Posts tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

Econ 101 for Republicans

Republican economic theory (theology?) relies on two beliefs or tenants. The first is that if you cut taxes there will be new investment by businesses and corporations, and with that, jobs and wage growth. The second is that this increased economic activity will actually grow the treasury’s coffers, paying for themselves. This effect when applied to the impacts of a tax cut is called dynamic scoring. See, the tax cut will cost x, but the result will be y additional income to the treasury or so the theory goes. The first one could be true in certain circumstances and the second one is demonstrably false. But that is what their whole approach to the economy is made up of. Oh sure fewer regulations, but that is really a subset of the first tenant and when you add the secondary costs, like damage to environment, death and dismemberment, and loss of rights for workers, the cost are usually more than the benefits.

Let’s go after the first tenant, cutting taxes creates jobs and stimulates the economy. Well there are times when that actually helps, not as much as actual increases in government spending (a tax cut has the same effect on balance sheet of the Treasury as increased government spending), but it helps and it can be faster than government spending. Economic theory and practice have shown us that after a recession or even during one, with high unemployment, making money available to corporations and businesses in the form of a tax cut does stimulate growth. It is a tool Republicans favor because they don’t believe in direct government spending in things we need like infrastructure and R&D, and want to give it to corporations and businesses (and people) to decide for themselves.

Two things you need to ask yourself here. First are we coming out of a recession, and how high is unemployment? The answer which conservative economist Bruce Bartlett gave us the other day was neither apply as corporations are already awash in record profits, and the unemployment numbers tell us we are almost at full employment. Second, one thing we know for sure is money given to the middle and lower classes is generally spent, while money given to wealthy is much less effective. Where was the emphasis in the current tax bill? Oh, the wealthy. There are great debates about whether direct spending by government is far more effective in these times to create real demand through jobs and wages. But we have some empirical data from Governor Brownback and the Kansas experience where they slashed taxes, little change in jobs or wages, and the state went into massive debt, defunding education to help balance the books.

The bottom line on the first tenant, is that if used judiciously at the appropriate time in the economy (not now) it might help. But considering the infrastructures needs across the country, the money would have a much higher multiplication factor (return on investment; every $1 spent creates say $1.5 of increased activity in the economy), and we would create jobs, higher wages, and invest in our future. The money they are going to spend paying off their wealthy donors, in other words, is going into a big hole.

Okay, tenant number two, that cutting taxes pays for itself (dynamic scoring) is fairly straight forward, it has never worked. Oh sure there might me some increased revenue if the tax cuts were properly targeted to the middle class, but nowhere near the income to make up for the spending. “Assessing the House version of the plan and accounting for the economic growth its tax cuts would induce, the analysts found that growth would offset only about 12 percent of the plan’s cost over the first decade. After an initial economic boost, bigger deficits and rising interest rates would drag on the economy.” Here is another well research source that can find no pay for itself effect in Vanity Fair. But hey, get it from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation and note they still used very optimistic growth rates.

So there you have it. Or as conservative economist Bruce Bartlett said, “…virtually everything Republicans say about taxes today is hogwash.” So we are going to take a big hit. Get ready. And what is next? This from Paul Ryan in the NYT this morning:

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other Republicans are beginning to express their big dreams publicly, vowing that next year they will move on to changes in Medicare and Social Security. President Trump told a Missouri rally last week, “We’re going to go into welfare reform.”

That’s right. When the numbers don’t add up and the Treasury starts going in the red, they will all of a sudden care about the deficit again and go after the programs that we need most. Maybe that was their game all along. We are in for hard times ahead, but as I told my son who works in the school district in San Diego and is afraid the new tax bill that eliminated his tax deduction for interest on loans and cut the deduction for state and local taxes that school districts depend on could bankrupt him, Conservatism is like cancer. The treatment to cure it if it can be cured almost kills us. That is where we are at. The great Kansas Experiment has moved to the national stage, and we will see the same results. Think you might get out and vote in 2018?

Happy Friday!

On this Friday morning I am in Paso Robles, CA, for some serious wine tasting and gazing at the hills, maybe work in a quick trip to the ocean for drinks overlooking the surf.  Time is short and one has to seize every second.  Carpé Diem!

I am down here with some friends who have similar political thoughts and the one that just floors us is why did not the rest of the nation know?  Cheeto-Head is a small ignorant man, or more to the point, here is a man who lied repeatedly and was called out on it, had no coherent policies unless you consider really big, and great as policies, showed ignorance on most issues, and admitted to being a sexual abuser, and almost half of America elects him.  Now they are surprised that he cannot govern?

