Last week, Ross Douthat described what he called “the donorist view” of what the Republican Party needs to do. Hint: it should change. After a strong showing in the 2010 midterm elections and what appeared to be a groundswell of populist support from the Tea Party, the GOP has utterly failed to retake Washington. Its primary goal—by many accounts its only goal, given the last two years’ obstruction in Congress—was to beat Obama in 2012. That did not work. A lot of people spent a lot of money hoping that it would, and they want answers. They will settle for a plan to do better next time, however, in the form of the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project.
Remember when we gave the government a monopoly on force and authorized various representatives to collect and disburse resources on our behalf? It’s possible that was a mistake. Either that or it’s business as usual on the reeking shores of the Potomac, and the leaders of both parties are holding our national anxiety level hostage for whatever advantage they can derive without pushing us to real crisis. It’s difficult for the layperson to decide just how seriously to take our present negotiations over the debt ceiling. Economists agree that a default would wreak awful damage on the economy, except the markets haven’t really responded. Congress raises the limit pretty much every year, except for the last two weeks the President has been walking out of meetings and Eric Cantor has whined like a young lady who needs a nap. The GOP refuses to consider any revenue increases even as they accuse the President of intransigence, and Harry Reid is a wiener. So whom, to paraphrase the Joker, do you trust?
Since his earliest plans to resituate the Republican Party within “urban-suburban hip hop settings,” Michael Steele has been a gift to commenters. The chairman of the Republican National Committee has proven himself to have a tin ear for what the American people might want to hear, alienating independents and grassroots conservatives alike with a series of public statements that seem, well, stupid. But could Michael Steele be stupid like a fox? His clown reasoning has made him a punchline, but it’s also made him famous. I mean, who was the last Republican National Committee chairman? Can you name any of them? Steele has turned an obscure post as a party apparatchik into a bona fide public presence; he appears on Fox and Friends just as often as he appears on the Daily Show (pretty much a 1:1 ratio, come to think of it) and his book is selling like lukewarm hotcakes. Few would argue that Steele has made himself reckoned in national politics, but at least he’s made himself recognizable. If recent news reports are any indication, he’s also made himself rich.
If you’re on the mailing list of House Republican Whip Eric Cantor—and if you’re not, you are missing out on some absolutely delightful pictures of kittens wearing hats—you’ve probably already seen this memo about health care reform. Come to think of it, if you’ve watched C-SPAN or listened to Glenn Beck or been anywhere the reproduction of moving images of Republican congresspeople is not religiously forbidden, you’re probably familiar with its startling contention: If a government-run health insurance plan becomes a reality, 112 million Americans will lose their existing coverage. That’s two out of three working Americans, according to a study by the Lewin Group. And what is the Lewin Group? Only “the gold standard for this kind of analysis,” says Michael Steel (note: not the hilarious one,) a spokesman for John Boehner (R-OH.) He was probably paraphrasing a 2007 Wall Street Journal editorial, in which Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Bennet (R-UT) said almost exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, the AOL has been all screwed up in John Boehner’s office since Father’s Day 2007. If it hadn’t, Steel probably would have mentioned that, as of June 18, 2007, the Lewin Group isn’t just the industry standard for health-care related independent analyses: it’s also a wholly-owned subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group.