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Reich writes: "It's as if they didn't learn a thing from the 2012 elections. Republicans are on the same suicide mission as before."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

Why the GOP Can't Learn

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

19 June 13


t's as if they didn't learn a thing from the 2012 elections. Republicans are on the same suicide mission as before - - trying to block immigration reform (if they can't scuttle it in the Senate, they're ready to in the House), roll back the clock on abortion rights (they're pushing federal and state legislation to ban abortions in the first 22 weeks), and stop gay marriage wherever possible.

As almost everyone knows by now, this puts them the wrong side of history. America is becoming more ethnically diverse, women are gaining economic and political power, and young people are more socially libertarian than ever before.

Why can't Republicans learn?

It's no answer to say their "base" - ever older, whiter, more rural and male - won't budge. The Democratic Party of the 1990s simply ignored its old base and became New Democrats, spearheading a North American Free Trade Act (to the chagrin of organized labor), performance standards in classrooms (resisted by teachers' unions) and welfare reform and crime control (upsetting traditional liberals).

The real answer is the Republican base is far more entrenched, institutionally, than was the old Democratic base. And its power is concentrated in certain states - most of the old Confederacy plus Arizona, Alaska, Indiana, and Wisconsin - which together exert more of a choke-hold on the Republican national party machinery than the old Democrats, spread widely but thinly over many states, exerted on the Democratic Party.

These Republican states are more homogenous and conspicuously less like the rest of America than the urbanized regions of the country that are growing more rapidly. Senators and representatives from these states naturally reflect the dominant views of their constituents - on immigration, abortion, and gay marriage, as well as guns, marijuana, race, and dozens of other salient issues. But these views are increasingly out of step with where most of the nation is heading.

This state-centered, relatively homogenous GOP structure effectively prevents the Party from changing its stripes. Despite all the post-election rhetoric about the necessity for change emanating from GOP leaders who aspire to the national stage, the national stage isn't really what the GOP is most interested in or attuned to. It's directed inward rather than outward, to its state constituents rather than to the nation.

This structure also blocks any would-be "New Republicans" such as Chris Christie from gaining the kind of power inside the party that a New Democrat like Bill Clinton received in 1992. The only way they'd be able to attract a following inside the Party would be to commit themselves to policies they'd have to abandon immediately upon getting nominated, as Mitt Romney did with disastrous results.

It's true that by 1992 Democrats were far more desperate to win the presidency - having been in the wilderness for twelve years - than today's GOP appears to be. Nonetheless it's doubtful the GOP will be willing to eschew its old base even if it loses the presidency again in 2016, because without its collection of relatively homogenous states, there just isn't much of a GOP.

The greater likelihood is a steady eclipse of the Republican Party at the national level, even as it becomes more entrenched in particular states. Those states can be expected to become regressive islands of backwardness within a nation growing steadily more progressive.

The GOP's national role will be primarily negative  - seeking to block, delay, and filibuster measures that will eventually become the law of the land in any event, while simultaneously preaching "states' rights" and praying for conservative majorities on the Supreme Court.

In other words, more of the same. your social media marketing partner


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+11 # Maturus 2013-06-19 11:11
I don't understand this obsession with the GOP and its inherent faults - why analyse their problems and point out how they can overcome them. I do understand, however, that there are people who want to gain power over others and so they enter 'politics' . Politicians exist only for power and will go to any lengths to achieve it in the shortest time possible. Consider, therefore, a situation where the President, the entire Senate, and the entire Congress are Democrats. Where does the aspiring politician go to in order to gain power? People who vote GOP will, in this situation, vote for anything which doesn't come with a Democrat label irrespective of what else they have to swallow. This comment is not intended to be news, by the way, simply pointing out history.
-50 # brux 2013-06-19 17:02
Yeah, the logic of this is regressive to me ... let's call the Republicans stupid, and make fun of them, let's pretend they are not in power, not a threat, and are easy to beat.

Hardly, and anyone who participates in that kind of foolishness is either pandering to the weak-minded part of the Democrats, or part of the weak-minded Democrats.
+10 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 08:35
Yup... you 'boys' haven't learned your lesson(s) yet. We'll gladly let the Democrats/Progr essives advance while the Republicans/TPo ds continue to knit and crochet!
-2 # David Starr 2013-06-20 12:10
Most Democrats are more and more disappointing; Republicans are just plain hopeless.

But both "parties" share the same ideology.
+5 # bigkahuna671 2013-06-21 10:42
brux, they're not in power...unless you call trying to prevent Pres. Obama from accomplishing anything to help the country recover from all the screw-ups he inherited from Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. Oh, yeah, I guess the power to use Senate rules from preventing the country from healing from our greatest recession since the Great Depression means they're really in control. So I guess that means if anyone or group is to blame for the bad state (although we are recovering nicely) we've been in, then it would be the Republifascists . Good on you, finally a Republican who's willing to take the blame for screwing up the country! It's about time!!! Thanks!
-1 # brux 2013-06-21 15:51
> they're not in power...unless you call trying to prevent Pres. Obama from ...

Yeah, I call that being in power. They have to power to confuse everyone with continual BS in the media and block any Democratic agenda while filling Democratic ranks with people who agree with them ... sounds like being in power to me ... why doesn't it to?
+1 # Depressionborn 2013-06-20 15:19
The system is bad.

It is the nature of at least some people to become flawed and corrupt. Power is a magnet to corruption. When religion attains power it too becomes corrupted; when government becomes large it too is a natural destination for corruption.

Observe that even when good people, not flawed and corrupted, join the political factions of government they often start with good intentions. Then someone tells them they need to be re-elected. Then they need money; then the fun begins.

I have no answer except maybe somewhere in the Bible, as near as I can tell Bush and Oboma might be twins.
+96 # BradFromSalem 2013-06-19 11:19
The Republican party is in a bind of their own making. In order to save their interpretation of America they chose a path doctrinaire policy. Eventually doctrine supremacy gave birth to politics dictated by doctrine exclusivity. The Tea Party.

