Wednesday, November 5, 2014

T Plus One: What To Expect Next

Yes, the Republicans achieved greatly yesterday...electorally, at least. Yes, the United States Senate can no longer be used as a place where bills passed in the House go to die of neglect. Yes, Harry Reid will no longer have the catbird seat of Majority Leader from which to spout vicious denunciations of the Koch brothers, Rush Limbaugh, and whatever other conservative luminaries he chooses to defame. Yes, yes, yes.

That doesn’t mean the war has been definitively and permanently won. Far from it.

The Senate’s six-tenths majority requirement for invoking cloture remains in effect for most issues; only presidential nominations to positions below the Supreme Court have been excepted. Therefore, the Democrats’ shrunken caucus – no less than 46 seats, by the most optimistic estimate – will remain able to block votes on GOP-favored bills. Whether that will become a blanket strategy remains to be seen, but I cannot doubt that we’ll see it at least a few times in the two years before the next elections. It’s the only way remaining to them to spare Obama from having to veto popular legislation.

The Republicans’ legendary, long endured fear of the Main Stream Media doesn’t appear to have changed. Those media have already poured copious hot wrath upon...well, upon everyone and everything, really, for displacing the Democrats from control of the Senate and various “blue-state” governorships. More will follow, undoubtedly rising in intensity as the struggle for dominance of Washington intensifies. In addition, expect the media to focus more closely on state-level issues henceforward, with particular attention to those states where the Republicans have gained the governorship or majorities in the legislature. Media venom is endless, and while the barons of the media are vicious, they’re not stupid; they know very well where the next generation of federal officials will come from.

Another interesting observation about the major media: Several of their more prominent voices are already suggesting, much as they did in 2000, that the GOP now has an obligation to compromise with the Democrats on issues such as immigration and taxation. I expect that theme to be trumpeted at ever greater volume from now until January 3, when the next Congressional seatings take place. Why, then, did the Democrats not have an obligation to compromise with the Republicans when they took control of Capitol Hill in 2006? Will anyone with a national audience pose that question? We shall see.

Many conservatives fear that with the midterms behind them, the GOP Establishment will simply return to “business as usual:” earmarks, pork, and cheerful acquiescence to Big Government in all its venues and varieties. It’s a legitimate fear. If there’s a near-term countermeasure, it must involve “holding their feet to the fire.” Continuous pressure must be mounted upon particularly slippery legislators to conform to a broad conservative agenda:

  • Border control;
  • Tax rate reduction;
  • Preservation of the dollar;
  • Restoration of our military pre-eminence;
  • Reassertion of our primacy on the seas and in space;
  • Sharply reduced regulation of all industry and commerce;
  • Revivification of our existing treaty alliances and reassurance of our allies;
  • Proactive protection of American diplomatic and military installations outside the United States;
  • Respect for federalism, individuals’ rights, and the Constitution’s constraints on government at all levels.

It won’t be easy. Freshly elected or re-elected legislators tend to go partially deaf in the period after a victory. But we can do it. After all, we outnumber them.

Finally for the nonce, the Democrats, having lost majority support, will shift to alternate tactics.

When in the majority, Democrat power brokers are principally concerned with keeping their coalition together. That coalition is composed of a number of groups that don’t share many agenda items:

  • Negroes and “black power” thugs;
  • Welfare clients;
  • “Gay rights” poofs.
  • “Women’s rights” viragoes;
  • “Immigrants’ rights” buffoons;
  • Anti-gun rights activists;
  • The environmental Mafia;
  • Federal bureaucrats and Civil Service employees;
  • Corporate beneficiaries;
  • Communications and entertainment media;

...and others of lesser profiles. It should be obvious that oftentimes, pleasing one will displease another, if only because the funds available for redistribution are not infinite. However, when they’re in the minority, the Democrats can use those interest groups individually as political cat’s-paws. Each group can be moved to attack the Republicans as an enemy of the group’s narrow agenda. Those attacks can look and feel fearsome when aggregated.

Such pressure can be withstood, but in the past, the GOP has not been staunch about doing so. Will this turn of the carousel prove different? We shall see.

From the above, it would appear that it’s not really time for an exuberant celebration. In truth, given the terrible political deterioration of the Republic, it could hardly be otherwise. So as I’ve said any number of times already: Keep your powder dry.


Russell said...

Nice to see the One Party wins again, the hats change, the ship sails along, the iceberg looms ever nearer, and the current set of politicians all assure us that everything is under control.

Meanwhile, the deck chairs are being rearranged, again.

The band plays on.

"Keep your powder dry."

Anonymous said...

Unless the RINOs in charge grow a pair, nothing will really change at all. If they had balls, they would impeach Sir Golfsalot and move on to prosecuting Holder.

But they don't, so they won't.

Dystopic said...

Perhaps I am infected with cynicism (if so, the prognosis is likely terminal), but I see no real gain with the Republican victories.

Our nation and culture can no longer be fixed at the voting booth. All a Republican victory can hope to achieve is a delay of the inevitable, and I'm not all that certain they can even manage that any longer. Even if so, I don't see much value in a delay now.

America is like Austria-Hungary in 1914. We await the black swan event that blows up the powder keg.

The Quiet Man said...

Yea...the republicans finally took back the senate from Harry Reid. That alone is reason to celebrate...and really, it's the only reason to celebrate.

The republicans had control of both houses before with a slim majority in the senate and proved to be ineffective. Thanks, in large part, to a group of what we call RINOs that, in the name of "bipartisanship", spent a lot of time in bed with democrats...usually on the receiving end if you catch my drift. Anyway, that group is still present in the senate and mostly intact. Headed up by the vile John McCain, the usual suspects (Collins, Graham, Alexander, Hatch) and some new faces in Rubio and Flake, I just can't believe that great things are suddenly going to start happening there. Conservatives are just too few and far between to make any REAL difference. Unlike democrats who would fall into line to make things that Obama want happen, the usual republican suspects always seem find a way to negate their majority status.

We'll see how things play out, but if the past is prologue to the future I'm less than optimistic.