Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The GOP's problem

I have become increasingly sure that the Republican party's biggest weakness is the "don't retreat, reload" attitude it takes about everything. To be successful at anything you need to know how to choose your battles. When you lose one (which happens to everyone sometimes), there has to be an evaluation whether it is worth jumping back into the same fight to see if you can make it come out differently this time, or if you should instead find another issue that is more of a winner for you.

I see the Republicans' inability to choose their battles everywhere. The GOP lost the Obamacare battle when the health reform law originally passed. They lost again when the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in 2012, and they lost again when the Supreme Court rejected the moops argument last week. And they lost each of the more than 50 times that the House has voted to repeal or defund the ACA but then failed to actually get that  bill signed into law. Clearly this is a battle they are not going to win. With each loss there have been commentators who claimed that this gives the Republicans the opportunity to finally move on from their fixation on the health care law. But they never do. Even in the wake of the last Supreme Court decision, it looks like the Republicans are hatching another crazy can't possibly work plan to take down the law.

It is not just health care. It is everything. Republicans still resist admitting that the Iraq War was a disaster. They won't acknowledge the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. Nothing that has happened with the economy or deficit (or even Kansas' stark example) has gotten the party as a whole to back away from its disastrous economic theories. If retreating from a decision is not an option, it is impossible for Republicans to ever learn from their mistakes. And so instead they just stay on course, loudly proclaiming they are right no matter what the evidence says, even as they sail into another catastrophe.

That's why I think Chris Christie announced his bid for the presidency today. The past year has made it abundantly clear that he will never be President. But he won't acknowledge that, he can't. That would be a retreat. So instead he will charge forward and ruin whatever is left of his already tattered legacy.