walked out enmasse from the House and the Senate, stating that democracy has failed, the fascists would simply spin it their advantage.

      1. I understand the differences in the systems, but like to see some stand on principle within the system. Pie in the sky, I know, but happy to see it works elsewhere. Principled indignation has a place in politics and life. We can learn from every example – or not.

  3. ‘When one of the president’s minions pitched this idiotic tax plan to a panel of American CEO’s – men who will be getting fat tax cuts – they balked. In public. On camera. Director Cohn’s stunned response after soliciting their backing should be etched on the tombstone of the former Party of Lincoln, “Why aren’t the other hands up?” ‘

    That has always been the fatal flaw in the whole supply side idea. If there are no strings attached to the tax cuts, it is really businesses COULD reinvest that $, not they WILL. My only surprise is how many fat cats have dispensed with pretending about reinvesting. I heard Sen Grassley being interviewed on NPR about the tax bill a few days ago, and he was queried on this very thing. His response- At least all that $ would remain in America. and sadly the interviewer didn’t do any followup on that tacit admission that supply side was a lie. It made me want to throw something, but that is a bad idea while driving a car, so I switched over to the CD player.

    The only remedy to to vote these people out of office.

    1. The problem is that using retained earnings for investment is not the best use of the funds for Corporations. Using the earnings to buy back stock, increase dividends, or any of the myriad other ways to distribute the money to the shareholders and executives is preferable and more rewarding. That tends to enrich the shareholders more quickly and that is all that big money brokers on Wall Street are concerned about.

      When a business case can be made for organic expansion and internal investment, there are easier ways of financing that – one of which is debt. The interest can be written off against taxes. If the investment fails, then there are bankruptcy through shadow corporations or other means of minimizing the loss to the corporate bottom line.

      1. Creigh – fully correct.

        That was obvious to me early in my ECON 101 course at the UWA in 1968. That was classical Keynesian economics. I had to drop out of the U that spring. Later when I repeated the course in 1973 after returning to school, the emphasis had changed to reflect the Chicago school. There were almost no Keynesian concepts, but it strongly emphasized ideal capitalism with many suppliers and consumers and there was a lot of Ayn Randism thrown in. Even though i realized it did not describe the real economy and was BS, I was focused on getting the course completed, so I could get my BSEE degree. I loyally parroted the line to get the grade.

      2. Creigh-
        It *is* obvious to any economist not named Laffer. After all, George HW Bush labeled it voodoo economics way back in 1980.

        But you’re assuming supply side economics was used as an economic theory. It never has. It’s used as political cover to deliver tax cuts to Republican constituencies who understand full well they will harm the economy but don’t care. Same thing with dynamic scoring, etc. No one actually believes these things. But beliefs don’t pay the bills, lobbyists do. All they need is something that sounds reasonable enough to a gullible public that they don’t come after them with pitchforks. Enter supply side economics.

      1. Mary, really, do you think that is the only way?

        Or rather, consider what has transpired in the first 11 months of this regime. Do you really believe that purely democratic mechanisms will work to slow down the people at the levers of power? Even if the House flips in 2018, which I have less and less faith will happen, this regime will continue to dismantle every democratic institution there is. How many blows can a country absorb before its fundamental fabric is changed, at the very least, for generations, or perhaps longer?

        What is next on the list, now that the tax system, healthcare, environmental protection, bank control, and internet neutrality have been trashed?

        These are some things that I consider quite possible in the next 3 years. Some are fairly linear and expected, others unprecedented and unthinkable. Of course, the words “unprecedented and unthinkable” have lost all impact in the past 12-18 months, as anything is possible now.

        1. At least one more judge is replaced on the Supreme Court, more likely two, with extreme right-wing religious fanatics.
        2. Banning of Islam.
        3. Banning abortion on a federal level.
        4. Banning of teaching of evolution, as a part of a massive movement to give evangelicals way more power in the gov’t.
        5. Rolling back of women’s rights in many ways beyond the abortion issue.
        6. Massive rollbacks of minority rights.
        7. War with Iran.
        8. Serious changes in attempts to alter the 1st Amendment, specifically targeting the press.
        9. Serious attempts in any format that reduces the power of the common voter, be in voter suppression, gerrymandering, or whatever method that can be dreamed up.