Actually one has to wonder how most Americans could not figure out that Republicans in general cannot govern.  The reason is simple.  Over the last eight years they became ideological hacks who could only prevent others from governing.  They were so busy saying no to Obama’s rehashed Republican ideas (Obamacare is a Heritage Society idea), that they became impractical ideologues where small government and tax cuts answer every problem and is to be worshipped at the altar of fealty.  Not having to govern, they built their cathedral around ideas that do not work in the real world.

So here we are with a repeal and replace healthcare bill that is draconian and belies everything Cheeto-Head told his worshippers.  Republicans promise better cheaper plans and seem to have not idea how insurance works.  They want to decimate the EPA that has been protecting the environment, and then there is the Cheeto-Head/Ryan budget.  No they are not the same but both would do equal damage.  For Paul Ryan, his Mary Magdalene is Any Rand.  And once again you have to wonder why half the nation did not see all these lies and oversimplifications that would never work in the real world.

I have a theory about that.  There are a lot of reasons the nation has become so dumbed down we elected a buffoon as a President who embarasses us every day, and they include an insular Democratic Establishment that lost their way (and please don’t bring back Hillary Clinton as a sign you did not get the message).  But the most important reason in my mind is the failure of our press.  What screams out at you is that Republicans are so crazy and everyone pretends they are making sense.  The press lends them credibility by not challenging their craziness and trying to create a false equivalency with Democrats to try to appear balanced.  Paul Krugman makes this point this morning talking about how the press has fawned over Paul Ryan while falling to notice that all his policies are houses of cards:

So how did Mr. Ryan reach a position where his actions may reshape the lives of so many of his fellow citizens, in most cases very much for the worse? The answer lies in the impenetrable gullibility of his base. No, not his constituents: the news media, who made him what he is.

You see, until very recently both news coverage and political punditry were dominated by the convention of “balance.” This meant, in particular, that when it came to policy debates one was always supposed to present both sides as having equally well-founded arguments. And this in turn meant that it was necessary to point to serious, honest, knowledgeable proponents of conservative positions.

Enter Mr. Ryan, who isn’t actually a serious, honest policy expert, but plays one on TV. He rolls up his sleeves! He uses PowerPoint! He must be the real deal! So that became the media’s narrative. And media adulation, more than anything else, propelled him to his current position.

…There’s an important lesson here, and it’s not just about health care or Mr. Ryan; it’s about the destructive effects of false symmetry in reporting at a time of vast asymmetry in reality.

This false symmetry — downplaying the awfulness of some candidates, vastly exaggerating the flaws of their opponents — isn’t the only reason America is in the mess it’s in. But it’s an important part of the story. And now we’re all about to pay the price.

Well there it is.  And yet they continue to do it.  So I am not surprised we are on an uncontrolled sleigh ride to hell.  Me?  I am in Paso Robles with good people tasting wine and living in the moment.  It is all we have. Carpé Diem.

Tough Love

I would argue that Democrats have been their own worst enemy.  Their failure to fully embrace a Progressive future and buying into the Econ 101 arguments of Republicans has left them standing for nothing, Republican Lite so to speak.  Many would argue, they did the best they could in difficult times and change is hard.  I would argue that losing the Presidency, House, Senate and most state houses tells you how well that strategy is working. Note that the Republicans applied a strategy of total obstruction, something our pundits now warn Democrats not to do, and won.  Yes, it was irresponsible government, but in the war of ideas, they won.  And the war of ideas is all that really counts.  So now Republicans have a chance to do what they promised in regard to repealing Obamacare and we have this:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan spoke at length this past week about a three-stage effort: First, with only Republican votes, repeal major parts of the health law and put in place some new provisions. Second, let Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price use regulatory powers to try to stabilize insurance markets. Third, pressure Democrats to help with a series of bills to complete the replacement and change the health care system more to the liking of conservatives.

 

Now if they fall for this, as they are wont to do, they are dead as a Party.  I have argued before and I will again until I am blue in the face, the market place is not the appropriate instrument for healthcare and it will fail.  Democrats “got the best they could get” with Obamacare which Americans began to appreciate in the last couple of years,  but it still was a market placed based insurance system and full of problems.  Now the only way to improve Obamacare is to move toward a single payer system and anything less will be, well, less.  To try to join with Republicans to fix their disastrous replacement plan is to be part of that disaster.  Again, they will be Republican Lite with another failed plan and stand for nothing except bleeding heart fools who enable Republicans.

The Progressives in the Party get this.  The Party Establishment and those still in control miss it entirely.  They think they can just lean a little more left and things will work out fine.  That was Hillary to a T.  She was a package of plans that leaned left, but not a progressive vision.  I don’t fault her for that.  That is how her husband succeeded and how most Democrats see survival in a nation split 50-50.  But as they say, the times they are a changing.  More and more people do not belong to a party.  In fact, most young people think the problem is party politics.  From what I have seen, it is.

So the lesson to me is clear.  Stand for something and don’t compromise for half a loaf (this blog is just full of clichés today).  We either believe in global warming and stand for doing something or not.  No more cowing to coal state Democrats.  We either believe in a woman’s right to choice or not.  We either believe in strengthening our safety nets (Social Security, Food Stamps) or not.  We either believe in a single payer healthcare system or not.  We either believe in investing in our infrastructure and raising taxes to do that or not.  We either believe in higher education affordable to all those who can qualify or not.  So if you stand in the or not column or even the sorta column, get out of the Party.  Big tent my ass.  All a big tent does is make us a mindless mob.

 

UPDATE:  Here is an example in my own backyard of a Democrat who does not get it.

“I’m not here to bash my Republican colleagues. I think they care about this country as much as we do,” Bera said at one point, drawing cries of “No, they don’t!”

“It’s going to take Democrats and Republicans coming together to solve these challenges,” he said, a message met with only scattered applause. “You shouldn’t want the Republicans to do it on their own. You should want to open the conversation.”…

Rick Barreto, the legislative director for the American Postal Workers Local 66 union in Sacramento, criticized Bera for hedging on issues like sanctuary cities to appeal to Republicans in his moderate district, rather than supporting the progressive stances of the Democrats who elected him. Bera won by about 2 percentage points in November.

“Society has moved to the left,” Barreto said, adding that unless Bera “comes home” to his base, “there’s a good chance there will be” a more liberal primary challenger in 2018.

Divide, What Divide?

Rachel Maddow offered up a list of five confirmed Republicans who won’t vote for the Donald and said the only divide is in the minds of Washington Pundits.  Eventually they will all fall in line, because power trumps (no pun intended) party.  Maybe.  But here is an interesting description of the meetings yesterday in Washington:

Mr. Ryan, armed with charts to show the budget process and why he believes cuts to entitlement programs are necessary, made clear to Mr. Trump that while he respected what Mr. Trump had accomplished, there were many voters in the Republican primaries who did not vote for him. His message: Those are voters he must still appeal to.

Others also suggested to Mr. Trump that he needed to tone down his comments. And still others wanted him to back candidates down the ballot. 

It was an indication that Washington was informing Mr. Trump of their requirements.  There was nothing there (that I have read) that indicates they were listening.  As much as I dislike Trump and the knuckle heads who follow him, he hit a nerve the Republican Party is oblivious to. He threw away the code, which the base preceived as honesty, described himself as a successful business man who gets things done and said he would do something about their plight as middle class Americans.  He even took some liberal positions on minimum wage (sort of), trade policy, entitlements, and tax policy (sort of).  It turns out that for the Republican base, liberal racism seems to work quite well.

What establishment Republicans want is for him to recode the racism, and drop the very things that would help the working class.  Republicans, because of their ideology, work in a very tight box and there is no outside the box thinking because that is heresy.  Now let’s get real here for a second.  Mr. Trump has said he wants to tax the rich, but then submitted a tax plan that bankrupts the country cutting their taxes. Mr. Trump has said we might need to raise wages and then backtracked on it. 

Mr. Trump has said things on gays, transgenders, and a woman’s right to choose that set him apart from Neanderthal positions of the Right. Mr. Trump has claimed he owes nothing to the money people, yet he is now turning to them for the general election.  So he has lots of wiggle room there to be a con artist like the rest of them.  But on entitlements and trade policy, not to mention immigration, he has been firm and all these go against the Republican elders.  Why would he give up on those when those are the poitions that got him to the nomination?

The real question is whether there is a divide here or not.  Can Republicans assimilate Mr. Trump or will Mr. Tump assimilate Republicanism.  I think there is a real issue here.  The issue is that Republican economic ideas of worshiping Ayn Rand have failed. The excuse is that Democrats have block them from smaller government, less regulation, and cutting taxes, but the reality is, the people have blocked them.  While the idea sounds good, it is in its implementation and its effects on the middle class that has resulted in the economic inequality that is really the issue. Donald got that and is pandering to that giant hole in Republican economic ideology. Republicans can’t get that because it puts in question their whole ideological edifice.

And the Donald has been successful with their base. So why should he listen? He has won and won big so why should he be lectured by the people who the Republican base rejected?  No, I think there is a divide and the Republican Party, if they sign up for the Donald Train, may be in for a destination they did not count on. So this week has been Kabuki Theater. The Donald is going to be the Donald or cease to exist.  Republicans can either pray to their god of power or their god of ideology, but with the Donald, they can not do both.  But they are going to try to and remember that old phase, divide and conquer?  I believe on one side they have failed ideas, and on the other blatant racism, nativism, and xenophobia, with liberal ideas for white people.  Either way they lose.

Nice-Nice

Well, the Donald and the Republicans are playing nice. Looks good on the telly. But where is the beef? What after they have all spun the nice-nice meetings do you really have? Where do they stand on issues? Donald Trump is a reflection of a failure of Republican policies. Cutting taxes for the wealthy is a basic tenet of Republican ideology and the Donald wants to raise them. Maybe they will use smoke and mirrors to cover this up, but the Donald doesn’t want to cut entitlements, the very heart of Republican ideology to afford their tax cuts on the wealthy. How do you reconcile that?

Donald has promised all these changes in his first 90 days and he doesn’t seem to understand that there are three branches of government, not one. Donald is the dictatorial CEO and the government doesn’t work that way. In fact the Republicans have bemoaned the “imperial presidency” and the Donald is the embodiment of that.  How do they reconcile that?

Republicans, in their more lucid moments, want to somehow bring Latinos back into the party. The Donald wants to build walls and deport everyone. The Donald wants a strong military as all Republicans do, but since they can’t cut entitlements, how are they going to afford it? How about the Muslim ban?  Most non-brain-dead Republicans understand this is trashing the Constitution. How does what the Donald want to do, using big government work with the small government Republicans. How do you reconcile that?

There is no reconciliation, just smoke and mirrors.  The Republican base have rejected a lot of what makes the Republican Party the Republican Party. He does not stand for their core principles.  Now it is damage control.  We have to look like we are on the same page.  Of course that should be no problem for these Republicans.  They have told us they want small government while using government to try to take away rights of those they don’t agree with.  They tell us they want balanced budgets when every budget they propose cuts massive taxes with no way to offset that.  The one thing they are consistent on is cutting the safety net that the base has told them not to do.  And what really scares them is given practical choices, the Donald could and will reject the Republican orthodoxy to choose what works.  Oh my god! These are very dangerous times for even Republicans.  I think they are trying to look like “The Good Wife” for the election.

 

Shocked I Tell You!

So I pick up the NYT this morning and there is more Republican denial.  I mean it is getting pathological.  Here is what the article said:

Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election. 

…But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism. 

And who are they considering?  

Among the recruits under discussion are Tom Coburn, a former Oklahoma senator who has told associates that he would be open to running, and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who was suggested as a possible third-party candidate at a meeting of conservative activists on Thursday in Washington.

 But Wait!  It gets better.  Ross Douthat, the conservative apologist and columnist for the NYT wrote a column this morning about how Paul Ryan, the real savior and ideal of the Republican Party,, had refused to reject Trump.  But most of the op-Ed was about how Paul Ryan is the model to save the party:

Ryan is not some corrupt functionary, some time-serving Roman official eating grapes while the barbarians come over the wall. He is an intelligent, principled, ambitious, and effective political operator, with a clear vision for the party that he helps to lead.

…He’s a pro-immigration free trader, a supply-sider and an entitlement reformer. He favors optimistic rhetoric about the American promise, paired with warnings about the perils of identity politics and the enervating effects of the welfare state. He spent the time between his months on the Romney ticket and his ascent to the speakership in conversations with antipoverty activists, on a Kempian quest for a new, less polarizing welfare reform.

Really?  This is fantasyland.  As Paul Krugman wrote this morning in his blog about Ryan:

… His various budgets all have the same basic outline: huge tax cuts for the rich combined with savage cuts in benefits for the poor, with the net effect being to increase, not reduce the budget deficit. But he pretends that they’re deficit-reduction proposals by claiming that he will raise trillions in revenue by closing unspecified loopholes and achieve trillions more in unspecified savings. In other words, Ryan has been playing a con game in which he uses magic asterisks to mask a reverse Robin Hood agenda — take from the poor, give to the rich — as deficit hawkery.

