[Edited May 8, 2016…]
I have been gestating an idea in my head for about a week.
A comment on a Thomas Friedman article in the NY Times Trump and the Lord’s Work by one Mary Scott included this, which ties in with my developing thinking:
“Four years after the Republicans regained the House, they’d produced the least productive terms since we’ve been keeping track.”
My conjecture is that the 62 years from 1933 to 1995 left that party scarred. That was when the GOP had 58 years of being a minority party in Congress. The other four years brought the country the Red Scare and the McCarthy era.
Scarred how? No, not by McCarthy or by other red baiters. Participants in those like Roy Cohn and Richard Nixon. Scarred by simply being a minority party too long.
Because of two full generations of resisting the actions (solutions enacted to perceived problems) of the Democrats – I want to ask the question:
Did they forget how to govern? 62 years is a LONG freaking time to never run things.
Majority parties and minority parties have to do things differently. Majority parties initiate bills. Minority parties find reasons to resist against those bills. Majority party members scan the horizon for both problems to solve and the solutions to those problems. Minority parties do neither; their members have no need to look ahead and see what is going on. They are too busy trying to put the brakes on. Simply put, majority parties are gas pedals, while minority parties are brake pedals.
But what happens when a party is in the minority for a very long time and then finds itself in the driver’s seat? Can it shift gears and become the initiators, the gas pedal instead of the brake? Can it govern AS an initiator? Or does the braking mentality continue?
LET’S TAKE A LOOK
What kind of laws do Republicans pass? HAVE they passed?
What kinds of actions have Republican Presidents taken?
Laws repealing other laws. Laws trying to undo Democratic Party past actions.
- Union busting actions like Reagan’s PATCO dissolution in the 1980s, in violation of the Wagner Act (a New Deal law allowing collective bargaining) which allowed for the proliferation of unions.
- Stifling the regulatory agencies – partly by installing Directors who were antipathetical to the very regulations the agency exists to enforce.
- 62 attempts by the U.S. House to repeal the ACA (Obamacare) – all unsuccessful.
- Repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, the law prohibiting commercial banks from engaging in investment banking practices. Within 9 years the Crash of 2008 occurred.
- Abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 by a Reagan-appointed FCC Chairman.
- 62 or so attempts by the House to repeal the ACA, Obamacare.
It is not difficult to see in this the genesis of the “tax and spend Democrats” phrase that has been parroted down the years. To be only standing on the sidelines and unable to generate anything of their own, while the Dems did all sorts of things from the New Deal to the New Frontier – Did that emasculation have an effect? I know that Republican fathers and grandfathers have imbued the Republican mindset into their offspring – including hatred of all things FDR. But did those fathers and grandfathers ALSO fail to transmit ANY idea that governing includes RESPONSIBILITY to solve new problems that arose? Continue reading