        What do you visualize the country to look like in 3 more years? Even if the House flips in 2018, I simply can’t see the Congress, Senate, and presidency all going Democrat in 2020. And by then, the U.S. will not be recognizable.

      2. Dins, this worst case scenario is why I have made sure my passport is renewed and my immediate family have been solidifying plans to vacate the US should this come to pass. The country you describe is not America but a third world theological shit hole. We have enough friends and family scattered around the globe who would give us refuge or Panama and Uruguay are sounding attractive.

      3. Dins – I cannot take that dismal a view of what may happen. All I can do is be aware, vote, help inform others and get them to vote. We are all terribly discouraged but I still believe in the democratic process and will until or if it no longer exists.

  4. I have nothing to contribute that makes me feel the tiniest bit hopeful that the tax cut bill might fail. Everything has been calibrated so neatly, from the secretive, narrow process of its creation on. Those who rarely think for themselves will be lulled into a false sense of security because the tax cuts don’t begin individually until 2019. They also fail to extend their study to year 5 when individual tax rates begin to climb after a brief interlude of savings. In the meantime, we now have as part of our law: “life begins at conception” and the repeal of the Johnson Act that allows non-profits to retain their tax status while participating in politics. Susan Collins was so proud that McConnell assured her that the paygo mechanism wouldn’t be invoked…ReallY? Would Republicans raise taxes again, and, on whom?

    Sometimes I think it is more disheartening to be informed – because those who do know full well what is going to happen in addition to what has already happened. I believe that Republicans will pass a tax cut plan because they must. Their pieces of silver are the only reward that sate their need for power. I hate this for our country and for all the innocent people who will be hurt. It’s heartbreaking.

    1. Look at it this way. In the short-term, Republicans have precisely nothing of substance to give voters before the midterms; not so different from how it was for Democrats with the Affordable Care Act before the 2010 disaster. In addition to that, the GOP’s given a big fat middle finger to Millennials in this bill, precisely the group that Dems need to turn out more than any other. Trump was already doing a great job of that, but who are we to complain for the extra help?

      Much as I’d prefer this bill not to pass, if we’re going to be stuck with it, at least for now, the best we can do is to turn it into the fiercest weapon we can politically.

      1. There was quite an uptick for Millennials voting in November. They weren’t showing their full force of course, but they played no small part in the Democratic rout we saw. If that carries into ’18 and ’20, we could be on the verge of quite the sight.

  5. Here’s where your death cult analogy breaks down though. It’s not suicide if the strategy has brought you utter dominance of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, Governorships, and local statehouses. It’s hard to overstate how much the Republican party has grown (and Dems have shrunk) in the past few decades. In the 80s and even in the 90s, until Gingrich’s takeover, even most Republicans accepted that Democrats were the majority party (since FDR) and pretty much always would be. Despite occasional Republican Presidents, Democrats dominated government.

    The war for the soul of the Republican party ended when Newt Gingrich won speakership over Bob Michel, the longtime minority leader from IL and the last of the old-school country club Republicans of yore. The last 20 years has just been the process of mopping up those old remnants. As a strategy, letting in the crazies has succeeded far more than even Gingrich dreamed of. They control govt so completely that they are just 2 states away from being able to call a constitutional convention. Let that sink in: just a few local elections stand between us and a brand new constitution written solely by the Republicans. If that’s not complete electoral success, I don’t know what is.

    1. And to think, a few decades ago, I suggested to a friend that maybe it would be better if we sorted out the political parties, and moved the conservative democrats to the republican party and the liberal republicans to the democratic party. Jeez, I didn’t see this happening. At the time I thought such a move would merely simplify politics.

  6. I think we’re stuck till the millennials wake up and realize how much of their breakfast and lunch the Boomers are stealing from them. When they show up they are proving to be game changers. In the interim our politics is painful, counter productive and wasteful. I miss the days when I argued with Republicans over policy. Now, we can’t agree on empirical reality. So I don’t talk to them at all.

    1. Makes for very small social circles, doesn’t it? Of course, maybe that depends upon where one lives, but in TX, it’s pretty difficult. FB has been a wonderful, safe tool to find other liberals and at least share (and sometimes, vent). Family gatherings can be very uncomfortable because it is hard to cut people out of your life that are part of your history.

      1. Rest assured that there are places where being a liberal is not isolating. Here in the “Commune of Seattle” in the “Soviet of Washington” the situation is reversed – a conservative feels isolated. As an example, just on Saturday we had a family gathering of 35-40 people, probably all of them are dedicated Democrats. I got into a discussion on SCOTUS decisions with a nephew who just graduated from Law School at the University of Pennsylvania and is clerking in New Jersey at this time. He is more liberal than I. A conservative would have been very much out of place at that gathering.

        The occasion for the gathering was the Celebration of Life for my partner’s mother who passed away on November 27 following a short but severe illness. She died peacefully with family around. She had lived a fulfilling and productive life of 95 years. It was truly a celebration of a well lived life. The family will have a similar large dinner on Christmas.

        I’d also like to share a column from Sunday’s Seattle Times regarding the R’s in Congress. It is much of what we all know, but this is in a local metropolitan paper some regard as conservative. Regardless it is probably slightly right of center. The link is:

  7. The Republican base are a load of screaming cowards infected with the howling fantods. Looking at them makes me confused and upset and at a loss about what to do about it.

    The Republicans in Congress are making logical decisions based on their precarious position. It would be easy to say that they’re insane and devoid of any real-world impact of their choices, but they’re not. It’s that thing you say about ‘if you think they’re voting against their self-interest, then you misunderstand their self-interest.’

    The healthcare debacle failed for two major reasons: 1) the Republican party including their base is not in the least bit interested in solving that problem; 2) it was an appeal to their base, who have no logical basis for anything and are as ready to hate them for rolling back the ACA as it is to hate them for allowing it to happen.

    Their base is never, ever, going to give them a consistent legislation to sit upon and take credit for. Ever. They could pass legislation that personally makes every registered Republican a king of their domain defined by whatever borders of private property they own, a basic minimum income of $500,000 per year, and an army’s worth of artillery to protect it, and their base will cry foul and unfair that someone else who isn’t pure and loyal enough got the dominion, money, and guns too. War would break out as they all started shooting each other, claiming the other to be a crypto-Je– I mean liberal.

    But the Republicans in Congress did get a clear, direct, no-nonsense message with real-world 1:1 ratio of cause-effect and understandable, straightforward implications: if they do not pass a tax bill, they lose their corporate sponsors. End of story.

    This is different than satisfying ‘the base’ in every way. The corporate sponsors have an open, satisfiable demand that can be solved through actual legislation written down on legal paper. That demand is backed by a real, tangible threat. That demand also follows political orthodoxy correlated with their statements of yesteryear, even in some cases through to yester-decade.

    Even as the healthcare rollback was getting mired in the realization that they had no cards to play, journalistic articles interviewing the Republicans had many quotes I recall reading over and over again where they were shaking their heads and saying, “Man, tax reform would be easier than this. We’re all relatively aligned on tax reform.”

    So no, the Republicans in Congress aren’t insane. Given the incentives, their actions follow completely rationally and logically. It may suck to know that economics are cast aside for the interests of a few megadonors from the 1%, but that’s been well-known for a while and expecting the GOP to do anything useful for an individual making less than $200k a year is more insane than a Republican voting for deficit-balooning legislation.

    And why should the GOP worry about their base? Just today in Saturday’s NYTimes, reporters interviewed the usual ‘Trump-country’ Republicans to find generally the following three answers:

    1) They don’t know what the tax bill is about and don’t really see it as that big of a deal.
    2) They know it favors the rich but believe the rich don’t deserve to pay more in taxes.
    3) They only wish the Republican Congress was spending more time working on job creation than tax reform.

    Republicans in Congress are entirely sensible not to worry about the demands of their base: their base are complete idiots who can be told anything.

