[Discussion] The New War In Congress

This thread is for the discussion of the restructuring of Congress, to include Republican/Democratic jostling for position as well as (perhaps primarily) internecine Republican conflict to determine control of the Party and define its new policies.

Alternatively, since Trump is more interested in rallies than governing, he might just rubber stamp anything anyone in Congress can convince him is a good idea.

farley3k wrote:

Personally I have seen many, many republicans fall into lock step over the years. Too many for me not to believe they will do that for trump.

Yeah and they had their chance - Paul Ryan is the poster boy for just gobbling up what he openly admitted was a crap sandwich. I doubt he (and those like him) are going to suddenly find the courage to face the bully in the schoolyard, especially when everyone else is likely to want to stay safe and on the bully's side. These are not principled politicians in the least, they just want to stay in power. They've made that clear.

I just can't believe that everyone dismisses the splits in the Party that have developed over decades by thinking the election of the single most unpopular Republican candidate in modern memory magically fixes things. These things don't go away with one event, no matter how genteel the lead-up to the wedding is.

Robear wrote:

I just can't believe that everyone dismisses the splits in the Party that have developed over decades by thinking the election of the single most unpopular Republican candidate in modern memory magically fixes things. These things don't go away with one event, no matter how genteel the lead-up to the wedding is.

Because no one thinks the Republican party has any integrity at this point. They've been reduced to nothing but hatred of the Obamas and the Clintons. Obama's legacy looks to be in total jeopardy and they'll never have to call Hillary "Madam President."

Trump did that. Trump delivered on what they've been building since the 90s. And he didn't even do it with their help. He delivered them an election they were certain they were going to lose. He humiliated the Obamas and the Clintons, and at this point, that's about all I can figure out when it comes to what the Republicans stand for.

Robear wrote:

I just can't believe that everyone dismisses the splits in the Party that have developed over decades by thinking the election of the single most unpopular Republican candidate in modern memory magically fixes things. These things don't go away with one event, no matter how genteel the lead-up to the wedding is.

No this doesn't make it go away, but they've made it clear what their priorities are. And, again, when it comes to policy, I honestly think Trump isn't going to give them a lot of pushback on their bigger vote grabbing stuff. He was called all kinds of things by his own party and "disowned" over and over, but now that the election is over, there's no need for them to try and impress their voting base with their supposed offense at his actions.

Robear wrote:

I just can't believe that everyone dismisses the splits in the Party that have developed over decades by thinking the election of the single most unpopular Republican candidate in modern memory magically fixes things. These things don't go away with one event, no matter how genteel the lead-up to the wedding is.

Agree with cheeze. Republican party identity is now more about winning against and obstructing the opposing side than promoting specific ideals and policies. They will be in lock step.

What they want to do now? Start the looting.

The next four years will be about dismantling the American government, transferring as much of its wealth as possible into private pockets, and absolutely ensuring that liberals can never again take power.

I've started praying that Canada gets militarily strong enough to invade us and win.

Malor wrote:

What they want to do now? Start the looting.

The next four years will be about dismantling the American government, transferring as much of its wealth as possible into private pockets, and absolutely ensuring that liberals can never again take power.

I started to disagree but the sobering reality is that this might be dead on... this might be the start of the end..it will take some time to play out but we might not ever have it as good as we had from here on out.

The 1% might feel it's time to start lining up their domains and dividing up who gets what and how to lock everything down to ensure compliance.

Robear wrote:

I am a bit amazed that everyone in the punditry accepts that Republicans in Congress will fall in line for Trump's proposals. He's got a lot of ideas that mainstream Republicans would not willingly sign on for, and many that would make Tea Party types choke on their McVities. I have the feeling that once the honeymoon is over, and the easy stuff is done, the split will recur.

After all, Republicans can't just paper over the last few years of internecine acrimony and pretend it didn't happen. There will be change in the Party, and it will be more Stalinist than Robert's Rules of Succession.