It is this giant denial the Republicans are now involved in that is surreal.  Here is the reality:  Conservative economics do not work for anyone but the wealthy*.  Their massive tax cuts do not create jobs, and the only way to pay for them is to “reform” entitlements which is code for cutting them.  They have a revolt in their party because the faithful base understands these guys do not work for them.  A Colburn, Perry, or Ryan will just be more of the same failure.  Sadly, the base has been feed so much propoganda that they have no idea what is true anymore, so the Donald seems like the real thing to them.  They are morons.  They have been carefully crafted as morons for many years by the conservative noise machine.  Now they are running amok.

So in my mind, the crash is coming and it is going to be a major crash for the Republican Party.  The establishment guys either have to come to grips with the fact that the Republican Trinity (Small government, Lower taxes, Less regulation) is not a religion and in some cases is flat out wrong, or they become another fringe organization.  They have to recognize that their present configuration only benefits the wealthy and that reality is now out in the open.  When they do come to that reality, if they want to be part of the political process, they become moderate Democrats.  The Trump supporters, the other wing of the Republican Party, and really the whole party at this point, needs to be soundly defeated and rejected.  In other words.  The Republican Party ceases to exist after November unless they come into the 21 century.

*As economic inequality increases, which is a direct result of trickle down economics of the Republicans, the pie for disposable income gets smaller and eventually it will impact demand across the board, reducing economic growth.  But businessmen are fixed on the short term and support these politics while slowly killing the goose who is laying their golden eggs.

Ryan, Really?

From the NYTs:

… Mr. Ryan could very well be the speaker that the Freedom Caucus, but not the nation, deserves. He showed real cunning in stating his conditions for agreeing to accept the office, but he will have to be even more crafty to survive their demands and ultimatums. It will be interesting to see if he can look beyond appeasing that caucus and focusing on the poisonous politics of House Republicans to finding solutions for the nation’s neglected problems. [Italics mine]

Find solutions?  Name me some.  We have immigration which the Republicans have indicated there is no solution except blocking a path to citizenship and of course, a big wall.  Repeal Obamacare, which is actually working fine, but with no plan for what comes next.  Reduce Social Security and cut Medicare (that is what vouchers are all about) so we can afford more tax cuts for the wealthy.  Pass legislation that removes the right to choose.  Lower the tax rate on corporations when the really big guys already pay nothing.  Get rid of those pesky banking rules that keeps banks from again collapsing our economy.

Did I miss any? Maybe, just maybe, he can raise the debt limit without defaulting the country, but that is not assured.  For sure we will continue gutting government and pushing policies that continues the transfer of wealth to wealthy under the guise of lower taxes and less government will make us all prosperous.  Just how much longer are we going to fall for this stuff?

Ever wonder what we would look like if the Democrats held Congress right now.  They would probably have passed legislation so that the debt ceiling is no longer an issue.  When any program is voted on and approved, the debt ceiling is automatically raised. We would probably have sensible gun control, for sure universal background checks and maybe even a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.  No more attacks on women’s rights, at least at the federal level.  Equal pay for equal work, a raise in the minimum wage, and certainly immigration reform.

We would be tackling our biggest problems, global warming and income inequality, and unlike Republicans, they might actually be reforming the tax code to pay for all this stuff.  We for sure would have an infrastructure bill to repair our failing infrastructure.  But we are not doing any of that while we are focused Benghazi, emails, and a Tea Party soap opera.  We are letting the ignorant run our country.  I hope we can follow Canada’s lead and throw them all out. Hope springs eternal.

Paul Wants to Be Speaker If …

When I stop laughing in the morning I will expand on this, but basically Paul Ryan will be Speaker if the guys will unite behind him no matter what he does.  Righty-o on that one.  Anybody paying attention here?  I just love this move.

And We Thought Spiders Were the Only Ones to Eat Their Own

From the NYT:

Now, as he agonizes over whether to answer the appeal of his colleagues to become their next speaker, the far right is trotting out a fresh concern: Mr. Ryan is too far left.

He is being criticized on issues ranging from a 2008 vote to bail out large banks to his longstanding interest in immigration reform to his work on a bipartisan budget measure. On Sunday night, the Drudge Report — a prime driver of conservative commentary — dedicated separate headlines to bashing Mr. Ryan on policy positions.

