Even When They Win, Republicans Act Like the Minority

Republicans said they couldn’t get things done with just the House, so voters gave them the Senate. Republicans said they couldn’t get things done with just Congress, so voters gave them the White House. Republicans still can’t get things done. And it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

I’ve lived through 10 presidential elections in my lifetime, and actually followed and understood 8 of them (I started early). And one thing that is as reliable as the sun rising in the east? When Democrats win, they act like they have been given a mandate to run the table. When Republicans win, they act like they’ve been elected to bring about a new era of bipartisanship and compromise.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame the Democrats for this. They know how the game is played, and they play it well. Barack Obama epitomized this kind of belligerent attitude towards lawmaking after he won his first term. Whether it was telling Republicans that they could come along, but would have to ride in the back of the bus, or famously taunting, “Elections have consequences…I won,” he took his victory as a sign of groundswell public support for a far left agenda.

And the left doesn’t back down. That’s why we got Obamacare in the first place – not a single Republican supported the disaster, but the Democrats held ranks and pushed it through regardless. After all, they won.

Did it set off a wave of anger? Of course. Did it cost them in the next election? Of course. Did they need to worry? Not a bit. Because as soon as Republicans swept into power in Congress, what did the Democrats do? President Obama strutted out like the country’s agitated schoolmarm and lectured incoming Republicans that it was “clear” the country wants Republicans and Democrats to work together.

Wait, what? Democrats win, it’s a Democrat mandate. Republicans win, it’s a call for compromise. And here’s the incredible part – the Republicans buy it.

Here we are following a presidential campaign unlike any other. Republicans swept all of the federal government after campaigning on the promise to repeal Obamacare. And once in office, do they push through the exact same Obamacare repeal bill they had already passed through to Obama’s desk a year ago? No, they write a new bill to try to reach out to Democrats. As a consequence, they lost conservative Republican support, and garnered no help from Democrats who actually mocked them for their “rookie” move.

After the embarrassment, Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer begins acting like he’s the one in charge, setting ultimatums: “Once the Republicans take repeal off the table, we’re willing to work with them to improve it.”

They don’t need the Democrats to work with them. But seemingly they are the only ones who can’t manage to grasp that. And consequently, as Raz Shafer depressingly pointed out, Republican leadership is signaling that’s exactly the direction they’re going to go.

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so maddening.

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Peter Heck

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