Politically, to remain a Republican that believes the doctrine of lower taxes, less regulation, private enterprise over the commons have created their own monster. This monster believe that any taxes is an act of theivery, any regulation is government intrusion, the few legitimate government functions should be performed by private enterprise.
To get there they must use the tools of government to enforce their common religious outlook and treat any disssenters as criminals.
To a person they have left behind their raison d'etre in their quest to impose their own interpretation of America. Because that is all they know, and in their ignorance, they have displayed incredible stupidity.
+86 # tswhiskers 2013-06-19 13:06
No, no. They believe strongly in thievery. They believe in thieving from those of us who make the bulk of the population, not the wealthy or big business. You've got the rest right; they have no platform except to serve the rich and to starve the rest of us. As for the stupidity, what else can they do? Chained as they are to their old white men, they have little choice but to serve up the silly candidates the old whites seem to want. To Maturus, what amazes is the continuing stupidity and childishness of so many Reps. I suspect you are quite right in saying that many Reps. would vote against their own interests to avoid voting for a Dem. Again, amazing. Pride goeth before a fall. Rep. pride has become like that in a Greek tragedy. Surely the party can't last more than a few more years before it implodes and all are forced to see sense. The Chinese curse "May you live in interest times" is with us in spades.
-112 # edge 2013-06-19 15:53

Obama won reelection with his 1% divisiveness is true.

Eric Holder lies under OATH to Congress and the American people about Fast and Furious;

Clapper lies under OATH to Congress and the American people about the NSA spying;

THEY BOTH still have their jobs, the joke is on ALL OF US!

You want to blow crap about the Tea Party that has no power but let Obama keep crooks in jail that lie to our faces!

You are the JOKE!
+39 # coach777b 2013-06-19 18:54
Quoting edge:

Obama won reelection with his 1% divisiveness is true.

Eric Holder lies under OATH to Congress and the American people about Fast and Furious;

Clapper lies under OATH to Congress and the American people about the NSA spying;

THEY BOTH still have their jobs, the joke is on ALL OF US!

You want to blow crap about the Tea Party that has no power but let Obama keep crooks in jail that lie to our faces!

You are the JOKE!

Truth Seeker that you are, PROVE any one of your claims. Just because FauxNews, Limbaugh, Beck and Bachmann tell you they lie, doesn't make it so! Come back to reality, support some real, dedicated people to represent you and help turn your country towards progress.
-12 # edge 2013-06-20 04:32
Since you don't follow the news and probably won't believe what I write, do your own search "James Clapper’s least untruthful".

You will find that Clapper admits that he told the Senate "the least untruthful statement"!

Congress goes into private all of the time when they discuss sensitive matters, but he chose to LIE instead.

Obama has not fired him, Clapper needs to go!
+12 # David Starr 2013-06-20 12:38
You're like the boy who cried wolf. Only, you're very selective in your "warnings."

1) Richard Nixon: Watergate, Vietnam.
2) Lyndon Johnson: Vietnam.
3) Ronald Reagan: Iran-Contra, Grenada, playing the role of president; not president.
4)George H.W. Bush: Panama, Indirectly encouraging Hussein to invade Kuwait (former territory of Iraq) then launching the Persian Gulf War, condemning Hussein as an invader, etc., No new taxes.
5) George W. Bush: Blatant lies used to launch the Iraq War, gross mismanaging of policies, e.g., a record $10 trillion debt.

The list could go on. But there would be more Repubs than Dems on the list.

One person, like "Clapper," doesn't have a monopoly here.

You're taking of sides is child-like.
-12 # edge 2013-06-20 16:03

You are the one acting like a turd!

All are gone now but the current occupant so why bring them up?

YOU complained back when W was president so at least be a man and be consistent!

+1 # David Starr 2013-06-24 17:14
@edge: You continue proving my point, as well as yourself, about empty accusations, caps key and !!!

Past connects to present. Learning from the past helps one to understand the present more. So, your remark alluding to totally ignoring the past doesn't sound like you've learned.

Be a man? LOL. There is consistency when taking into account the past's connection to the present. W? A witless, smirking incompetent. Obama? Like Bush lite. Ideological connections, despite slightly different tactics.

But anti-Obamaists have a crude, incompetent way of demonizing him. The accusations are amazing, with a tone similar to your's.

And with Reich's article, the proof is in the posturing. Your posts are talking from the horses mouth, or, actually, in this case, from the mouth of a jackass.
+17 # prigler 2013-06-19 19:22
My, my is this your best shot? Poor baby. LOL
-27 # edge 2013-06-20 06:53
Quoting prigler:
My, my is this your best shot? Poor baby. LOL

Hey, you like the LIAR in the WH, that is fine, but stop your crying about BUSH!
+16 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 08:42
Drunk, dyslexic, warmonger, jet-crashing, DUI laden GWBunnypants is the REASON the Democrats are so darn busy cleaning up all Bushy's messes. You defend Bunnypants at your own risk/demise.
+25 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-06-20 01:10
TO: EDGE You say the Tea Baggers have no power. Hmm? John Boehner has almost no control over them. They were put into congress by very powerful Republicans and their very powerful money. The Tea Baggers are representing those in America who are deficient in math, science and economics. And they are easily influenced by "Fairy Dust." If a jackass is a jackass, that jackass does not have to worry about acting like one. Comes natural.
-17 # edge 2013-06-20 11:50
Quoting Eldon J. Bloedorn:
TO: EDGE You say the Tea Baggers have no power. Hmm? John Boehner has almost no control over them. They were put into congress by very powerful Republicans and their very powerful money. The Tea Baggers are representing those in America who are deficient in math, science and economics. And they are easily influenced by "Fairy Dust." If a jackass is a jackass, that jackass does not have to worry about acting like one. Comes natural.

