The House plans to vote today on a Republican plan to avoid the $110 billion in Pentagon sequestration cuts that would be triggered at the end of the year because of the failure of last year's supercommittee. "People know at the end of the day that this is not going to be all sunshine and cotton candy," said Representative Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma.
Even though the vast majority of African American voters and lawmakers are Democrats, it may be black Republicans who have the best chance to reach the U.S. Senate or win governorships, at least in the near future.
The Prospect is closed between Christmas and New Year's, so expect our posting to be a bit slower than normal over the coming week. But Patrick Caldwell will still be filling us in on what's going on in Iowa about a week out from the caucuses, so drop in to see how the GOP primary race is shaping up.
In the four years since President George W. Bush failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, anti-immigrant sentiment in the GOP has grown to a fever pitch. At least three Republican-led states have passed draconian laws restricting every aspect of life for undocumented immigrants – Alabama, for example, has made municipal water-usage a deportable offense – and Republican voters have shunned a presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, over his willingness to accomodate the children of undocumented immigrants. Conservatives have grown so hostile to immigrants that, at this point, it has become to alienate some Latino Republicans.
Ron Brownstein of the National Journalpoints out something interesting: Republican members of Congress who got elected in Democratic districts aren't voting like people whose jobs are tenuous; they've voting like, well, like any other Republican, at least on environmental issues:
As far as the Constitution is concerned, each state is allowed to determine how it allocates its Electoral College votes. Most states hew to a winner-take-all system, but a few – Maine and Nebraska – allocate theirs by congressional district: your electoral vote total depends on the number of congressional districts you win, not your total vote share.
I've long predicted, perhaps more out of hope than foresight, that once the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest got underway, the Tea Party would fade away. I expected that all those newly energized activists would channel their energy into their preferred primary candidate, and after that, into helping the nominee defeat Barack Obama. If the Republican wins, the Tea Party will cease to exist utterly, since it was always primarily an anti-Obama enterprise more than anything else. Just as Republicans didn't care about deficits when George W. Bush was president, they'll stop caring about them once the next Republican takes office.
To Politico’s Roger Simon, Rep. Ron Paul was “shafted” by the national press, despite his strong second place finish in the Ames Straw Poll. “Any fair assessment of Ames . . . would have said the winds of the Republican Party are blowing toward both Bachmann and Paul,” writes Simon.
The Washington Post has a new poll out today that shows the widespread disgust with Washington you'd expect to see. The number of people who have confidence in Washington's ability to handle the economy has plunged, and nobody comes out looking good. To Republicans, this might seem like mission accomplished. As the anti-government opposition party, they can use obstructionism and blackmail to destroy government's ability to function, then turn to the voters and say, "See? We told you government doesn't work! Now vote for us!"
Given liberal despair over President Obama’s political fortunes, you might think that we live in a world where the Republican Party is popular with voters. But you’d be wrong. Despite their recent legislative success, Republicans have never been more unpopular than they are now. According to the latest CNN survey of American voters, 59 percent have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, a record high in CNN’s polling. This is an eleven point jump from March, when CNN released its first poll of the new Republican House majority. Right now, the GOP is more unpopular than it was during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
As I've been saying for some time, when it comes to violating previously unquestioned norms of behavior, the Republicans are the party of "Yes we can!" and the Democrats are the party of "Maybe we shouldn't." As Think Progress tells us, Mitch McConnell is quite clear that since hostage-taking worked so well for Republicans this time around, they're quite happy to do it again, and again, and again:
Our ongoing debt battle will soon move to its next phase, where the 12-member "super Congress" will attempt to negotiate $1.8 trillion in further budget cuts; if they can't come to an agreement, or if they do come to an agreement and their plan isn't adopted by the full non-super Congress, a package of cuts, taken equally from defense and non-defense discretionary spending (with a few programs held harmless) goes into effect. Jonathan Chait sees a silver lining in all this:
If you want a sense of how far right the Republican base is right now, even with the GOP’s huge victory on the debt ceiling, look no further than the Republican presidential candidates and their statements on the agreement reached last night.
For erstwhile moderate Mitt Romney, the deal is a non-starter:
If you want to see political vindication of the Republican decision to pursue a strategy of racial grievance, portraying Barack Obama as an un-American outsider with a "deep-seated hatred of white people," you need only look at Pew's latest analysis in the shift in partisan identification: