The Republican failure in Congress

Double click to enlarge

Double click to enlarge

In 2010, when the Republicans recaptured majority control of the House of Representatives while gaining in the Senate, I thought this might be the beginning of a Republican resurgence, like the Democratic gains in 2006.  This didn’t prove to be the case.  The Republicans in Congress threw away their opportunity through their obstructionism and negativism.

The Republicans could win the approval of a majority of Americans, and still could, if they had opposed the Obama administration’s bailout of the “too big to fail” banks and held the administration responsible for failure to prosecute Wall Street financial fraud.   The bailouts are even more unpopular among rank-and-file Republicans than they are among rank-and-file Democrats, and the law enforcement failure is unpopular to the extent that it is understood.

Why don’t the leaders of either party pursue a popular policy?  I think the answer is in books such as Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Political Parties and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems by Thomas Ferguson and Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.  Their argument is that the political system is rigged in favor of monied interests.   In an election, we the voters get to pick the winners, but they get to pick the players.

I don’t count the Republican Party out.  The Republicans are in a stronger position than they were after their defeat in 1964, and a stronger position than the Democrats were after 1972 and 1984.  It is too bad that the Republicans neither provide a credible opposition nor fade from the scene.   If they disappeared, then liberals and progressives might stop believing they’re obligated to support the Obama administration for fear of something worse.   As it is, the irresponsibility of the Republicans makes the failed Democratic leadership seem not so bad in comparison.

Click on jobsanger for the source of the chart and comment on the Republican failure.

Click on The investment theory of politics for my review of Thomas Ferguson’s book.

Click on How Washington made the rich richer for my review of Jacob Hacker’s and Paul Pierson’s book.

Ferguson’s book is out of print, hard to find and a bit technical.  Hacker’s and Pierson’s book is currently in print, and is easier reading.

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One Response to “The Republican failure in Congress”

  1. Anne Tanner Says:

    Even a credible threat of a third party forming would make such a difference right now.


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