I'm curious which policies of Pence's are not in line with mainstream Republicanism. Trump has already said he's not going to have anything to do with either domestic or foreign policy, so the person you should be looking at is Pence. Trump is just the magicians assistant. After a short pogrom, bye Ryan,he's just going to settle in to a role as a figurehead.

And the entire time the state is collapsing, they will blame everything, everything, everything on the 'liberal elites'. And then on just 'liberals'.

Things will be bloody within two years.

It's already kinda starting. A current headline on reddit:

"STAY EDUCATED - A brief overview of George Soros: The Nazi sympathothizer and collaborator who ran the 2016 DNC campaign and is currently trying to dismantle America."

Classic Republican tactics there; accuse the other party of doing what YOU are actually doing.

Six Trump policy proposals that could cause problems with Congress (WaPo).

But overall, I'm not seeing anyone mention the Tea Party vs. the more Mainstream Republicans. Why? What has changed within the Party that they will just shut up and abandon their goals in January, and let the Old Guard run over their agenda?

Robear wrote:

Six Trump policy proposals that could cause problems with Congress (WaPo).

But overall, I'm not seeing anyone mention the Tea Party vs. the more Mainstream Republicans. Why? What has changed within the Party that they will just shut up and abandon their goals in January, and let the Old Guard run over their agenda?

They finally have the power they wanted?

None of us can know what the Republicans will do, but we're about to see what they really stand for.

Robear wrote:

Six Trump policy proposals that could cause problems with Congress (WaPo).

Thanks for that. Sad fact is half of those issues are positive. But that's why I've been anti-Repub not just anti-Trump.

Robear wrote:

But overall, I'm not seeing anyone mention the Tea Party vs. the more Mainstream Republicans. Why? What has changed within the Party that they will just shut up and abandon their goals in January, and let the Old Guard run over their agenda?

The Tea Party has been pretty quiet during the campaign, people have probably forgotten about them. Honestly not sure what to expect now the dust is settling. I'm actually hoping they do manage to put the brakes on.

TheGameguru wrote:
Malor wrote:

What they want to do now? Start the looting.

The next four years will be about dismantling the American government, transferring as much of its wealth as possible into private pockets, and absolutely ensuring that liberals can never again take power.

I started to disagree but the sobering reality is that this might be dead on... this might be the start of the end..it will take some time to play out but we might not ever have it as good as we had from here on out.

The 1% might feel it's time to start lining up their domains and dividing up who gets what and how to lock everything down to ensure compliance.

I'd say dismantling the Administrative State is one of their top priorities.

Then there's this more recent, though very similar article:

Unless we can find a solution to this problem — a way to curb and cabin the discretionary power of administrative agencies — decentralization and individual self-determination will eventually be brought to an end. The diversity of our society and the innovativeness of the U.S. economy will gradually come under the pervasive control of a vast bureaucracy, and an essential element of American exceptionalism will be irretrievably lost.

Of course, the article was written before the election, but they still had this to say:

The 2016 election seems destined to leave us on the same course, no matter which candidate wins. The Democratic Party's candidate seems wedded to expanding Obama's aggressive administrative agenda, and the Republican candidate does not appear to understand or accept constitutional, treaty, or statutory restrictions on the authority of the president.

I'm not so sure about the latter part here to the extent that while Trump may not be well versed in government he's surrounded by those who want nothing more than to strip mine the government of its bureaucracy. In some ways I don't see this as a terrible thing, there's a lot I'd like to cut from Washington, but they won't be doing it the way I want them to as I expect social programs to be the first to go.

I'm interested to see how much appetite there is in Congress now to privatize medicare. I see a whole lot of regret coming soon, mostly along the lines of "I didn't think they would do that!".

Dezlen wrote:

I'm interested to see how much appetite there is in Congress now to privatize medicare. I see a whole lot of regret coming soon, mostly along the lines of "I didn't think they would do that!".

That and Social Security have to be two of their biggest targets after the ACA.

