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Speaker of the House John Boehner (L) listens to House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R) discussing the Balanced Budget Amendment, which is scheduled to be considered on the floor of the House next week, at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washingt
Former Republican Congressman Vin Weber sums up the Republican 2014 mindset:
“If you’re a Republican in Congress, you’ve learned that when we shut down the government, we lose. Now that we’ve had some success in avoiding another shutdown, our fortunes seem to be rising, so maybe we don’t want big things to happen.”
You know you've hit bottom when you think avoiding a shutdown is an accomplishment about which to be proud. In any normal time, people would laugh at you if you said you deserved credit as true leader because you voted against a catastrophic default, but that's exactly what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing now, saying that he deserves praise for folding his bluff to block an increase in the debt limit. But now, people (wrongly) give him credit for not actually following through on his threat to wreak economic havoc on America.

And this mindset is exactly where House Republicans think they need to be in order to hang onto their majority. For example:

“We’re not going to make ourselves the story,” Boehner said in a speech to his colleagues Tuesday, before moving to pass a “clean” debt-ceiling extension — one without strings attached.
Raising the debt limit should be a humdrum occurrence. Not something that you tout as a great act of leadership. But as this quote suggests, Republicans really do seem content to run on the "we didn't do anything else that was really awful, besides that one awful thing we did" platform:
“We don’t have 218 votes in the House for the big issues, so what else are we going to do?” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), an ally of House Speaker John A. Boehner. “We can do a few things on immigration and work on our principles, but in terms of real legislating, we’re unable to get in a good negotiating position.”
But here's the thing. Republicans have refused to extend emergency unemployment benefits. They've refused to raise the minimum wage. They've refused to pass any sort of jobs bill. They've refused to do anything on immigration reform. And even if they don't shut the government down again, that doesn't change the fact that they did shut it down—and that their refusal to move forward on anything else is reflection of that same mindset, tempered only slightly by the politically motivated fear of certain defeat.

What this means is that 2014 is shaping up to be a different year than 2010. For Republicans, 2010 was all about riding the tea party wave. But now that the tea party is broadly unpopular, 2014 is all about keeping the tea party under the radar as much as possible. But it's still there. And it's still a big political vulnerability.

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Comment Preferences

  •  GOP's new motto: Let It Slide (11+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:18:03 PM PST

    •  They have "do nothing" down to a science. (9+ / 0-)

      Which, come to think of it, is as close as they're likely to get to science on any topic.

      I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

      by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:19:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OF course, step two after "Do Nothing" (10+ / 0-)

        is always "Get complacent MSM to blame 'both sides'".

        Then watch as the Democratic party responds to the charges of not being "Bi-partisan" by giving the Rethugs 90% of what they want.

        Rinse, Repeat...


        I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

        by detroitmechworks on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:26:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They don't need to do anything (0+ / 0-)

        That's the horrible and frustrating thing about our 2 party political system. No matter how bad or incoherent their message is, the Republicans are still one of only 2 choices. And voters in this country vote against the politician or the political party that annoys them most, not for the candidate or political party they like. So Republicans don't even need to be liked by the electorate in order to win elections. They only need to offer an alternative for those people who are frustrated with the current state of affairs.

        Democrats need to offer better solutions for young people in order to beat the do-nothing conservatives. Just defending social security and Medicare and the existing safety net is completely insufficient when senior citizens (who receive most of those benefits) have already decided en masse to support the reactionary party.

        You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

        by mstep on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:54:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My sympathies... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    john07801, commonmass

    ...lie elsewhere.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:18:05 PM PST

  •  They do nothing and did the shutdown. (7+ / 0-)

    People will vote for them in droves in this coming election.

    You get the government you deserve: anti-progressive, anti-union, anti-science, pro-one-percenters, and reactionary as hell. Don't bother figuring it out. And don't bother "debating" them.

    Just be determined as ever to outnumber them.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:20:45 PM PST

  •  I have such a long memory, I should be an elephant (5+ / 0-)

    but as life would have it, I'm a jackass instead.

    Newt Gingrich played this game in the 90's. Twice. It's nothing new.

    Minority parties (and even though they have the House, they don't have the Senate and they don't have the White House) often behave badly, and even worse when they gain the majority.

    There is, indeed, nothing new under the sun as far as the GOP is concerned.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:20:51 PM PST

  •  Democrats Campaign on the Shutdown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mchestnutjr, commonmass

    Well obviously Democrats should campaign on the shutdown instead of letting voters forget. And campaign on the rest of the Republican agenda being just slightly lazier than the shutdown: doing nothing for years.