    In fact the only non-sensible thing about the Republicans is that they bother to put any effort into pleasing their base at all, rather than just outright lie about it. These guys could straight-up write down on a piece of notebook paper “The Illegals are now banned from the country” and change nothing, and the base would be satisfied and go home feeling confident that those damned wetbacks won’t take their jobs. The only thing the Republicans are doing wrong is working hard instead of just claiming they are while taking golfing vacations with 45.

    1. I don’t think Republicans (in Congress) are insane, I think they are self-serving (as you note) and mean. They have so thoroughly put party before country that I don’t think they even remember that part of their history where that mattered to them. Look at the repeal of the individual mandate…That was a Republican concept (until Obama adopted it). What kind of party deliberately savages the agencies that protect our water and air? What kind of party deliberately ignores a president like T when he acts and speaks so badly? There was almost unanimous approval by MoC in passing the sanctions bill against Russia. T has NEVER implemented it. Where is their sense of ethics and accountability?

      I know that I am looking at this through the lens of the way it used to be and principle is no longer “a thing”, but it matters to me. I cannot be cavalier, dismissive, nor accepting of the actions of the Republican Party for the choices they are making.

    2. Sorry, I overcomplicated it myself, too. I have a strong tendency toward wall-of-text. Here’s the tl;dr:

      Congressional Republicans were given a list of demands by their lobbyists. They wrote those demands down, item by item, and each time the deficit became too large to fit the budget reconciliation process, they removed deductions or raised taxes on the middle class to pay for it.

      This is not insane or about beliefs in reality. They know that their lobbyists are the only constituency they can truthfully, honestly serve — the rest are screaming infantile cowards that will vote for them anyway, or liberals who won’t ever regardless.

      Don’t conflate the page count for complexity or the dismissal of economics for cognitive dissonance. This bill is a very simple, straightforward piece of legislation written piece by piece by their real constituency that they’re only too happy to pass, since they’re incapable of serving any other duty.

    3. First, let’s be clear about this – that tax bill has not yet been passed into law. This is roughly analogous to the time John McCain voted to move forward debate on the ACA repeal before later voting to kill it. The conference committee is likely to produce a bill pretty quickly, but the compromises they are forced to make could give cover to Republicans in both the House and Senate to refuse to vote yes on a final bill. They can just blame the conference committee and wash their hands.

      Given the breadth and intensity of the opposition to this bill, I’m not sure it will pass. You’re right about who these guys really listen to, but I’m not so sure they’re getting an unambiguous message from their big money constituents. I can tell you with some confidence that corporate leaders on the whole are opposed to this bill. They see it as an enormous waste of money. Yes, they want to see a lower corporate tax rate, but this bill is packed with insane poison pills. The reception Gary Cohn got from CEOs in that Wall Street Journal forum is consistent with general opinion.

      The people who love this idiotic plan are wealthy donors who don’t work and spend all day fantasizing about public policy – not CEOs. Think of hobbyists like DeVos, as opposed to this administration’s poorer officials, like Rex Tillerson. I think that disconnect helps explain why Republicans have been so surprised by the opposition they’ve seen. They assumed that the Mercers and Kochs speak for pretty much the bulk of wealthy Americans. They don’t care about your phone calls, but I’m guessing they’re a little rattled by the cold shoulder they’ve gotten from prominent CEO’s. Losing the 99% doesn’t worry them. But losing 3/4 of the top .4% puts them on shaky ground.

      And one more point – this bill is not some carefully crafted con. It’s a chaotic shitshow. Lobbyists are getting all kinds of garbage dumped into this bill, stuff that’s going to make it utterly radioactive once people (even inside the GOP) get a chance to look at it. These people are not evil geniuses, they’re just evil, and a lot of them are morons. I’m not banking on my 2018 tax cut just yet.

      1. Well Chris, let me first thank you for responding, and also for a lot of your thoughts and analyses which in no small measure influence my own responses. I’m glad you have a different perspective on this that gives me some hope of another Republican crash and burn.