… On Monday, a Tea Party group in Alabama set out warning flares to Representative Martha Roby, a Republican, advising her that she would come under fire if she supported Mr. Ryan for speaker.

But both sides do it, right?  These are the people who are just looking for someone to listen to their concerns, right?  They have every interest in negotiating and compromising with other opinions, right?  These are the people who are defending our Constitution, right?  Right.

Or from the movie Frankenstein, when the monster the Doctor had created moved, “It’s alive! It’s alive!. It’s alive!”  Now how do they control it?

Possible Scenarios for the House and Our Country

So what is going to happen with the House Republicans?  Is Paul Ryan going to save Republicans from themselves? Are they going to continue rudderless for a time?  Will a Tea Party leader emerge?  Ross Douthat wrote an op-ed this morning:

The reality is this: The only way the Republican House majority can become less dysfunctional and chaotic in the short run is if the next speaker wins the trust of enough conservative backbenchers to quell or crush revolts from the rest. And the best way to win that trust is to be seen as fundamentally on the insurgents’ side, which is a feat that Boehner, given his background and priorities, could never hope to manage. … tribal identification with insurgency that might make easier for him to persuade the G.O.P.’s right flank to accept the real limits on the House’s power.

The problem with this analysis is very simple.  What these people want represents a minority view of what the population wants, and they don’t care if government doesn’t work, because that is getting their way. It kind of amazes me that mainstream Republicans don’t get this yet.  Boehner and company do not disagree with Tea Party policies, just politics.  They want the same destructive policies of gutting government spending, raping Planned Parenthood, destroying anything Obama, and lowering taxes on the wealthy as the Tea Party wants.  The difference is that they see the politics of obstruction and just saying no as self-defeating in the long run.  So make realistic incremental changes.  This is heresy to the Wild Bunch (Freedom Caucus).

So back to the original question, what is going to really happen?  Full Disclosure:  Retired fat white guy perched on my hill above my vineyard with a wine glass firmly grasp in my hand.  First will Paul Ryan take the job and save the Republican Party.  No and No.  I don’t think he will enter into a lose/lose situation where he will end up in the same war Boehner was in.  I think the only leader that the Wild Bunch will accept is one who will not compromise.  I think it is foolish to think anyone can reason with them.  So if Ryan takes the job, and I don’t think he will, it will be a train wreck.  He will either have to shut down government, or compromise with Democratic help.  Either choice is not conducive to his long-term political interests.

So if Ryan doesn’t take it, what now.  Boehner stays on.  What he will do is anybody’s guess, across the spectrum of the minimum to keep the government running, to getting some things done like immigration reform that puts the moderates back into power.  If it is minimalist, we are putting off governing other than continuing resolutions until the next election.  I do not believe the House Republicans will put a Wild Bunch leader in the job of Speaker because that guarantees a government shutdown.  In other words, I don’t think there is a resolution purely within the Republican Party.

That takes us to the most improbable outcome, yet the one best for both the country and the Republican Party as an institution. What you say! You are the guy who says all Republicans are evil!  Right now they are.  Most of what they stand for has failed us as policy.  But I do believe in a two-party system if those two parties partake in rational debate about the way forward based on facts and data, not a fantasy reality they have created.  There are not many reasonable Republicans left and if the Party is not to fragment (if it hasn’t already) into two parties, this next scenario is their best bet to save themselves.

That option would be that the Republicans finally take charge of their caucus by doing a deal with the Democrats.  Nominate a reasonable Republican who has Democratic support to get major legislation passed by throwing out the Hastert Rule.  In other words actually vote on things that the majority of House members would vote for, ignoring the idea that we would only vote on things that could be approved by Republicans.  It would make government functional again and return the Republican Party from their path to drive government off the cliff.

It probably won’t happen because as even Republicans admit, many Republicans vote no when they want to vote yes (continuing resolution for example) fear being primaried.  Republicans have created this monster who hates government, all government, who controls their primaries, and political survival means pandering to this small minority.  My guess is we will get the Boehner option and we will be scratching our head at what he will and won’t do.  Remember he wants the same things as the Wild Bunch, just doesn’t want to wreck government to get it.  But if he sees a train wreck coming, he may just move out of his comfort zone and try to move the Republican party to the left just a little.

Oh, and if you think I am overstating the dysfunction in the Republican Party, watch Meet the Press this Sunday where a moderate and a Freedom Caucus Republican argue what is reality (Charlie Dent and Dave Brat).  The Wild Bunch is not ever going to compromise.