Hmmm, at least they are taxpayers unlike your crowd!
+13 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:13
Umm, perhaps you have a problem with facts, like the fact that all the blue states send more money to Washington than they get back, while most of the red states get back more than they contribute. Seems it's us who have the jobs and the cons who don't, fool!
+4 # bigkahuna671 2013-06-21 10:46
Thanks, bingers. edge never seems to have his facts straight and you can always count on him to get things mucked up. Your facts are among the reasons why I'd love it if those Southern states who hate the Prez would secede like they keep threatening to do. Of course, they just cry wolf until they have their next global warming-induced natural catastrophe, then they put their hands out and scream for Federal dollars, dollars their states never contributed in taxes. Hmmmm, hypocrisy must be part and parcel of being a red stater.
+1 # Capn Canard 2013-06-22 08:41
Good one... and here is the one thing that nearly everyone forgets to mention: the largest buyer of goods and services is the Government. If you stop spending Government money, in other words your money, my money and tea baggers money, then you can bet your bottom dollar that our whole economy would suffer an extended DEPRESSION. Long story short, the biggest driver of the economy is Government spending.
0 # David Starr 2013-06-24 17:15
@bingers: Not perhaps. It's a fact.
+6 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 08:37
Begging your pardon, but you are talking to an awfully small choir here... I think you might be lost.
+5 # David Starr 2013-06-20 12:12
You sound like a prosecutor, or inquisitor, high on crystal meth. I'm surprised you haven't used more exclamation points. And the caps key.
-8 # edge 2013-06-20 16:05
Quoting David Starr:
You sound like a prosecutor, or inquisitor, high on crystal meth. I'm surprised you haven't used more exclamation points. And the caps key.

WOW! What an impressive use of nothing, just wasted space!
+1 # David Starr 2013-06-24 16:55
@edge: Right. And you've wasted a lot of it. I really don't think you're going to be successful in "converting" anyone here. They're not stupid.

Hollow accusations with no content, and with the caps key and !!!! is not thought-provoking.

And that gets back to the article about the GOP.
+4 # rockieball 2013-06-21 11:52
The JOKE. Well the joke is Republicans want to live in the 1890's. A time when blacks knew their place, women did not vote. The Corporations ran rough shod over their workers with 6 day 12 hour work days, no overtime, you get sick you get fired, no vacations, no work place safety and tinderbox tenement housing. But the Republicans call it the return to the time or morality and law abiding citizens. That where the joke lies in those like the Tea Party that believe it was such a time. They even believe that the TV "Leave It To Beaver", 1950's society existed. With no blacks or civil rights marches, no CIA overthrow of an elected government that came back and bit us in Iran. No it was just Wally and the Bev with a mother wearing high heels and pearls to clean house, bathing before supper and wearing a suit coat and tie almost 24/7. The Joke yes the joke is on you.
+25 # ganymede 2013-06-19 21:03
Brad,stupidity, as you note, is the word that best describes the state of the Republican Party.The Republicans have traditionally been led by people like Romney who hold their noses when with the rightwing 'masses', and, like Romney are hyper cynics who will literally say anything to get elected. I really think the problems with the nay-saying run of the mill Tea Party types who now control the Republican machine, has more to do with the stupidity of the Tea Party types themselves. It's crude and demeaning to talk this way, but stupidity is the only way to explain this phenomena. There is no logic, sense or compassion in virtually all the policies emanating from the right. It's like these people have no heart, soul or brains to keep pushing such foolish, anti-human ideas. There is no longer any cohesive 'conservative' philosophy. The Tea Party should become a third party, otherwise they will continue to destroy the Republican Party.
+19 # davidr 2013-06-20 03:26
Yes, there's an element of stupidity in the Republican party (climate denial, creationism), cynicism (women don't want equal pay, low tax rates create jobs) and cruelty (cut the social safety net, fill the prisons). But the seeming failure to learn is a different matter.

The Southern strategy, supply side economics, and compassionate conservatism were each of them as replete with stupidity, cynicism and cruelty as anything we see today. Yet those campaigns were politically adaptive. Republicans, from Nixon through W, learned how to run against the New Deal and Great Society.

I should hope that would have been hard to do, that it would have required deep study. But it is a regressive study and tends toward "learning" that government is the problem (Reagan) and that society does not exist (Thatcher). From this political black hole no real learning can emerge nor any useful policies. We're at a point now where the Republicans cannot learn anything new until they recognize how much of what they already know is wrong.
+7 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 08:47
WOW!! You're spot on the mark! Thank you. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks; it's even harder to re-train an old dog that's gotten "it" wrong!
+4 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 08:45
The Tea Party, all personnel combined, is not intelligent enough to start their own party. They become parasites on any body with a weak defense system.
+1 # randrjwr 2013-06-22 14:10
Quoting BradFromSalem:

.........Because that is all they know, and in their ignorance, they have displayed incredible stupidity.

If the Rs are so stupid, why are they so wealthy while we, the smart(?) ones are going backwards in terms of wealth. What they are is EVIL and they seem to be doing very well while out of the White House but strong in Congress. They still make it impossible for the Democrats to get what they want and they have been gifted many times over by the "smart" Dems, starting with the repeal of Glass-Stegall and creation of NAFTA in the Clinton days, a North American Free Trade Act that is sure to spell further disaster for the American worker, not to mention Obama's tendency to give up way too much before getting anything at all in pursuit of a grand bargain, and then--surprise! surprise!--gett ing nothing at all. Now we have a probable intervention in Syria, NSA's activities, Obama's overuse of an outdated Espionage Act, etc etc. And was it really very smart to appoint Kerry Secretary of State and give up a precious Senate seat? A Democratic win in the Mass. special election is no more assured now than when Scott Brown won. Are we certain we know who is stupid and who is smart here?
+1 # randrjwr 2013-06-22 14:15
Quoting BradFromSalem:
....... Because that is all they know, and in their ignorance, they have displayed incredible stupidity.


Does anyone believe the "smart" ones will take control of the House back from the "stupid" ones in 2014? I surely would not bet on it. And I will not confer the title of "smart" on the Democrats until they manage to control both houses of congress and then do something significant with their power, e.g. an equal-pay-for-e qual-work law, reasonable abortion laws (or repeal of Republican unreasonable ones that may get passed), common-sense gun regulation, immigration reform, etc.
-58 # MidwestTom 2013-06-19 14:48
Immigration policy brings up one of the major divides in this country. In the south central part of the country the people have to deal with the Mexicans taking the hourly jobs, and living at levels no American will; while the Blue states either have a major integrated Mexican population, or like most of New England have no idea what the problem is.

