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Elections in the six-year of a president's time in office typically produce congressional gains for the political party out of the White House. But the on-going Republican civil war could make 2014 an outlier.

Not that Democrats are likely to win back control of the House of Representatives. Although some in the GOP feared citizen anger over the government shutdown that the party engineered in November might put their majority there at risk, that concern has subsided somewhat given the fallout from the botched roll-out of the exchanges in the Affordable Care Act. But if continuing improvements in the government's healthcare.gov website continue and more and more Americans discover that Republican propaganda about the ACA doesn't mesh with their personal reality, the party could find itself losing instead of gaining seats even if it ultimately keeps its hands on the House tiller.

The situation is leading some Republicans to take the view that a modest, blunder-avoiding agenda is the smart move. Paul Kane writes at the Washington Post:

“Look, we don’t want to be the obstructionists,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who in October refused to vote to keep the government open if it funded the health-care law, said Wednesday in an interview.

Massie is one of many aggressive conservatives lowering expectations for next year, embracing the realization that their effort to shut down the government as an attack on the ACA was a strategic failure. He is now ready to pass a funding resolution for the rest of 2014 with those health-care funds in it to avoid another political pitfall.

“I’m ready to go with existing law on budget, so that shows you where my expectations are, and I think it’s the best way to avoid a shutdown,” Massie said.

And Speaker John Boehner is expressing caution, too.

Given how fractious the party is, it's no surprise that such views don't sit well with everyone. The depth of the split is illustrated by the fact that Rep. Eric Cantor's "Kids First" cancer research proposal and another proposal to ensure people with pre-existing health conditions could get insurance ran smack dab into opposition in his own party who seemed, amazingly, to view this as Obamacare-Lite. Cantor hopes to get an affirmative vote on the cancer research next week before the holiday recess.

But if that can't be passed, building support for a full-on alternative to the ACA seems out of the question. Same story with much other possible legislation. Not putting forth an aggressive agenda may not be a strategic, election-oriented option in 2014. It may simply be a case of Republicans not being able to agree on anything more than a few scattered bits of legislation. That could make the outcome in November a toss-up.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:50 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  just wanted to say a hearty thanks for all you (28+ / 0-)

    do, congratulations on successfully navigating your recent health problem (take it from one who recently waked a similar road), and enjoy  your quilt.

    It is shocking! I say, shocking! that the GOP will again attempt to do nothing this year. If that nothing includes not shutting down Uncle Sam, so much the better for all of us, even though it might be a tactical advantage to dems in some races.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:01:16 PM PST

  •  Down.In.Flames! (4+ / 0-)
    Not putting forth an aggressive agenda may not be a strategic, election-oriented option in 2014. It may simply be a case of Republicans not being able to agree on anything more than a few scattered bits of legislation. That could make the outcome in November a toss-up.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:18:09 PM PST

    •  There Is an Agenda (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, annieli, gee1, Crashing Vor

      HR 057: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 058: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 059: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 113: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 114: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 115: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 326: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 327: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 328: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 445: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 446: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 447: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 672: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 673: Repeal of the PPACA
      HR 674: Repeal of the PPACA

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:46:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are still unregulated parts (6+ / 0-)

    of women's bodies they can legislate. Don't be surprised when House repubs pass the all-important and long-overdue "Attractive Toenail Polish Act of 2014" on a party line vote.

  •  I have noticed in my own state of WI (12+ / 0-)

    that Republicans appear to have disappeared.  Poof!  They've (for the most part) just shut up and for that I'm grateful.  I'm wondering, however, if they really get how thoroughly disgusted people are with them, although recent polls should give them a clue. They're really going to get hammered if they continue to behave like insubordinate jerks and just scream NOOOOOOO at everything proposed, however.  In addition, the fact that they only spent something over 100 days at "work" this past year is going to be used as a bludgeon on them next year during campaign season.  I heard a rep. in the House from MN on Ed Schultz's radio show earlier this week and he explained that what the Republicans count as a "work" day is, for example, showing up for maybe a few hours during the evening for voting and then leaving.  He said they do not discuss or debate anything and count these 2 - 3 hour stints as "work".  Jeebus.  The mind reels at what John Boehner, Eric Cantor and the "gang" think work really is.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:30:18 PM PST

  •  well they are smart and dangerous (3+ / 0-)

    they have nothing -
    they have nothing to lose -
    they are loose cannons - and can shoot you dead anytime.

