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Is the GOP Capable of Governing?

Reading about the fallout [1] from last week’s health care bill failure, I was struck by this statement from the Speaker of the House:

We were a 10-year opposition party [bold mine-DL], where being against things was easy to do,” Mr. Ryan said at a sheepish news conference shortly after the bill was pulled, adding with uncharacteristic candor that Republicans were not yet prepared to be a “governing party.”

That’s a remarkable statement from the top House leader of a party that has been in the majority in that chamber continuously for the last six years and has controlled the House for all but four years during a period of more than two decades. The “10-year opposition party” was in charge of at least one chamber of Congress for more than half that time, and controlled both chambers for at least part of that period. Ryan’s statement is a candid admission of incompetence, but more than that it is a window into the mindset of the party’s leadership about their role during the past eight years.

Despite having a House majority starting in 2011, the GOP didn’t consider itself and didn’t act as if they were responsible for governing. That pose could be maintained only so long as the other party controlled the White House. To the extent that they were ever capable of governing in the past, they let that ability atrophy to the point where they no longer know how to do it. Assuming that he has some idea how to fix this, Ryan won’t have much time to do it before midterm campaigning begins. If the GOP doesn’t learn how to be a governing party very soon, voters will relieve them of that burden in a year and a half.

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9 Comments To "Is the GOP Capable of Governing?"

#1 Comment By ScottinMD On March 27, 2017 @ 7:57 am

Although I would love to see ‘saner heads prevail’ I don’t think that the GOP majority is in any danger during the 2018 mid-terms.

What passes for informed debate in this country will conclude that what is happening right now (and for the next 6-8 months minimum) is the fault of the Democrats and/or leftover Obama appointees still entrenched.

The number of voters who will blame the GOP for this epic fail (and any others to occur in the near term) are few and far between, and the Dems don’t have the foresight/ability to convince the populace otherwise.

#2 Comment By bkh On March 27, 2017 @ 8:25 am

The Dems can’t govern because most of what they try to do from a progressive front angers the masses who give us Trump. The Repubs are fractured and almost two parties – Rhinos versus the Right. We actually do have a representative form of government right now because the US population is split just like the parties. The worst part is what will be the catalyst to trigger either true compromise or possibly make matters worse.

#3 Comment By beejeez On March 27, 2017 @ 9:49 am

It’s not that the GOP can’t govern. It’s that they won’t, and why should they? They’re able to fleece their base every two years accomplishing nothing but tax cuts for the wealthy. The whole repeal-Obamacare shtick has been a con since the ACA began.

#4 Comment By Anonne On March 27, 2017 @ 1:16 pm

The GOP has been reduced to sloganeering, promising candy and ponies for everyone through the magic of the free market. They don’t care about policy and actual evidence of what works and what doesn’t. This is why Donald Trump is the reflection of the GOP true believers.

#5 Comment By Marco On March 27, 2017 @ 3:55 pm

Spot on Daniel, I heard that comment from Ryan and had the same reaction. If you are in charge of both chambers then you should be governing the country not just grandstanding.

#6 Comment By WillW On March 27, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

Agree with everyone else who is pointing out how Bohener must be laughing out loud all the time.

#7 Comment By Chris Mallory On March 27, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

The American people do not need to be “governed”. We need a Federal government to defend the borders and that is it.

#8 Comment By kalendjay On March 27, 2017 @ 8:32 pm

I would seriously consider analyzing the relationship between healthcare industry donations and the votes/policies of individual GOP Congressmen on the AHCA debacle.

I would bet that the Freedom Caucus is significantly freer of the tainted money than the Establishment. A bunch of rural rubes, I think, can stick their fingers into the wind more honestly to feel the wind than our Ryanesque wonks.

Friends, this means the fervor of campaign finance reform is not dead with the Hillary campaign.

#9 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 27, 2017 @ 11:29 pm

There are still three huge problems facing the country (only three if one ignores social security)




The remain a millstone around the neck of the federal budget and hence tax revenues.

In my view the fix was simple,

repeal the previous legislation and if must be do something to improve the delivery and efficiency of medicare and medicaid.