    If Democrats don't do this obvious campaigning, then we can hardly blame only Republicans if Republicans fill offices. Because it will be Democrats partnering with Republicans to do nothing and shutdown the government with laziness or worse.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:20:56 PM PST

  •  Republicans...a party in search of a reason.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, JeffW
  •  "Vote Republican... (6+ / 0-)

    ...We're Fucking Up Less Now"

    Nobody doesn't wish he had more education.

    by john07801 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:25:55 PM PST

  •  Nothing New Here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, here4tehbeer, JeffW

    Scorched Earth, then hope for voter amnesia. As someone has said, if we don't vote, we lose.

    "Obama inherited so much Republican-strewn garbage, it makes my head spin to think about it." Bill in Portland, Maine

    by wild hair on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:26:34 PM PST

  •  nononono (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, mchestnutjr, patbahn, JeffW, Janet 707

    They are not doing nothing. They are building a narrative on the state level. They are dominating state politics while Dems bask in national complacency

  •  2010, 2014 have one thing in common (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    GOP must deceive everyone about their intentions in order to win.

    Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

    by blue aardvark on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:33:57 PM PST

  •  Quibble (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Houses in Motion, JeffW
    Republicans have refused to extend emergency unemployment benefits. They've refused to raise the minimum wage. They've refused to pass any sort of jobs bill. They've refused to do anything on immigration reform.
    True, but this is perfectly consistent with what their base wants (no new spending).  We should stop trying to see Republican accomplishments or lack thereof through the (accurate) lens of what WE think would be good for the country.

    Instead, see it from their perspective:  cut spending and cut taxes.  A government governs best that governs least.  Taxed enough already.

    They've prevented safety net increases, sure.  But other than the sequester, what have they cut?  Obamacare funding is still flowing, the depts. of Commerce, Education and (oops) Energy still exist, and the CFPB hasn't been dismantled.

    Teabaggers haven't gotten what they wanted and they're mad because they think "the people" are on their side and that Dems should have folded by now for some reason.  Dems haven't, so they blame Boehner and McConnell for the wrong reasons.

    I'm hoping for a split between extreme right-wingers who understand how the US Government works and extreme right-wingers who don't.

    First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

    by Cream Puff on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:34:22 PM PST

  •  Doing what they were elected to do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are doing exactly what they were elected to do.  

  •  New slogan (0+ / 0-)

    We are totally ineffective, vote for us!

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:35:18 PM PST

  •  Do you really think that most voters will remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebrann, dfarrah

    about the shutdown or even care about it?  

    All they will care about is if they have jobs and money in their pockets the week before they go to vote.  

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:35:32 PM PST

    •  Nope, and nope (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jefecuatro, ebrann

      And, lucky sonsofbitches that the Republicans are, the librul media will completely and totally forget about it, too. If there is something brought up about Republican negligence, you can bet there will be three Republican voices for every Democratic one on the teevee shows, and the moderator will shrug, say "We'll have to leave it there," and then hold forth on what a conundrum all this back-and-forth is, and the truth just might lie somewhere in the middle.

      Then the ghost of David Broder will sink back into the studio floor, sated that both sides are to blame.

  •  I think the NYT will need to plagiarize... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think the NYT will need to plagiarize you come September or October.
    This is like getting the NEWS 7 or 8 months in advance:

    2014 is shaping up to be a different year than 2010. For Republicans, 2010 was all about riding the tea party wave. But now that the tea party is broadly unpopular, 2014 is all about keeping the tea party under the radar as much as possible. But it's still there. And it's still a big political vulnerability.

    Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

    by olo on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:36:40 PM PST

  •  Republicans don't believe in Government! (5+ / 0-)

    Why don't the Republicans come out and say what they really think?  It should not be a vote for every dollar that they pay in taxes.  If Republicans had their way, they would make it a vote for every dollar that they avoid paying in taxes!

    Republicans don't serve in the armed services, that's for "other people".  Ask Dick Cheney.  He had four student deferments and more important things to do while his generation was fighting in Vietnam.

    Republicans don't believe in paying taxes.  They think that the only good tax policies are the ones that reward the job creators and the energy companies.

    Republicans don't think that government should provide welfare to people in need.  Government should provide corporations with tax breaks and incentives.  Tax policies should not enable individuals to help themselves avoid poverty.  Tax policies should reward the wealthy who can never have enough wealth.

    Republicans don't think that government should be involved in building infrastructure to created highways, bridges, airports and high speed rail.  Republicans think that giving more money to corporations to pay their top executives will allow a few dollars to trickle down into an improved society for the little people.

    Republicans don't believe that government should exist to regulate electronic data communication, television, wireless and enhance development.  Republicans think that just getting out of the way of the natural monopolies will cause business to want to improve their services.

    Tom Tomorrow's cartoon is a great example of what happens when One Rich Guy gets everything, and he is the poster boy of a Republican World.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:38:06 PM PST

  •  Need to go low tech. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patbahn, JeffW

    How much would it cost to buy a billboard in Boehner's district that kept track of the number of Jobs bills he allowed to go to a vote? (The number is zero, by the way.)