Those on the flow find people sleeping in their barns, their schools are overrun with Spanish speakers, and in the worst cases the Mexican narcotic gangs are moving in. Throughout all small towns in Illinois, if you know what to look for, you can find spray painted in various places gang symbols indicating which gang controls the drug trade in that town. My guess is that that is not the case in Vermont, or Delaware. People living with the problem want it stopped.
-64 # MidwestTom 2013-06-19 14:52
If you listened to "On Point" today they interviewed a Sheriff in Brook County Texas who is in his words "overwhelmed with the illegals" They come 15 and 20 to the van, and he catches about 7 vans per day, and misses many. Senator Schumer says that Illegals will not exist after the bill passes, because everybody who comes here will be legal.
+37 # 666 2013-06-19 18:22
sigh, probably on their way to mow lawns and serve meals to rich republicans.... just can't cheap help these days
+9 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 07:39
Exactly. They are doing the jobs most Americans feel "above" doing, yet those same Americans resent them for taking their jobs. The narcotic problem is a legitimate problem, however.
0 # DPM 2013-06-21 13:20
I have nothing against immigrants, but I am tired of this, "jobs Americans won't do" stuff. The immigrants, now and in the past, legal and otherwise, were desperate for work and would work for less of a wage than more established folks. Those that were already here had build a standard of living they had to maintain. The new people had little or no standard and had to start "somewhere". This is where they are taken advantage of. Pay them what an "established" population needs to make and you will see.
+40 # zornorff 2013-06-19 18:40
Illegals come here to find work. There are plenty of businesses and individuals that would gladly pay less for the same job done and hire these workers...who by the way do work most Americans wouldn't think of doing(landscapi ng, dishwashing, etc). And why are the illegals here? Because our agribusinesses have destroyed their Mexican counterparts via Nafta and subsidies so that it becomes cheaper to buy American corn, for example than to try and grow and sell in Mexico. Unbridled capitalism at its very best!
+5 # Rick Levy 2013-06-19 20:46
The illegals were flooding the U.S.long before NAFTA. The problem is not that they do work that citizens won't. It's that illegals have driven wages down across the board. If employers (who BTW as part of the 1986 amnesty were supposed to verify employees' legal status. No surprise that clause was never implemented) were to pay at least the minimum wage for these jobs, there would be no problem filling them with legal workers.
+6 # mdhome 2013-06-20 12:36
If those employers did not hire them, they would have no reason to come here. The problem is the employers.
+5 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 08:51
THANK YOU! The USA has basically created its own problem re: agribusiness! White American men have become lazy over the last 15-20 years and would rather let "someone else" do the hard, dirty work. And now you're suffering! Live with it!
+3 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:18
It's not that Americans won't do the jobs, they won't do them for half the minimum wage and no benefits. Back in '59 when I was in the Army I was stationed for a while in Yakima Washington where I worked a side job picking apples and hops. Nearly all our help were white Americans who definitely WOULD do the job.
+26 # marthature 2013-06-19 15:10
What if we accepted some of the Southern culture's precepts and understood their economics?

One such precept - your family will defend you, take care of you, even if you're a wuthless suckegg lazy sumbitz.

This goes hand in hand with the economics- if BP destroyed the Gulf, they also employed your uncles and cousins and you can not go against them.
+40 # jwb110 2013-06-19 15:10
I frankly don't care if they all spontaneously human combust!

The Reagan coalition that brought the GOP into the forefront were loosely cobbled together groups of business men, the Christian Right and a whole bunch of SOutherners who have been voting against their own best interest since the War of Northern Aggression. Then there was the rise of the Tea Party who also needed to be pandered to and mostly what they brought to the table was anarchy in the House of Reps. Hence the downgrade to AA rating by Moody's. Then you have your NRAs and the Pro-Life crowd, and the anti-Gay Marriage folks and all these groups had to be pandered to. That is way too many lunatic fringe types to juggle. And the pandering was not about really changing the law to satisfy any of those lunatics. It was only about getting votes. As each of these groups began to weaken it then began to be a move to fix state elections. That is now the only way for the GOP to increase their chances.
The other issue to take into consideration is much the same as the day the Civil Rights Act. Aside from loosing the entire solid South ( read white dominated) with the stroke of a pen the Democratic Party had fulfilled it agenda, much of it the FDR vision, and there was nothing left to do.
I would hazard a guess that the GOP has fulfilled its agenda by turning real social issues into States Rights issues. Either way they are no longer needed on the national stage.
+12 # NAVYVET 2013-06-20 06:14
"As each of these groups began to weaken it then began to be a move to fix state elections. That is now the only way for the GOP to increase their chances."

You forgot to mention that the nut cases are fully supplied with money by the 1% oligarchy. I worked to overthrow the photo ID requirement in my state, but all we could do was postpone it. There are PLENTY OF OTHER WAYS to fix elections and they start with the notoriously stupid state legislatures, using not just payoffs but blackmail. Now the stupid idiots have graduated to the US Congress, and they are now trying to end the last bastion of trustworthy news--the sane, noncommercial sources on the free internet, like this one. Climate change denying will bring the GOP and Dem Blue Dogs down more quickly than we realize--but, I fear, not peaceably. People who are drowned, fracked, oilspilled or dustbowled out of their homes and jobs will seek retribution against the killers of the dream. Unless the drones and privateer concentration camps get them.
+20 # Dangoodbar 2013-06-19 15:36
I totaly disagree with this articl.

The problem for the GOP is that it represents a small minority on economic issues and so has to pander to hard line one issue voters to get them to vote against their own economic interests. In fact it is the Social issues that still make the GOP relevant and give it any power at all.

That is the true death of the GOP will occur if in fact the GOP compromises on social issues like Guns, Gays Immigration and Abortion thereby settling/removi ng them from the political arena because at best for the GOP its voters will stay home and at worst they will become Economic or DEM voters.

