It’s almost like Republicans hate winning elections. Less than a week since their all-around embarrassment of an election night, GOP leadership is out talking like they had swept all 50 states.
Just yesterday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came out to argue that the president needs to show “leadership” in solving the economic crisis facing Congress. What does that leadership look like in the eyes of the Republican senator? Apparently, leadership is throwing out everything Obama campaigned on and implementing the policies voters had expressly rejected on election night.
Such obliviousness to political reality would be crazy if it hadn’t been the signature of Republicans in the 112th Congress.
Look, the GOP can yell about Obama not having a mandate until they’re blue in the face. The facts are very clear: Obama retained the presidency by over three million votes and counting; only losing two states since his unabashed drubbing of McCain in 2008. The Democrats, once expected to lose their majority entirely in the Senate, picked up seats in Republican Indiana and Maine, and defended a strong majority. In the House, the GOP may have retained control of the chamber, but actually lost the popular vote (don’t let anyone tell you gerrymandering doesn’t work). Tea Party darlings and established Republicans lost ground throughout the country while Democrats picked up seats and secured popular support.
The message from the American people was clear: stop the obstruction and get to work.
That message seems utterly lost on congressional Republicans, who have been out stumping the same tired line that raising taxes on the wealthy “would destroy over 700,000 jobs” as if the election never happened. At this point, calling them slow learners might be a compliment.
Is it any surprise that the Republicans suppressed a report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service that stated, in no unclear terms, that taxes on the wealthy had absolutely no correlation to economic growth? On what planet do Republicans think that attempting to hide facts and truth will work to win the support of voters?
As if the voice of the people last Tuesday weren’t enough, even conservative leaders are telling the GOP to knock it off. When Bill Kristol, the extremely conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, says “it won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires,” you know the party has a problem. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called for an end to “dumbed-down conservatism.” Even former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a notorious Republican bomb-thrower, admitted that Republicans “were wrong” this election cycle. His advice? Spend some time thinking about why you lost.
While it doesn’t look like the Republican leadership is listening, the voters sure are. In a Pew Poll published yesterday, 53% of Americans said they would blame congressional Republicans if talks on the “fiscal cliff” failed. Only 29% said they’d blame the president.
Excuses for Republican obstructionism are drying up quick. If the party hopes to stay relevant in 2014 and 2016, they need to step out of their Grover Norquist fueled echo chamber and start listening to the American people.