    Bravo.

  •  God doesn't love me enough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gee1

    for them to SHUT 'ER DOWN!

  •  At least Maynard G. Krebs was (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Polly Syllabic, JeffW, gee1

    kinda' cute...

    Dance lightly upon the Earth, Sing her songs with wild abandon, Smile upon all forms of Life ...and be well.

    by LinSea on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:35:53 PM PST

  •  This is the perfect time for Dems to kick ass.. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, JeffW, gee1, Crashing Vor, divineorder

    ..and head as far left towards the progressive caucus as  possible.

    Expose the GOP for who they are. With a strong move towards OUR goals the GOP will be forced to voice their foul agenda which amounts to empty angry rhetoric with zero solutions or get out of the way and stop obstructing (which I can't see happening)

    People polled don't trust the GOP and their..   policies when they learn what those policies really are.

    Finally it seems the republicans have darn near exhausted the various versions of the lies they once easily got away with.
    GOP memo: ‘Don’t say entitlement reform’

    John Boehner: Republicans Should Be More Sensitive To Women

    Memo to Republican men: Please shut up about rape

    GOP men tutored in running against women

    In the 2014 cycle, there will be at least 10 races where House GOP male incumbents face Democratic women challengers. More races could crop up as the cycle unfolds.
    So if the republicans are now going to keep quiet for fear that if people knew what they are all about they would reject them on the spot, we Dems really must step it up and continue to press forward our agenda even more; leaving no room for the GOP to get away with NOT reacting.
    None of the awful policies that the GOP is really for can be allowed to go unpunished at the polls.

    Chris Christie, like a stand up comedian (Dennis Miller style) has the ability to say one thing but do just the opposite better than many of the other republicans Christie is NOT moderate or "with the people".

    So we must expose him too (since he is prolly going to be used as the GOP mouthpiece more and more) as the pretend moderate he is.

    The establishment  GOP pumped up the the teabaggers, used them for 2010 and now they get no relief from them - imo

    Thx MB
    ...................................

    “Look, we don’t want to be the obstructionists,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who in October refused to vote to keep the government open if it funded the health-care law, said Wednesday in an interview.
    Nope. That's who you are republicans. Every bit of it and worse
    •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
      This is the perfect time for Dems to kick ass and head as far left towards the progressive caucus...
      These guys are just as re-election-corrupt as Republicans.

      I realize there are reasons for them to hold their office besides the ACA -- which is why they blow with the wind. But, most of them are there after the first term because they're drunk on power and everyone leaves a millionaire, compounded yearly.

      They delude themselves that they are making the country a better place.

      Look at the unnecessary soaring income inequality and ridiculous counter-productive defense spending over the past 40 years -- and get back to me.

  •  The strategy is clear IMO (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Crashing Vor, divineorder

    We don't let them do nothing.  Obama and Reid should demand a bunch of things (sequester relief, food stamp and unemployment insurance extensions and increased revenue), and let the GOP know that they will fix any bill that is passed to the Senate to include these things.

    Let the GOP shut down the government over this.  They will take the blame for any shutdown, as people always blame the anti-gov't party for shutting down the government.

    Don't call these racist thugs the tea party, they are *teabaggers*! Please don't insult the original Tea Party as they were patriots. Call them TeaBaggers!

    by TeaBaggersAreRacists on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:04:37 PM PST

    •  House won't pass anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      because the GOPers can't agree on much of anything except "we hate Obama." So the Democratic strategy may have to focus on passing a lot of good proposals through the Senate, and then demanding that Boehner put them up for a vote in the House -- not because they'll get passed, but to put Democrats on record as supporting them and the GOP as the "party of no."

      I also think there is a fair amount of leverage in the sequester, which as I understand it in 2014 hits primarily the Pentagon budget and will therefore trigger a huge lobbying surge. All the Democrats in the Senate have to do is say "not so fast, we'd rather keep the sequester as it is," and watch them squirm.

  •  "Aggressive conservative" seems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    like an oxymoron.

  •  Why ARE the stars in the GOP cult symbol... (0+ / 0-)

    Upside down of the stars in any US flag, including the Confederate Traitor flag?

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:43:07 PM PST

  •  Really, it's over for the GOP in 2014 (0+ / 0-)

    They've choked themselves off from saving the lives of the American people by providing them with human rights. The Ruplicans roll with death.

    Greg Sargent has a piece about this in WAPO today.