What the GOP needs to do to attract more voters is compromise on Economic issues which as of now is not even up for discussion. I mean how many GOP voters would be affected by raising taxes on billionares. But that is the one issue the GOP will not discuss compromise. Rather, the GOP stratagy is to stop Obama's policies and keep the economy depressed with the hope it will cause desperate middle of the road low information voters to turn to the GOP and the polices that caused the recession. While this may not be patriotic, it may be good politics.

Moderating its stance on social issues will finish the GOP because it will trun its base into economic issue or DEM voters. The question is will stopping Obama's good economic policy thereby keeping the economy depressed, result in enough non social voters into putting the GOP back in power?
+3 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 07:46
Danggoodcomment .
+2 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 09:35
Your comment is proof that you are one of some darn intelligent commenters on this blog... and I thank you! Spot on the mark!
0 # mjc 2013-06-20 11:34
Give you the bit about the issues being the real ID of the Teapublicans but even so their political managers MUST be explaining to them that the states that could go for the GOP don't really have enough of the electoral college or even more state-wide votes to continue to jab at women, Hispanics, and the gay populations and expect to win certain elections. The Republicans welcomed the Tea Party to their ranks because these groups tend be very vocal and aggressive on issues. Republicans I have known, and even those I know today, don't like to be too obvious about their ideology. They used to associate that behavior with the "radical left", the damn liberals, etcetera. And every day the economy gets more un-depressed.
+29 # Gnome de Plume 2013-06-19 15:46
Midwest Tom, Texas does not have a Brook County. I have seen this "sheriff's" comments elsewhere. Whatever is being said is fake, because the place and the sheriff do not exist.
+8 # Okieangels 2013-06-19 17:25
What??? You can't make up facts???
+19 # brux 2013-06-19 15:48
I'm sorry, but the GOP learning is not the problem, the problem is that the Democrats, Liberals, Progressives ... whatever you want to call "us" are in disarray and ineffective.

That the Republicans, ie. supporters of the status quo corporate state are SOBs that do not give a damn about the average citizen or ignore the Constitution whenever they feel the whim is not the issue, and never has been - the problem is that there is nothing to enforce the Constitution or force the people in our government to follow its dictates, or even to improve on it.

The Republicans believe that after Obama is gone the Democrats will have nothing and considering Obama is more like a Republican and has disappointed Democrats and not brought about hope or change along the lines of what he claimed and what people anticipated, they may well be correct.

Obama motivated and charged people up because he was an image, a shining example of what the country needed, a young, non-white, seemingly non-member of the ruling class, that spoke the right words and seemed to point in the right direction. Now that Obama is well into his second term all that good feeling has mostly drained away ... kind of like the fog blowing away from the Titanic letting us see the iceberg ahead of us.

The task of bringing the crimes, abuses and excesses of the corporate money state under control looks impossible to accomplish, and none of it is about Republicans not learning.
+11 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 07:57
I, too, am a Democrat disappointed in Obama, but I can't help but blame it on Republicans. By declaring early in his first term, "The single most important thing we want to accomplish is for Barack Obama to be a one-term president," they are the cause of his not accomplishing his campaign promises. Now, in his second term, they are doing the same things to obstruct him and his party; and I tend to think that if he wants to accomplish anything substantial he can only do so by compromising so much that he appears to be a Republican, too. I'll bet he is as disappointed as the rest of us Democrats.
+7 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 09:40
President Obama may be weak on some points but he millions of miles better than anything Republican/TPod ! Obama does not rule Congress. The Repugs in Congress branded themselves as stupid, and now they suffer the consequences. Presidents come and go... Republicans/TPo ds are forever stupid!
+19 # Old Uncle Dave 2013-06-19 15:52
with both parties pro-war, pro-imperialism , pro-bankster, pro-Cororations , and pro police/surveill ance state, it hardly matters.
+2 # Okieangels 2013-06-19 17:27
Check out the "Green Shadow Cabinet."
+3 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 07:59
So what do we do, sit by and let the war-mongers, the imperialists, the banksters, the Corporations, and the police have it all?
+29 # Regina 2013-06-19 15:54
The problem resides in the fact that the Republican stronghold is totally devoid of brainpower. They are blissfully ignorant of economics, sociology, physics, chemistry, meteorology, human physiology, etc., etc., etc. We can't burden any of those nitbrains with information, analyses, trends, conclusions, or even ideas in the first place. They believe that their presumptions are revealed truths, so discussion, debate, and refutation are impossible. The only cure is to elect their opponents. Sweep them out into the dustbin of history, which is their natural habitat.
-10 # brux 2013-06-19 17:00
> The problem resides in the fact that the Republican stronghold is totally devoid of brainpower

LOL, just because some Republican sore thumbs pop off with some provocative one-liners to sap your energy does not mean the Republicans are stupid.

Why do you think the Republicans own the House? HINT - it's not because they are stupid.
+28 # Okieangels 2013-06-19 17:29
They are stoopid. When any yo-yo(R) goes out on the campaign trail and states that women can't get pregnant from rape, there's no other explanation. Determined? Yes. Sneaky. Definitely. Intelligent? Heck, no.
+1 # brux 2013-06-21 15:49
Yeah, but I could just as well call you and all progressives stupid for continuing to vote for the same old Democrats ... I'm just saying it's not just stupidity, it is there is no choice and not much understanding of the system, the problem, and who to put in jail by anyone on either side.
+9 # WestWinds 2013-06-19 23:14
How about they got the House with rigged elections and redistricting? They can't get what they want ethically because once they reveal their true agenda, people walk away.

