by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It seems the recent discovery of Richard III’s bones under a parking lot has inspired more than one scribe. National Review editor Rich Lowry invokes one of Shakespeare’s greatest villains in a new column discussing the future political outlook for the Republican Party.
It is not just the winter of Republican discontent. It will in all likelihood be the spring, summer, and fall, as well.
The national party is leaderless and nearly issueless, but besides that, is thriving and in fine fighting trim. …
… The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Democrats leading on: looking out for the middle class, Medicare, health care, reducing gun violence, Social Security, immigration, taxes, and the economy. The good news for Republicans is that they lead on everything else. The bad news is that everything else is only spending, the deficit, and national security.
The problem with the deficit as an issue is that people care more about economic growth, and the problem with spending cuts is that people like them more in the abstract than in reality.
At times, “we have a $16 trillion debt” seems the sum total of the party’s argumentation. When party leaders say that they have to become the party of growth again, the policy they invariably advance to that end . . . is reducing the $16 trillion debt.
This necessary, but hardly sufficient, message is almost all we hear from Republicans in Congress, where their majority in the House gives them responsibility without decisive influence. The House Republicans mainly have blocking power. Woe to the republic if they didn’t. But if you block things, you’re easily labeled an obstructionist, and wouldn’t you know it, people don’t like obstructionists.