    Okay...10,000 a month (high end) X 6 months = 60,000 dollars.  That's not much to continually shame an asshole like Boehner.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:44:52 PM PST

  •  Democratic 2014 Plan: DO Nothing and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, JeffW

    hope the voters will "forget" about our crappy economy, blame the GOP for all of our problems, and please let the Fat Man be the GOP candidate for POTUS.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:47:08 PM PST

  •  Are there any polls (0+ / 0-)

    that indicate a shellacking of the repubs?

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:00:46 PM PST

  •  Depression is setting in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mchestnutjr, patbahn

    The odds are the Republicans will take the Senate in 2014, and it's all but foregone that they will retain the House. Only a major Democratic off-year turnout can reverse this outcome.

    I see no reason for optimism. Obama has never shown any leadership on issues which would generate much enthusiasm among the base, and he has six years of glacially slow growth in the economy working against Democratic candidates up and down the line.

    I'd love to believe everyone will remember the shutdown in November, but those who do will be the ones who welcomed it in the first place.

    Ben Gozzi? Wasn't he that guy Hillary hired to kill Vince Foster?

    by ebrann on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:10:40 PM PST

  •  Here's how president Obama sabotages his party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The president will likely include Chained CPI cut to Social Security in his upcoming 2015 budget proposal due out March 4 - unless he's
    convinced to do otherwise.

    There are currently 3 letters circulating through Congress advising the president not to include Chained CPI in his budget.  Should Obama foolishly ignore these calls,  he will enable a republican takeover of the Senate this fall.

    Social Security Works, Credo, Moveon and many other organizations are working hard on this.

    President Obama is dead weight X1000.
    President Obama wants his Social Security cuts.

  •  Nothing but trouble (0+ / 0-)

    The GOP's idea of doing nothing has gotten us into a whole lot of trouble.

  •  the real drooling conservatives deny the shutdown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707

    they claim "Obama and Reid shutdown the government".

  •  We won't shit the bed again! Where's our parade? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Like spoiled, psychotic kids who expect lavish praise for doing the bare-bones basics of human beings. ("Mom mom mom, I didn't hit Grandma for not giving me enough birthday money! Aren't you proud of me?")

    So now Little Johnny and his gang want to be rewarded for NOT shutting down the entire country in a temper tantrum.

    The only reward they deserve is out behind the woodshed - because that's where the voting booths are.

    Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

    by gardnerhill on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:44:41 PM PST

  •  There shouldn't be a debt limit at all. (0+ / 0-)
    Raising the debt limit should be a humdrum occurrence.
    A law that say there's a point where we have to stop paying our bills?  Unconstitutional.  

    Getting control of overspending has to happen BEFORE we run up the credit card.  Once the charges are on there, we gotta pay 'em.  That's the way it works at my house.

    The debt limit is stupid and useless (except for political grandstanding) and should just be totally repealed.

    This .signature unintentionally left blank.

    by Avast Ye Swobbie on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:10:28 PM PST

  •  "We're not going to make ourselves the story" (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Boehner, you wish.  

    Every time one of your Tea Partying cohorts open his mouth you make yourselves the story, whether it's about lady bits, teh gays, teh poors yada-yada-yada.

    It doesn't matter WHAT the subject is, you and yours ALWAYS make yourselves the story with your lame ass remarks.

    You better brace yourselves for a whole lotta ugly comin' at you from a neverending parade of stupid. - Motormouth Maybelle, Hairspray 2007 -

    by FlamingoGrrl on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:54:06 PM PST

  •  The insanity of the infighting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The "sane" members of the GOP are desperately trying to keep the teabaggers from blowing up the whole show. It was characters like Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert that thought that shutting down the government and threatening to welsh on the debt would be a good idea.

    And just last week, Cruz made a filibuster threat, raised the vote threshold to raise the debt ceiling from 50 to 60 votes, and forced several Republicans to vote with the Democrats to keep the country from blowing up.

    And this is why, according to ABC's Jonathan Karl, Ted Cruz is so hated by his fellow Republicans that, in Karl's words, he "needs a food taster."

    Pass the popcorn!

  •  John Boehner is Delusional (0+ / 0-)

    People out of Work are NOT going to forget WHO it was
    that REFUSED to extend unemployment compensation.

    Free Clue for the GOPee: A LOT of those folks that are
    out of work are members of YOUR Party.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:41:39 PM PST

  •  Playing Whack-a-Mole with the Tea Party (0+ / 0-)

    As hard as the RINO side of the Republican party tries, they will repeatedly fail to suppress the Teapublicans.

  •  So basically we are paying them a generous salary (0+ / 0-)

    and benefits and pensions to do absolutely nothing when this country needs them to be working 24/7 to get things lovely for us.....

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