Republican Party seems as divided, angry as ever

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. BOSTON (AP) — The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.

    Infighting has penetrated the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation's highest earners.

    "People are mad as hell. I'm right there with them," Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, said late last week, declaring that she has "no confidence" in the party her members typically support. Her remarks came after GOP lawmakers agreed to higher taxes but no broad spending cuts as part of a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff."

    "Anybody that voted 'yes' in the House should be concerned" about primary challenges in 2014, she said.

    At the same time, one of the GOP's most popular voices, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, blasted his party's "toxic internal politics" after House Republicans initially declined to approve disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy. He said it was "disgusting to watch" their actions and he faulted the GOP's most powerful elected official, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

    The GOP's internal struggles to figure out what it wants to be were painfully exposed after Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, but they have exploded in recent days. The fallout could extend well beyond the party's ability to win policy battles on Capitol Hill. It could hamper Republicans as they examine how to regroup and attract new voters after a disheartening election season.

    To a greater degree than the Democrats, the Republican Party has struggled with internal divisions for the past few years. But these latest clashes have seemed especially public and vicious.

    "It's disappointing to see infighting in the party," said Ryan Williams, a Republican operative and former Romney aide. "It doesn't make us look like we're in a position to challenge the president and hold him accountable to the promises he made."

    What's largely causing the dissension? A lack of a clear GOP leader with a single vision for the party.

    Republicans haven't had a consistent standard-bearer since President George W. Bush left office in 2008 with the nation on the edge of a financial collapse. His departure, along with widespread economic concerns, gave rise to a tea party movement that infused the GOP's conservative base with energy. The tea party is credited with broad Republican gains in the 2010 congressional elections, but it's also blamed for the rising tension between the pragmatic and ideological wings of the party — discord that festers still.

    It was much the same for Democrats in the late 1980s before Bill Clinton emerged to win the White House and shift his party to the political center.

    2012 presidential nominee Romney never fully captured the hearts of his party's most passionate voters. But his tenure atop the party was short-lived; since Election Day, he's disappeared from the political world.

    Those Republican leaders who remain engaged — Christie, Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus — are showing little sign of coming together.

    Those on the GOP's deep bench of potential 2016 presidential contenders, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have begun staking out their own, sometimes conflicting ideas for the party.

    In the short term at least, the party's divisions probably will continue to be exposed.

    Obama has outlined a second-term agenda focused on immigration and gun control; those are issues that would test Republican solidarity even in good times. Deep splits already exist between Republican pragmatists and the conservative base, who oppose any restrictions on guns or allowances for illegal immigrants.

    It's unclear whether Obama can exploit the GOP fissures or whether the Republican dysfunction will hamper him. With Boehner unable to control his fractured caucus, the White House is left wondering how to deal with the House on any divisive issue.

    Fiscal issues aren't going away, with lawmakers were agree on a broad deficit-reduction package. The federal government reached its borrowing limit last week, so Congress has about two months or three months to raise the debt ceiling or risk a default on federal debt. Massive defense and domestic spending cuts are set to take effect in late February. By late March, the current spending plan will end, raising the possibility of a government shutdown.

    Frustrated conservative activists and GOP insiders hope that the continued focus on fiscal matters will help unite the factions as the party pushes for deep spending cuts. That fight also may highlight Democratic divisions because the party's liberal wing vehemently opposes any changes to Social Security or Medicare

    "Whenever you lose the White House, the party's going to have ups and downs," said Republican strategist Ron Kaufman. "My guess is when the spending issues come up again, the Democrats' warts will start to show as well."

    The GOP's fissures go beyond positions on issues. They also are geographical.

    Once a strong voice in the party, moderate Republicans across the Northeast are nearly extinct. Many of those who remain were frustrated in recent days when Boehner temporarily blocked a vote on a disaster relief bill.

    Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said campaign donors in the Northeast who give the GOP after the slight "should have their head examined."

    Boehner, who just won a second term as speaker, quickly scheduled a vote on a narrower measure for Friday after the new Congress convened, and it rushed out a $9.7 billion measure to help pay flood insurance claims.

    Weary Republican strategists are trying to be hopeful about the GOP's path ahead, and liken the current situation to party's struggles after Obama's 2008 election. At the time, some pundits questioned the viability of the Republican Party. But it came roaring back two years later, thanks largely to the tea party.

    "If we have learned anything from the fiscal cliff fiasco, conservatives discovered we need to stand firm, and stand together, on our principles from beginning to end," said Republican strategist Alice Stewart. "It's frustrating to see the GOP drop the ball and turn a position of true compromise into total surrender. The Democrats succeeded in their strategy of divide and conquer."
  2. Fine by me the republican establishment has gotta go, they are nothing but democrap (communist) light .

    They need to be replaced by REAL conservatives and libertarians of the TEA party.
  3. Mav88


    I have never really cared about party labels, it's the policies.

    Political parties behave a lot like churches, right down to the music, dancing, crying, cheering, etc. It's really frightening when you think about it. I have many beefs with the republicans, but all that seems petty now given that they are all that stands between me and the people's republic of the democrats.
  4. That would be great. It would mean the end of the GOP as a viable party.
  5. It seems that the only hope in my opinion for the Republican Party is to attract young voters, by pursuing a Libertarian/Fiscal Sanity agenda. They will never be able to win as Democratic party light. They have to offer a credible alternative of personal responsibility and individual liberty. They have to be the anti-high taxes and anti US bankruptcy party. Yes those positions have a hard time competeing with the entitlement agenda that is so popular now and it will cost them elections in the coming years, but that would happen anyways. At some point in the future when the US is in bankruptcy and tax rates are at 60% there needs to be someone around who was not part of creating that situation and who put forth alternative although unpopular ideas.

    Every year the republican party should put forth balanced budgets and make the low tax/flat tax argument. This gives voters a clear alternative between them and the democrats. Every year they should make proposals that emphasize the growth of the private sector and the shrinkage of govt...then they should push those agendas in congress. If they lose then they lose...that is democracy. I think that the public should have two different choices, clear and distinct, put before them on election day and once they have made their decisions, they can deal with the consequences.
  6. 2014 elections should put the tea party in effective control of the house.
  7. Mav88


    That's the only hope period, but there aren't any. Young minorities are government dependents because they cannot compete and young whites are brainwashed by the braindead educational system. Demographics is in control now, just make your plans.

    Ironic, the fiscal sanity seems to be in China now.
  8. Lucrum


    Shake those blue pom poms AK, shake'em.
  9. Who gives a crap, we don't need a party virtually indistinct from the democraps :what's the point in that?
  10. wildchild


    These leftist idiots made the same bogus claims after the 2008 election. They made countless claims that the republicans were finished and what not. Of course in the 2010 elections the republicans delivered one the biggest beat downs in US history. If idiot democrats want to make these bogus claims then let them because in 2014, the House will be republican as well as the Senate.
    #10     Jan 6, 2013