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Why Republicans Can't Relax
posted at August 5, 2013 1:11 PM EDT
First: October 13, 2012
Last: September 28, 2013
They must survive a permanent campaign environment in overdrive—and that also explains why so little is getting done.
( Basically what that means is, once they get elected, they go to work on getting re-elected. EVERY third party candidate, during the 2012 election, wanted term limits for congressman & congresswomen. That would eliminate the need to work on re-election continuously. That would also produce candidates, that actually want to do government business, instead of making careers out of being re-elected. )
If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then House Republicans might look potty. On Friday, the House voted for the 40th time to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Though each week presents new reasons to not like the bill (premiums up 40 percent in Ohio) the votes are as pointless as ever because the legislation isn’t going anywhere. But this isn't as insane as it looks because the goal isn’t repealing the legislation. The vote is entirely symbolic. The conservative base likes it and we are heading into a non-presidential-election year where the base is important.
But while House Republicans can pass bills that do nothing, they could not pass an appropriations bill, which is a basic requirement of being in charge of the place. House leaders had to pull the vote on an appropriations bill for transportation and housing at the last minute on Wednesday because they could not find the votes. The spending cuts were too deep for almost all Democrats and even some Republicans. Conservatives also voted against it for not cutting enough. Mix that opposition together and the effort went THUD, the appropriate shorthand used to refer to the bill (Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development).
When you spend your time doing base maintenance and not basic maintenance, something has gotten out of whack. But it's all about maintaining your base more than ever in Washington these days, whether it's your ideological base or your fundraising base. The more time you spend raising money and fighting off primary challenges, the less time and inclination a lawmaker has for governing. Not coincidentally, Congress takes its mid-year break having passed the fewest laws in its history. Congressional approval has been so low for so long the store of metaphors describing how low it has fallen is bankrupt, too.