        Right now my horizon line extends no further than Monday. If Paul Ryan has any IQ above 50, he’ll avoid the conference by sending the Senate Bill to the floor to vote on in the House where Republicans can afford to lose a handful of votes no harm no foul, versus risking another round of Senate votes where everyone knows the margin in razor thin. We could see this thing law by Tuesday. Collins will wake up Tuesday morning realizing her ‘fix ACA before poisoning it’ bid has been swept right under her feet by her own signature, and the rest of the Senate gets to shrug and say, “We sent this for conference, not for final vote, so it’s the House’s fault.”

        If they actually go to conference, well, then we’ll see how the rest of the drama plays out.

        Meanwhile, I’m not saying these people are geniuses. Nothing’s genius about waking up one day after a career that’s spanned generations and realizing that the only people willing to talk to you without calling you an idiot or a racist to your face are the Koch brothers, and even they’re talking to you by dangling money in front of your face as if you’re a puppy. What I am saying is what you’re saying: that this bill is a Frankenstein monster of lobbyist special requests regardless of underlying math or logic, and that economic analysis or the benefits of actual voters are beside the point so why even bother thinking in that manner?

        We’re agreeing on what the bill is, just disagreeing on its likelihood to pass.

      2. That will be interesting to watch, but I don’t think Ryan can do that. The House is too fractured. That House bill was full of all kinds of crazy shizzle that certain members insisted on for their own reasons. I think some of those reasons amounted to poison pills – stuff they knew wouldn’t survive, which they could point to as their excuse for retracting support. We’ll see.

        I’ll say this, if Ryan actually slapped the Senate version in front of the House it would tell us that this is the single most important priority of his whole freakin life. And maybe it is.

      3. I think you give those CEOs entirely too much credit. They are unhappy because this tax cut isn’t *enough*. It never is. While they may be more logical than tea party activists, their thirst for otherwise harmful policies is no less.

        CEOs, like most lobbyists, understand that the key to maximizing your gains is to never be satisfied with what you get. That keeps politicians on a short leash and always makes them work harder for you. Just like if you meet Wall St’s earnings expectations one quarter, they will raise them for the next, CEOs fully support the tax cuts they’re getting this round, but want to make sure politicians give them even more in the next round.

        Corporate tax payments as a percentage of GDP has been hovering at record lows for years. Aside from Warren Buffett, have you seen any CEO publicly saying “enough” when talking about tax cuts? Apple generates $50bil in net profit every year. They literally have more money than they know what to do with. And yet they keep hundreds of billions of dollars outside this country waiting for a tax break to repatriate it (which is a sham because that money has already been brought into the country, but that’s another issue). These are not the actions of companies who believe their current tax rates are reasonable.

        The only pushback I see is from CEOs *personally*. That is, while corporate profits rise, their own personal income tax burden will likely increase. In that respect, Trump is actually telling the truth: all people (including high earners) were sacrificed for corporate tax cuts. Especially since most high earners live in high tax blue states like NY, NJ, CT, CA, and IL, they are facing a stealth tax increase of 5% or more since their local taxes will no longer be deductible. But I’m sure they’ll solve that by granting themselves higher salaries using a percentage of their company’s tax savings. Win-win (except for anyone who’s not a top executive).

      4. While I would very much prefer to concur with Chris, I personnally think Ryan will be inclined to take the Senate Bill to the floor of the House. I am aware that some members of the Freedom Caucus have reservations about the Senate Bill. Precisely what those I am not sure, partly because there has been limited coverage of those reservations and the Freedom Caucus has been relatively quiet. Bottom line: unless the Freedom Caucus takes a hard position against the Senate Bill, I think Ryan will take the Senate Bill to the floor of the House.

        Either bill is a terrible one for the US Economy. Both bills will increase the deficit significantly, will depress growth largely because so much money will be transferred from the people who largely depend on earned income to the wealthy and thereby significantly increase inequity. IMO, inequity is the biggest economic problem facing the US economy.

        I’ll close by saying that in the modern era (loosely defined as post 1981) whenever the Republicans pass a tax bill, they advertise it as a tax cut for the middle class and as a stimulus to the economy. Inevitably, the middle class ends up in a worse condition, long term growth of the American economy suffers and the inequity in American society increases. This is from someone who has been observing their shenanigans closely since prior to 1981. Of course, that was when Reagan took office. To be honest, I would have to except Bush 41’s taxation policies. But we know what happened to him in 1992.