Have a look at what happened with Dubya when he went on two whistle stop efforts, a year of more apart, into the Mid-West trying to sell getting rid of Medicare and Social Security. The Mid-Western (R) finally began to wake up and see what path their "leaders" and heroes were taking them down and they didn't like it, and the GOP got to realize that their base wasn't always on board with any crazy thing the Right-wing politicians wanted to do with them.
+5 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:08
Money money money money......mone y! They are the party of welfare for the wealthy, unless you don't see free land and other resources
+4 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:12
Money money money money...Money. They are the party of welfare for the wealthy, unless you don't see free land and other resources, cheap loans, tax breaks, subsidies (free money), rewards, handouts, bailouts, biased laws and courts, and calling in the military in their behalf as entitlements.
+2 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 09:43
Correct... it's the stupid constituents who elect and re-elect them. And in return, they get... nothing! Yeah... smart move!
0 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:23
You're right, while a ton of Republicans in office ARE demonstrably stupid, many are not. However the problem is that nearly all of them are either sociopaths or psychopaths.
+1 # NAVYVET 2013-06-20 06:18
Amen! But instead of Dems or Greens, we desperately need a VIABLE ALTERNATE PARTY. Me, I chose to vote Independent and join the Democratic Socialists of America in 2009-10. Now let's start electing Social Democrats.
+3 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:23
A democracy is a government where the majority has control and usually uses it in the majority's behalf. Capitalism is a self-perpetuati ng economic system whereby the minority controls the wealth and power. Socialism is an economic system whereby wealth and power is distributed equitably. To me, capitalism and democracy together is an oxymoron.
+3 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:02
What they have going for them is "They have more cents than sense" and money rules, especially when it can keep much of the population uneducated and ignorant.
+1 # DarthEVaderCheney 2013-06-20 09:42
You've just described the South in a nutshell!
+4 # mdhome 2013-06-20 12:57
Quoting Regina:
The problem resides in the fact that the Republican stronghold is totally devoid of brainpower. They are blissfully ignorant of economics, sociology, physics, chemistry, meteorology, human physiology, etc., etc., etc. We can't burden any of those nitbrains with information, analyses, trends, conclusions, or even ideas in the first place. They believe that their presumptions are revealed truths, so discussion, debate, and refutation are impossible. The only cure is to elect their opponents. Sweep them out into the dustbin of history, which is their natural habitat.

The lack of education among the republicants is evident with their concept of the female body, global warming, evolution, any math related sciences, as proven by their Palins, Bachmanns, Cruzes, Issas, etc.
+13 # judyh 2013-06-19 16:42
"... New Democrats, spearheading a North American Free Trade Act... performance standards in classrooms... and welfare reform and crime control..."

Beware Mr. Reich - these have all been almost disastrous for working Americans. NAFTA blew the bottom out of low wage jobs and left low wage earners in the US out of work and in perpetual poverty; education reform in the form of standardized tests has turned into a fiasco in which poorly performing schools are so desperate to "make the grade" that they are cheating on it because the real reasons they perform so poorly is because their students come from horribly underprivileged homes with parents that suffer from addiction and depression and children suffering from neglect at the best and abuse at the worst - finally studies are showing this "reform" for what it is - a pipe dream cooked up to keep from having to spend more money in these blighted areas; and welfare reform was ridiculous because, rather than citing the numbers which said that only 2% of welfare recipients were on it for more than 2 years, Clinton caved into the BS spouted by the Republicans at the time whose only goal was to cut taxes on the rich and divert public attention to the fact that they were GIVING the country away to Wall Street - with Mr. Clinton and his advisers' blessings. As Michael Moore once said (and I don't always agree with him, but he got this one right), Bill Clinton was the best darned Republican president we've ever had!
+1 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:25
Right on, Judy.
+20 # angelfish 2013-06-19 17:01
They are NOT Suicidal, Professor. They are Homicidal! Not content in killing themselves off, they are bent on taking the rest of us with them! HOW do we stop their Run-Away Train before it takes us ALL over the cliff? The Lunatic Fringe is in charge and is maniacally focused on destroying what is left of what used to be a wonderful, SANE Country. Thirty Seven Votes to Kill Health Care, not ONE (1) for Job Creation or improving our Infra-structure or for improving Educational opportunity or ANYTHING that we NEED! If Americans are wise and have the WILL, they can be RID of most of them at the Mid-Term Elections. Dear God, give them the strength and bolster their determination to get the job DONE!
+3 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:31
In his book, "A People's History of the United States 1492 to Present," Howard Zinn stated that had the slaves simply refused to work, the war would have almost instantly been ended. Perhaps we have no chance of stopping that run-away train, but maybe we can get off of it and stop buying into the conspicuous consumption and waste that fuels the train. There is enormous beauty and freedom in living more simply.
-2 # futhark 2013-06-19 17:58
Most posters here are probably Democrats. I'm not, however, being a registered Green. As a former Democrat, I see that party embracing the same neocon programs than has just about sunk the Republicans: more meddling in the affairs of other countries, more military actions, more ramped up "security" through unconstitutiona l spying: just about the whole neocon program is embraced by Democrats from Mr. Obama to my very own Senator Dianne Feinstein. Republicans like Senator Rand Paul are trying to project a vision of our national political life that does not involve snooping, spying, or drone strikes. Few, if any Democrats have challenged these ideas. So, Dr. Reich, instead of nitpicking the moribund Republican Party, parts of which are actually trying to do the right thing, how about spending some time and energy critiquing the reactionary trends in the Democratic Party?
0 # prigler 2013-06-19 19:36
Then why post here at all if this bothers you so much?
+4 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:34
Because some of us like to hear both sides of an issue.
+2 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:30
Quoting kochadoodledoo:
Because some of us like to hear both sides of an issue.

And on liberal sites you can usually get that, but go to a wingnut site and try to post a well thought out rebuttal and your reply gets erased and you get banned from the site.
+5 # futhark 2013-06-20 10:58
One of the major problems with sites like Reader Supported News or Common Dreams or Free Republic, for that matter, is that they tend to become echo chambers, reinforcing political polarities rather than providing alternative points of view. The real value of freedom of speech is that it allows the propagation of new memes within society, some of which may prove adaptive as situations change. If that sounds Darwinian to you, it is because I have a degree in biology (and another in bacteriology) from UC Berkeley and taught biology at the high school level for 32 years. The parallels between Darwinian/Mende lian thought and the American political system are astonishing considering Charles Darwin hadn't even been born at the time of the American Revolution.