Robear wrote:

I just can't believe that everyone dismisses the splits in the Party that have developed over decades by thinking the election of the single most unpopular Republican candidate in modern memory magically fixes things. These things don't go away with one event, no matter how genteel the lead-up to the wedding is.

IMAGE(https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2016/10/CruzSad1.png)

Malor wrote:

It's already kinda starting. A current headline on reddit:

"STAY EDUCATED - A brief overview of George Soros: The Nazi sympathothizer and collaborator who ran the 2016 DNC campaign and is currently trying to dismantle America."

Classic Republican tactics there; accuse the other party of doing what YOU are actually doing.

It's not that I disagree with you, it's just that reddit's Trump supporters have been submitting those same headlines for over a year, to every sub they can. They boost them with brigade requests, alt accounts, and bots.

Today I looked at reddit for the first time since election day and I was glad to see the /r/politics top articles are almost all anti-Trump. I guess that since Trump already won, the Trump trolls are so busy with celebratory wanks they don't have time for vote manipulation. Plus the paid Russian trolls are out of a job.

Here's an early example of what I'm talking about. Rep. Thomas Massie, from Kentucky, is a Tea Party stalwart who is skeptical of Trump's budget-busting proposals and wants to see Paul Ryan removed from his leadership post.

These folks will not go down without a fight.

Relevant WaPo article.

On Wednesday afternoon, House Republicans from the hard-line Freedom Caucus assembled for the first time since the election for the monthly “Conversations with Conservatives.” In one hour, they served up enough intra-GOP disputes to last four years.

They differed with President-elect Donald Trump on a massive infrastructure bill that isn’t funded by cuts elsewhere in the government.

They split with Senate Republicans, and potentially with Trump, on whether to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.

They warned Trump, and Ryan, that they would rebel against any attempt to increase spending before Trump takes office.

They split with the Senate GOP, and among themselves, on whether Republicans should use the “nuclear option” to abolish the filibuster.

They took positions at odds with Trump on entitlement programs and split with fellow House Republicans on returning lawmakers’ ability to fund pet projects through earmarks.

They bitterly opposed efforts by some Republicans to protect Ryan from procedural vehicles for removing him from the speakership.

And, during their hour-long Q&A with reporters in a House hearing room, they signaled a potential donnybrook with Trump over executive power.

This is the reality of the point I'm following with this thread. Neither Trump's agenda, nor the "mainstream" Republicans, nor the ideologues' has as its centerpiece a united front within the Party. So added to the possibility of refusenik Democrats (similar to the last 8 years of "Just Say No" Republicanism), we now have a three-cornered dogfight brewing.

Looks like the first skirmish has been had. Turns out the kerfuffle over the ethics reform changes was started when the changes were placed into the rules bill by a small group of Republican House members, against the advice of the leadership.

House leaders knew days in advance of Monday night’s meeting of Republican lawmakers to finalize the House rules package that Goodlatte would seek to undermine the independent ethics office.

The leadership made an effort to head off the proposal before the meeting, but Goodlatte refused to budge.

As the meeting started at 5:30 p.m., aides were confident that members would reject Goodlatte’s proposal once Ryan and McCarthy weighed in against it. That did not happen. Goodlatte was backed by a chorus of rank-and-file lawmakers — many of whom had been targeted by OCE probes or feared they might be next — who were emboldened to make changes. The measure passed handily, 119 to 74. Dozens of other members were absent because they were not yet in Washington.

Many Republicans seem to believe that lawmakers are persecuted by the OCE.

Goodlatte was backed by a chorus of rank-and-file lawmakers — many of whom had been targeted by OCE probes or feared they might be next — who were emboldened to make changes.

So basically, they almost exposed my corruption, they've got to go.

Many Republicans seem to believe that lawmakers are persecuted by the OCE.

Meanwhile, they refuse to believe that cops might by the problem when it comes to racist policing... which is a fun bit of mental gymnastics.

Robear wrote:
split with fellow House Republicans on returning lawmakers’ ability to fund pet projects through earmarks.