        There is one significant difference this time, however. This is the first time the Republicans have have passed legislation that attacks the middle class as directly as these bills do. That could have an impact in 2018. Very many members of the middle class are aware of what is happening.

      5. This won’t have near the impact in mid-terms that it should for two reasons: first, the cuts to individuals don’t begin until 2019. Those individuals who have paid little attention to this process will not be motivated to revenge until they feel the pain…after mid-terms. Second, I have read several times that the Freedom Caucus has agreed to accept certain provisions in order to gain the total package, whereupon they can continue to push for specific changes that they want.

      6. Chris,
        I hope you are right. But i just do not see even three senators voting no. All of these people spew their religious back rounds. but when it comes to doing anything to actually helps people, unless you are in the top !%, they couldn’t care less.
        And forget caring about the deficit! That lie has seen it’s funeral!

        Great article!
        Question? Do you get a lot of negative feedback from the Forbes readers?

      7. One wee change in your final sentence where you state: “our continuing national disconnect from objective reality is exhausting.” I agree with all but the pronoun, which is misleading. Use the article “the” or the words “Republicans” and I’m all in! I think it’s way past time that we point the finger of blame exactly where it belongs.

        BTW, for all the star trek fans here, you’ll find this interesting…looking for little points of light wherever I can find them!

      8. >] That will be interesting to watch, but I don’t think Ryan can do that. The House is too fractured. That House bill was full of all kinds of crazy shizzle that certain members insisted on for their own reasons. I think some of those reasons amounted to poison pills – stuff they knew wouldn’t survive, which they could point to as their excuse for retracting support. We’ll see.

        I’ll say this, if Ryan actually slapped the Senate version in front of the House it would tell us that this is the single most important priority of his whole freakin life. And maybe it is.

        I think you’re giving Ryan a bit too much credit, and let’s not forget that Trump’s approval rating continues to tank, treading dangerously close to the 20s in the latest Gallup poll. Republicans are near resolved that they’re going to get their asses handed to them in ’18, and so why not grab everything they can before the pitchforks and mobs come to tear them to pieces at the ballot box?

        Frankly, I’m much more interested to see what all this insanity will wind up doing to the Democrats if they retake power. Having gone through two periods of Republican rule where huge debt was racked up that left subsequent Democratic administrations to clean their mess up, have we finally reached a point where the Dems say enough is enough and just say screw it?

        Granted, I might be too optimistic here, but I think McConnell will sorely regret setting that precedent that he just did, passing such a massive overhaul with a party-line vote.

    4. >] “Republicans in Congress are entirely sensible not to worry about the demands of their base: their base are complete idiots who can be told anything.

      In fact the only non-sensible thing about the Republicans is that they bother to put any effort into pleasing their base at all, rather than just outright lie about it. These guys could straight-up write down on a piece of notebook paper “The Illegals are now banned from the country” and change nothing, and the base would be satisfied and go home feeling confident that those damned wetbacks won’t take their jobs. The only thing the Republicans are doing wrong is working hard instead of just claiming they are while taking golfing vacations with 45.

      In the extreme short-term, that’s perfectly sensible, but as a long-term strategy, it’s even more mind-numbingly stupid than Democrats’ near religious devotion to FDR. Not to be a broken record, but it’s worth repeating that The Millennials are Coming.

      Democrats’ problem isn’t that Millennials aren’t voting for them, it’s that they just aren’t voting. When they do though, you start seeing results like the kind that we saw in Virginia and New Jersey in November. Northam won a whopping 69% of voters between 18-29. To put that in context, that’s a 15 pt. improvement over Clinton just last year.

      Murphy in New Jersey? He won 73% (!!) of that same age group, a 12 pt. increase over Clinton last year.

      To be sure, I have no idea whether my generation is going to turn out in force next year or in ’20, but what I do know is that when they do, it’s going to shock everyone.

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