Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Party of No

In the nearly 15 months since the 111th Congress was sworn in, the GOP has become known as the Party of No – no ideas, no votes, no, no, no. Their electoral plan seems to be to ride “NO!” to a return to prominence. I have serious doubts that this will prove to be a successful strategy.

The funniest thing about all of this, in an ironic way, is that they should be trumpeting the ascendancy of their ideas. They could rightfully claim to be the party of ideas, yet they have decided to go the other way.

Let’s take a quick look at what has happened in this Congress.  

The bailout plan – AARP – Proposed by President George Bush and passed with GOP support. It is now demonized by the very people that put it forward. They have disowned their own idea. Fail.

The stimulus plan – ARRA – Proposed by President Obama and passed with almost no support from GOP lawmakers. There is almost universal support among economists for the view that the stimulus act kept our economy from going into a complete meltdown. A large part of the stimulus act was made up of tax cuts, which was the GOP’s main contribution. Instead of pointing to those tax cuts as the reason for the success of the stimulus act, the GOP is trying to argue, against all of the evidence, that the stimulus didn’t work. Fail

Gitmo – The first steps towards closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were taken by the Bush administration. It was acknowledged by many in that administration, including President Bush, that the camp had become a liability and should be closed. When President Obama attempted to follow through on the closing, the GOP suddenly turned against the idea when they could have pointed out that closing it was a Republican idea. Fail

Unemployment extensions – This one is a little different, but is still an example of message failure on the part of the GOP. Their argument is that any extension should be paid for, either by using unused stimulus funds or other methods. The message isn’t getting across to the public. All regular citizens see is the GOP trying to block unemployment funds. Fail.

Health Care Reform – The big one. The GOP has really screwed up here. The health care reform pushed by Democrats is filled with Republican ideas. The tax on “Cadillac” health plans and the individual mandate are two examples put forward by Republicans. Several years ago, Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch put forward a proposal for an individual mandate. John McCain ran on that proposal last year. Yet now, the GOP has tried to distance themselves from the whole thing. The current health care bill is modeled on Romney Care, the Massachusetts health care system, yet Romney is trying desperately to distance himself from it.  Instead of taking the opportunity to say, “Look, we have great ideas. They are so good that the Democrats are trying to steal credit for them,” they are saying, “Oh, no. These aren’t our ideas.” Big Fail.

When the current economic crisis was at its worst last fall, Republicans complained about propping up the banking sector. At least, they’ve tried to hang that around the Democrats necks. Now that there is a proposal to pass some legislation to prevent the necessity of future bailouts, they are fighting it. Fail.

In every one of those cases, the GOP could have gained a lot of credit for putting forward ideas that were adopted by the Democrats. Instead, they’ve either denied they had the idea in the first place or say they’ve changed their minds about them. A casual observer could be forgiven for wondering, “WTF is wrong with these people?”

Normally, I would be leery about writing something like this. I’d be afraid of giving the other side any ideas. It’s why I would never write something like, “The terrorists are stupid. They should be targeting blank“. However, looking at the GOP’s track record gives me some assurance they wouldn’t adopt this approach no matter how wise it might be. From all indications, they are going to double-down on the stupid for the next few months. Only another beating at the polls will get them to step back and reassess their tactics.

It’s going to be a fun 7 months between now and early November.


  1. HappyinVT

    I’d say probably not given Sen. Lugar’s support.

    The Republicans have put themselves in a tight position, however.  How are they going to work with the president or Congressional Dems in any meaningful way given the rhetoric of the past year?  Are they going to successfully side with big banks and billion-dollar bonuses in the name of free market principles?  Of course, I read at TPM that Michelle Bachmann said that “100% of the economy was private before September 2008” so who knows what they’ll come up with.

    It also seems like the “repeal it” movement is causing some fractures amongst the Republicans as candidates are being challenged to sign on to a repeal pledge.  Mike Castle in DE has said trying to repeal the health care bill would be a waste of time with a Democratic president in office.  His primary challenger disagrees.  Who will win that argument may decide who the Republican candidate is and, ultimately, who the next Senator from DE is.  I hope Joe kept close in his DE home ’cause I figure he’ll be there campaigning a lot in the fall.

    I think I’m all over the place with this comment and I’m not even multi-tasking but I think I’m taking a really long time to say that the Republicans have been, and continue to be, very short-sighted on their strategy.  I sense panic mode.

  2. DTOzone

        * January 29, 2009: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act- “Equal Pay”

       * February 4, 2009: Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act- “SCHIP”

       * February 17, 2009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act- “Stimulus”

       * March 11, 2009: Omnibus Appropriations Act

       * March 30, 2009: Omnibus Public Land Management Act,

       * April 21, 2009: Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act- “AmeriCorps expansion/re-authorization”

       * May 20, 2009: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act- helping home foreclosures, though not a resounding success

       * May 22, 2009: Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act- Reforming Pentagon contracts

       * May 22, 2009: Credit CARD Act- Credit Card Reform

       * June 22, 2009: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act- Tobacco Regulation

       * June 24, 2009: Supplemental Appropriations Act, including the Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers)

       * October 28, 2009: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,

       * November 6, 2009: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act- Homebuyers’ tax credit

       * February 12, 2010: Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act- “pay as you go rules”

       * March 4, 2010: Travel Promotion Act- tourist promotion

       * March 18, 2010: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act- “jobs bill”

       * March 23, 2010: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- “universal health care”

       * March/April, 2010: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010- “better UHC, student loan reform”

    You know, in case some PUMA wants to tell you he’s a do-nothing President and this is a do-nothing Congress, there’s a list to make them eat.  

  3. HappyinVT

    it seems to have some tie-in.