I thought that cutting off those earmarks was a huge victory at the time, but now I think I want them back. I don't think it was a coincident that cutting off an avenue for Congresspeople to funnel money into their districts corresponded semi-closely with the rise of "completely shut down the government" thinking in Congress. I now wonder if that little bit of grease injected into a district or two every couple of bills was the only thing keeping the GOP from taking their ball and going home.

Yonder wrote:
Robear wrote:
split with fellow House Republicans on returning lawmakers’ ability to fund pet projects through earmarks.

I thought that cutting off those earmarks was a huge victory at the time, but now I think I want them back. I don't think it was a coincident that cutting off an avenue for Congresspeople to funnel money into their districts corresponded semi-closely with the rise of "completely shut down the government" thinking in Congress. I now wonder if that little bit of grease injected into a district or two every couple of bills was the only thing keeping the GOP from taking their ball and going home.

This article makes very much the same point.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...

imbiginjapan wrote:
Yonder wrote:
Robear wrote:
split with fellow House Republicans on returning lawmakers’ ability to fund pet projects through earmarks.

I thought that cutting off those earmarks was a huge victory at the time, but now I think I want them back. I don't think it was a coincident that cutting off an avenue for Congresspeople to funnel money into their districts corresponded semi-closely with the rise of "completely shut down the government" thinking in Congress. I now wonder if that little bit of grease injected into a district or two every couple of bills was the only thing keeping the GOP from taking their ball and going home.

This article makes very much the same point.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...

Just got through Part II of that article, it's a very good read so far, thanks a lot for posting it.

It is a good article but rather depressing.

imbiginjapan wrote:

This article makes very much the same point.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...

Agreed. Amazing bit of research and thought. Also very depressing. The general thesis seems to be "While 'shining the light of day' on bad behavior may seem like a good idea in theory, in reality it just moves the bad behavior to an even darker place that is even less ethically bound."

Mixolyde wrote:
imbiginjapan wrote:

This article makes very much the same point.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...

Agreed. Amazing bit of research and thought. Also very depressing. The general thesis seems to be "While 'shining the light of day' on bad behavior may seem like a good idea in theory, in reality it just moves the bad behavior to an even darker place that is even less ethically bound."

I think that's a fair assessment of some of the reforms, the funding ones being a good example, but others are definitely "reform ends activity it was supposed to end, but it turns out that activity may have been positive/necessary/better than the alternative."

Weakening committees, removing closed-door dealings, and eliminating pork barrel riders all seem to have mostly had the intended effect, but now it's starting to look like they may have had unintended consequences, either alone or all together.

The middle one especially seems like it may have backfired through the naivety of our thinking. It's completely reasonable to think "oh, secret deals are bad deals, if our politicians are doing things in secret that's an indication of corruption, favors being made that hurt our country, a bad separation of our politicians and our people" I remember people warning "those secret meetings are vital for getting business done honestly, without worrying about others/yourself needing to grandstand and ham it up for an audience, or not being able to discuss politically uncomfortable or unpopular issues". I thought that sounded like a lot of ass covering, but now that's seeming pretty prescient. (You hear similar arguments even today when the question of "should cameras be allowed/required in Supreme Court cases" comes up).

Would the ACA have been improved after it's initial passing if Republicans could work on it more behind the scenes if all such work wouldn't be mined for Obamacare friendly quotes come primary season? Would we be making more progress on addressing Climate Change? What about things that are actually popular (as in, more than 50% approval) but have very upset minorities about it? Maybe if votes could still be held anonymously in some cases gay marriage would have been legalized by Federal Law years before the Supreme Court case, or Marijuana would be legalized now?

The most important thing I get from that article isn't "if you cut off one head two more will grow in its place" it's "if you cut off one head--you may come to realize a decade later that that head was attached to a symbiote, not a parasite."

It also connects to populist distaste for experts and actual knowledge. Governing is hard, politics are hard, and both require actual experience and skill. We can no longer afford Jeffersonian bullsh*t about how governing can be done by gentleman farmers in their leisure time, if we ever could.