    Keep watching. You'll see it for yourself.

  •  Wish Dems would take the inequality meme and run (0+ / 0-)

    on it. PCCC is pushing for that. Might make the diff in the mid-terms. Millions are hurting, now's the time imo.

    Reich's film, Inequality for All, has been a stunning success.

    The subject of the hit doc "Inequality for All," Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Labor, and its director Jake Kornbluth speak with THR aboutthe film, which won a special jury prize at Sundance and has grossed over $1 million.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:56:31 PM PST

  •  ACA is a Republican Plan (1+ / 0-)

    Developed by GOP think tanks (before they went nuts), implemented first by the GOP Governor Romney in MA (before he went nuts) and introduced nationally by centrist-bipartisan-play-nice Obama. Obama of course couldn't know that Republicans went all nuts because he is black and because they feel entitled to the White House and obstruct anything not coming from them. But this is the truth. Republicans should all eventually support ACA. The Democratic solution would be to have a public option/expanding Medicare. Given the continued problems and rising costs we will eventually end up with such a system.

  •  You never know (0+ / 0-)

    There's still plenty of time for Ted Cruz to come up with another amazingly good idea and lead the Republicans to a 2014 Waterloo.

    One can hope, anyway..

  •  I just wrote my Dem. Senator Debbie Stabenow to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    complain about her support to cut another 8 billion in SNAP.
    Part of the stuff you have to enter to send a e mail is name address. etc. When it got to the part of my phone number and email I told them to ask NSC, to my  surprise it went through.

  •  Self-fulfilling prophecy. (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans will continue to tell us that things will go wrong. When things go right, they will say, "See, we told you so."

    We can discuss this and wonder what to do about that, but in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is voter turnout. Ya CAIN'T go to the dance if you AIN'T bought your ticket! Go team go.

    by franklyn on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:26:01 PM PST

  •  Yebbut... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    ...there was reporting today or yestiddy that there are a dozen or more Deranged Nutcases in the House who are salivating over the chance to shut down the Ebel Commie Guvmint again in January... Stock up on popcorn.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:42:55 PM PST

  •  Shutdown (0+ / 0-)

    Actually, the plan in the House is starting to look like swallowing hard and passing a clean CR, knowing Democrats will never go for it.

    Then they can do to us what we did to them and say Democrats want to shut the government down because they don't respect the law of the land (BCA).

    It is extremely cynical but could be very potent.

    Everyone around here is dismissing the possibility that the House passes a clean CR, but that is the "Do no harm" route more and more Republicans are coming around to.

  •  Doing nothing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rolfyboy6, a2nite

    Now there's a radical move. Who'd've seen that coming?

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:59:21 PM PST

  •  Stupid is to the bone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    They are stupid.   I know that comes a shock to everybody.  They go down the same tunnel even when there's no cheese down it.

    "Stupid is repeating the same action while expecting a different result"

    "It's too LATE to stop now!" - John Lee Hooker

    by Rolfyboy6 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 08:43:45 PM PST

  •  I don't trust the Republicons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    They'll probably screw around until near the time they're due to close for the elections and then put through bills for just about everything they've been sitting on.  Then they can tell voters "look what we did" and unknowledgeable Republicon voters will fall for it.  

    As for another shutdown I hope they learned their lesson but we'll see.  I also can't wait to see how they're going to spin ACA as it gets more acceptable and more people find out that it's good for them.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

    by Rosalie907 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 08:49:49 PM PST

  •  How schadenfreudelicious (0+ / 0-)

    to be able to type (in the voice of Jeb Bush)

    "I don't belong to any organized party...I am a Republican."

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:02:57 AM PST

  •  Help (Please) (0+ / 0-)

    Please help us put pressure on our Governor (Robert Bentley) to expand Medicaid (please use the phone number) Phone 334.242.7100 or fax 334.353.0004 governor.alabama.gov/contact/ Please support the citizens of Ala. (Medicaid expansion) please sign the petition www.crumpton2014.com/governor-bentle…

    Here's his facebook page also (let him have it) https://www.facebook.com/...

    Thank you

  •  They are running sacred (0+ / 0-)

    Face it, Republicans got a brief reprieve because of the roll out.  But just like Romney's first debate "win" that reprieve is fading fast.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:05:23 AM PST

    •  Scared I meant (0+ / 0-)

      Republicans are spinning like a top now.  They have nothing left.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:08:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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