    The dissatisfaction with Washington sweeping through politics is not only threatening the Democratic majority in Congress, it is also roiling Republican primaries. The Tea Party movement and advocacy groups on the right are demanding that candidates hew strictly to their ideological standards, and are moving aggressively to cast out those they deem to have strayed, even if only by participating in the compromises of legislating.

    There is no bigger quarry in the eyes of many conservative activists than Mr. [Bob] Bennett, who has drawn seven challengers and will not know for six weeks whether he will even qualify for the ballot. His fate is being watched not only by grass-roots conservatives testing their ability to shape the party, but also by many elected Republicans in Washington who are wondering, If Bob Bennett is not conservative enough, who is?


    [Bennett’s] own polling shows him in third place, he said, trailing “Anybody-but-Bennett and Undecided.” He said he knew that a tough fight for re-election awaited him after he voted for the bank bailout in 2008 and a few days later walked into a town meeting and “it was through clinched teeth that they welcomed me.”

    When Sen. Bennett of Utah isn’t conservative enough, who is?  I doubt anyone thinks Utah is going blue in the mid-terms but the success of a Tea Party candidate would embolden Tea Partiers in other states and potentially help the Democrats who are looking vulnerable right now.  It also means those Republicans who are worried about challenges from the Right will have to head (further) right to win the primary.  All makes for a very interesting mid-term election season.

  4. Shaun Appleby

    Has seen the disintegration of anything resembling policy or leadership in the Republican Party beyond my wildest expectations.  Not only have they embraced the “party of no” narrative but they have telegraphed a posture which encourages the widespread and damaging perception of a ‘broken’ Washington be directed at themselves.  

    They have staked their prospects on obstructing anything Democrats seek to do just in time for financial regulatory and education reform, which in saner times would probably have enjoyed broad bipartisan and electoral support.  They seem to have forgotten that independent voters are the key to winning elections.

    How they wriggle out of this current mess is hard to imagine.

  5. From: “Tea Party Nation”

    To: “Chris Blask”

    A message to all members of Tea Party Nation

    Fox News Story – Bill Hemrick

    Some of you may have heard about or read the recent article regarding Bill Hemrick filing a lawsuit against TPN Founder and President, Judson Phillips.  For those of you who have not, the article can be found at:

    Judson has not been served yet; however, I wish to address the inaccuracies in this article.

    1. Bill Hemrick was never a donor to the National Tea Party Convention.  Mr. Hemrick was one of two people who loaned $25,000 to Tea Party Nation.  This loan was made to TPN at a substantial interest rate and has been paid back in full. Nowhere in the promissory note does it state anything other than each lender would lend TPN $25,000, the interest rate to be paid and the date it would be paid back.

    2. Mr. Hemrick was approved by the Washington Speakers Bureau as a lending source for the convention and nothing more.  

    3. Tea Party Nation does not have a PAC.  There are many new PAC’s which have been formed in the wake of the tea party movement, including one formed by Mr. Hemrick.

    4. Anthony Shreeve was a minor participant in the early planning stages of the convention. He has little to no knowledge of the day-to-day workings of TPN or the convention.

    5. No funds from the convention were directed to anyone’s personal Paypal account.  That is a false accusation.  TPN has a Paypal Merchant account where all Paypal payments are made and then transferred to the TPN bank account.  The email address is for notification only and has nothing to do with personal finances.

    6. The idea that TPN made between $100,000 and $200,000 on the Nashville convention is completely false. The truth is a few days prior to the convention, we broke even in our accounting.

    If Mr. Hemrick truly cares about the Tea Party movement, as stated in this article, perhaps he should be spending his money and his time in a more productive manner than filing a lawsuit which has no merit.

    We want to assure our members that our priority is the growth and success of this movement.

    May God bless you all in your efforts. We ask that you pray He will watch over us during this time.

    Thank you.

    Sherry Phillips

    Vice President

    Tea Party Nation

    Visit Tea Party Nation at:

  6. Shaun Appleby

    Steele rebuffs Kaine on mutual statement on violence:

    The Democratic National Committee says that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has declined to sign on to a joint statement written by DNC Chairman Tim Kaine that condemns threats made to members of Congress from both parties. The draft text of the statement says that while Steele and Kaine disagree on the health care bill, they would “together call on elected officials of both parties to set an example of the civility we want to see in our citizenry” and ask “all Americans to respect differences of opinion, to refrain from inappropriate forms of intimidation, to reject violence and vandalism, and to scale back rhetoric that might reasonably be misinterpreted by those prone to such behavior.”

    Christina Bellantoni – Steele Declines To Sign DNC ‘Joint Civility Statement’ TPM 26 Mar 10

    Like, what part of ‘no’ don’t you understand, Tim?

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Republicans are not going to be able to keep this up:

    GOP Senator Bob Corker was emphatic on Wednesday that Republicans missed a big opportunity to influence what is perhaps the most ambitious financial reform bill to pass through the Senate since the Great Depression.


    “We had an opportunity to pass out a bill out of our committee in a bipartisan way, and then stand on the Senate floor and hold hands and say that we would keep amendments that were unnecessary and improper from coming onto this bill,” Corker said. “Instead of that, it’s been decided that we are going to try to negotiate now …

    “I think it’s going to be far more difficult now that this has passed out of committee … I think we have made a very, very large mistake, and I regret that.”

    Shahien Nasiripour and Ryan Grim – Sen. Bob Corker ‘Abandoned’ By GOP Leadership Over Bank Reform Outreach Huffington Post 26 Mar 10

    How long can this go on?  Their own delegation is going to start cracking up about it.

  8. DTOzone

    the media is spending the day following Sarah Palin around like a lost puppy.

    This morning MSNBC did a 30 second package of the President’s weekly address, 90 seconds on McConnell’s response and the rest of the day is Palinmania.  

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