So let's cherish and use our alternative viewpoints on issues to find better ways of using our resources to enhance peace, liberty, stability, justice, and prosperity.
+3 # Okieangels 2013-06-19 19:45
You're lucky. In Oklahoma 3rd parties can't register with their party. It takes an ungodly number of signatures to be able to begin another party. Who set that little stage? Repubs and Dems.
+8 # Anarchist 23 2013-06-19 19:59
Senator Rand Paul has graciously exempted women from snooping and spying however. His idea of government is small enough to fit right up their lady despite his ideas on drones he really would not be a good choice for choice!
+14 # Robert B 2013-06-19 20:44
futhark: In New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District, our Congressman used to be Bill Richardson. When Bill Clinton tapped him to become the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., there was a special election to fill that seat in Congress. The Green Party candidate was Carol Miller, an unrepentant far left-winger, who received 17% of the vote -- a record, I believe. How do think that went? We got stuck with right-wing nutcase Bill Redmond until we could throw his butt out. But he was there long enough to vote for Clinton's impeachment. That's the probable result of left-wing nuts who refuse to vote for Democrats because "they're just as bad as the Republicans." I generally don't subscribe to the old chestnut that "If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem," but I do think it's true of people like you for whom the Democrats aren't far left enough. Ideological purity like that will help elect Republicans a lot more often than the progressives you would prefer. Ralph Nader? We would have had President Gore without him, which means that John Roberts and Samuel Alito wouldn't be on the Supreme Court, we wouldn't have had a war with Iraq, and 9/11 might not have happened.
+8 # NAVYVET 2013-06-20 06:24
Years ago NATION magazine, in a devastating article, exposed the Greens strategy of targeting the most liberal Democrats in the Southwest and turning it over to the GOP. I know a few things about their cheating tactics in my state, including receiving money from the Repubs. The Greens are defunct in Europe because of their stupid mistakes, and we don't need them here.
+2 # bigkahuna671 2013-06-20 18:14
NAVYVET, I agree whole-heartedly . Elections in this country have been thrown over to the GOP because of Greenies who claim to be for all the people but are really only for their own little niche of nutcases. The Dems have their share, but certainly can't claim to have as many wackos as the Republifascists . However, ours are just as efficient at electing right-wing nutcases as Tea Partiers, etc. At some point, these people have got to realize that they're the ones responsible for so much that has gone wrong in this country. Futhark, get a life!!
+2 # kochadoodledoo 2013-06-20 08:42
Howard Zinn said in "A People's History..." that our founding fathers created states' rights to make it almost impossible for the citizens to organize and dissent. I see it happening all the time and it is certainly the reason that a third party has never been successful in getting elected, only successful in getting a president appointed instead of elected, and Supreme Court appointments biased in favor of the wealthy.
+1 # futhark 2013-06-20 11:02
California now has a similar problem with the general election now being a runoff of the top two vote candidates in the primaries, regardless of party. In consequence, in the general election this year, I could not vote for either senatorial candidate. The choice was between Dianne Feinstein, who I regard as the next thing to a neocon, and Republican X, who was even worse.
-2 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:33
And the thing to do is convince conservative 3rd parties separate from the Republican party and stop spewing 3rd party pie in the sky on rational sites, because until a very large local and statewide base is up and running in every state, a leftist 3rd party is the exact wrong thing to do and is just a formula for damaging failure.
+3 # bigkahuna671 2013-06-20 15:58
futhark, you've got to be kidding - Rand Paul wouldn't stoop to snooping or spying? Sorry, but you're a dreamer. Anyone who gets power has to keep that power and snooping, prying, and spying are all means to their end. However, I wouldn't vote for a Republifascist if I was paid a million$$$. There's just something about their smarmy, self-indulgent, arrogant, over-righteousl y pious attitudes that turns me off. Born again? Heck, I was born right the first time and don't need to be reborn. They need it 'cause so many of them have been among God's biggest sinners and they figure if they somehow get themselves reborn, they can get all those sins forgiven. The Bible says to do unto others, yet these self-righteous so-and-sos act as if Mexicans and anyone of a darker persuasion aren't good enough for "their" heaven. Bob Reich probably nitpicks Republifascists because there's so much to pick at...kind like picking ticks and fleas off a mangy dog!!!
+1 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:28
I think you got it wrong there. In most cases the Dems are just trying to get something done and with the mindset of the "Death to America" Republicans they have to take a dose of bad to get some good.

Doesn't mean I like it or agree with them, but I understand the suicide pact they seem to be undertaking.
+4 # HenryS1 2013-06-19 18:49
The name of the county in Texas is Brooks, not Brook.


Don't know about the rest of the fact issue between Midwest Tom and Gnome de Plume.

But Benny Martinez is a sheriff there, and the show cited is here:

Fact-checking is good, that's keep that skill handy.
-20 # ProLife Progressive 2013-06-19 19:12
Read the Gallup Polls... The Dems are out of touch with the public on abortion. Even Dems don't support abortions after 20 weeks when a child is clearly formed in the womb. We are anti-war, vegetarians, opposed to animal cruelty and capital punishment and guns. Well of course we don't want to kill unborn children. So some Republicans went too far ignoring exceptions for rape and incest and not understanding rape, but that is not the same. Can you explain why the so called helpless Republicans control congress? Duh!
+3 # bingers 2013-06-20 20:36
Bull, over 60% of Americans favor choice, which is not the same thing as wanting abortions. But if you want fewer abortions, elect Democrats because under Dems abortions go down and under Republicans they rise. (Because of ignorant economic policies)
+17 # spenel334 2013-06-19 19:25
I fear the reports of the demise of the
Republican party are greatly exaggerated. If the Supreme Court agrees with the Republicans, as it has been wont to do, and no longer requires those certain states to ask permission before changing their voting laws, we Democrats will no longer be able to fight back to prevent masses of people
from being disenfranchised . What happened in Florida in 2000, even before the Supreme Court became involved, can happen again. Jim Crow will return in hordes, while we watch, weaponless, in horror. I only hope I'm mistaken, but one can never underestimate the deceit
and fraudulence of the Republican party.
+5 # NAVYVET 2013-06-20 06:26
Jim Crow has already returned! The incarceration of young black men, because of state laws throughout the South, disenfranchises them forever. Read the book THE NEW JIM CROW.
+4 # dick 2013-06-19 20:37
Prediction is risky. Blue state Mich has GOP gov & Mississippi legislature. GOP won the redistricting war, has the "personal" fortunes of global corporations to buy their way, as in Wall St.
+11 # geraldom 2013-06-19 20:38
At least the Repubs are being honest, in their own way that is. They haven't changed their tune, so we all know what to expect from them. On the other hand, Obama & the Dems have their voting base completely bamboozled by making wonderful speeches & promises only to do just the opposite.

The irony of all of this is that the Repubs, based on the following factors, are virtually in control of this nation:

o The federal bench, thanks to the Dems allowing Bush to seat well over 300 political extremist judges, two on SCOTUS, is, in effect, a Repub court system.

o HAVA now mandates the use of corrupt and fraudulent e-voting machines in place of paper ballots counted by human hands. These e-voting machines are manufactured and programmed by companies that favor Repubs, and the software can't be properly tested because the companies claim it to be proprietary.

o The vast majority of states now have Repub-based court systems, and Repub governors, and Repub-controlle d legislatures.

o Because of the 2010 midterm disaster where the Dems lost big time in so many battleground states because of their massive betrayal of their voting base for two years and because of the 10 year census, the Repubs in almost all of the states that they won did some major gerrymandering, one of the major reasons why they maintained control of the House in 2012.

The only legal avenue we have to change government is in the voting booth, and that has been completely taken away from us.
+10 # logical1 2013-06-19 21:25
Brad from Salem
You have a good look at the Republicans but missed the major issue.
The Republicans want the government to have money.
They want to spend it on the Military, prisons, and police.
Thus their rhetoric of cutting spending and taxes is just that and not their real agenda.
-4 # FDRva 2013-06-20 03:13
Bob Reich and I revere FDR.

My old pal, Pres. Barack 'Barry' Obama is suspected of having a different agenda--much friendlier to his original campaign sponsors at Goldman Sachs & JPMorganChase.

But what is a few Billion dollars between friends?
+11 # kalpal 2013-06-20 05:43
Eventually even tightly contolled gerrymandering will not save the GOP. The furious need to accuse others of what the GOP has wrought is sad and funny.

Who employs so called illegals? Is it the poor? The workking class? No its the greedy republican business owner who pays below market wages and then claims that Americans are too lazy to take a back breaking job they are sure to starve on and lose their house over.
+6 # reiverpacific 2013-06-20 10:58
As a furriner, it seems that pushing along the self-destructio n of GOP/Tea-patsies whilst working ever harder to secure the votes of those groups held back by the medievalist mentality of these dinosaurs, might just might force the Demo-twits back from center-right to at least the center, become recognizably more progressive, flushing out the Blue-Dawg finks and encouraging more progressive candidates of all racial origins to validate the patchwork quilt which this country should be encouraging, not suppressing.
For those paranoid, misinformed gits who trumpet on about how "they come here for welfare benefits" (a joke in itself in the least welfare oriented industrialized nation in the world except for corporate welfare), the Latino-a people, mostly Mexican, where I live are the hardest-working and most enterprising demographic in the area, often pooling their family resources and buying failing businesses and revitalizing them by their own efforts. They make the rather predictable local dining options much more interesting also; and they REALLY know how to party! -I've played at many of their weddings, baptisms and wakes and found their hospitality and acceptance of my wife and I unfailingly, sincerely inclusive.
They and their openly expressed sense of joy in life make all the white, grouchy and jealous reactionaries around here look like the dyed-in-the-woo l curmudgeons and blinkered bigots they are, stuck in their own tiny, circumscribed worlds, like their GOP!
+4 # RicKelis 2013-06-20 11:24
Hey, the party's over for the Republican Party. Just lifeless zombies left, with no person behind their empty eyes. You can't kill your own conscience without the eventual outcome of killing the whole spiritual being. I'm waiting for the "Bye Bye Mis-American Guys"-"Day the GOP Died" song to come out, to make it official. Their party went on life support after the election and then around the December solstice, coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar and the end of major cosmic cycles -- it died. That's why these zombies are still digging that hole they are in -- subconsciously or perhaps non-consciously , they know it's time to bury the dead. RIP GOP.
+5 # David Starr 2013-06-20 12:43
Reich is on the mark as to the GOP's political, learning disabilities.

The GOP symbolizes the past: Grand illusions of empire, white supremacy myths as the "natural order of things" (it still clings to life), greed is god, throwing crumbs to the unfortunate, prefers war, profiteering.

The Dems aren't that much better.
+1 # fredboy 2013-06-20 16:11
The headline should read "Why the GOP and the Dems WON'T learn."
0 # vgirl1 2013-06-20 20:52
We can only hope.
0 # FDRva 2013-06-22 10:54
Forgive me for not rejoicing.

The criticisms Dr Reich makes about the GOP also ring true for the Obama White House.

Perhaps, Wall Street has invested well in sustaining this White House.

And the NSA stuff was just insurance.
0 # BFranc 2013-06-22 15:17
So the solution for the GOP is to become Democrats. I fear the day we all think alike, the most oppressive kind of nation to live in - aka 1939 Germany and despotic or communist countries, and the slow but sure politically correct road that the US is currently on (where you can no longer speak your mind in a public forum w/o someone calling you a bigot or hater or other oppressive mind control techniques).

Of course, I agree, the GOP does not learn. It must distinguish itself much further from the current crop of Democrat elite in their thinking, policy and politics if they have any hope of having a significantly positive impact on the future of our great nation.
+1 # BFranc 2013-06-22 15:24
Why is there such an imbalance of opinion on this forum. Virtually 98% percent are GOP haters. Yet the country is split more or less down the middle. There is no real discussion here, just a place for like-minded people to sing to their own choir.

Have fun folks!!
0 # BFranc 2013-06-22 15:30
Never heard a single tea-party hater really know anything about tea-party people or what they believe. The thing about haters, they cannot shed their stripes, after all haters by definition hate. The next tea-party hater just repeats what the previous tea-party hater has said... interesting sheeple type of behavior.

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