GOPocalypse, Part 5: The Miner and Sapper

Dan Scotto

Dan Scotto lives and works in New Jersey. He has a master's degree in history, with a focus on the history of disease and the history of technology.

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19 Responses

  1. J_A says:

    Cruz could have decided that Trump was dangerous to the long-term conservative project

    This is where your post completely fails, Dan.

    Cruz has absolutely no interest in the long-term conservative project. He is only interested in his own power. If Obama had called him in 2014 and told him that Obama would make Cruz the Democratic nominee if he switched sides, Ted would have taken the deal in a heartbeat.

    For Cruz the Republican Party is only a vehicle for his own personal project. If at the end of Cruz’ career there is no Republican Party, or no Republic, he will not lose sleep at all.

    Cruz doesn’t have any regrets about how he acted in the primaries (*). His actions are consistent with his long-term interests. He is now the runner-up, he kept the evangelical votes leg fully behind him, and he didn’t piss-off (too much) the Trumpist base (which overlaps significantly with his own base) to be now in the best position to capitalize from next week Trump’s collapse.

    There’s an IPA case that says that Cruz will now focus in coopting Trumpism into Cruzism. And another similar case that says he will succeed, and carry the party in 2020. Any takers?

    (*) I believe Cruz played the best possible game (for him) in the primaries, being probably the first one that identified Trumpism, and that Trumpism wasn’t going away, even if Trump himself did (as Cruz expected or hoped). I’m not so sure his convention non-endorsement and subsequent semi endorsement and “I already voted straight Republican” was the best politics he could do, but in the 11th dimensional chess board I can see reasons to do what he did.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to J_A says:

      Cruz has absolutely no interest in the long-term conservative project. He is only interested in his own power.

      I second this.

      In fact, this is sorta the reason the right is in trouble. The Republicans problems are oddly recursive…the reason they have a bunch of people with absolutely no interest in the long-term conservative project is that they used to…have a bunch of people with absolutely no interest in the *previous* long-term conservative project.

      For about a decade, starting in the mid-90s, the positions in the party filled up with people who had no interest in *that* long-term conservative project…and the important word there is *no*. Zero.

      To clarify: Both parties have long been full of people who *barely* cared about the long-term goals of the party, but usually have a few goals in there that they want, and there a firebrand that shows up and leads them, and they shrug and go along with it. That’s politics. A bunch of people who are 90% apathetic about their side being convinced, on each topic, by the tiny group that cares, and then their turn rolls around and *they* get fired up about some 10% of the party platform.

      But the right started electing people who had no interest at all. Or perhaps the problem is better described as the goals *as presented to the public* changed, but the actual goals did not. And I don’t think it was the *party* that was changing those goals, but talk radio and Fox News.

      This resulted in anger at the Republican political establishment, and thus presented an opening…for anyone who could say the right words. This got a lot of true believers in, but it also got a lot of con men like Ted Cruz in.

      Of course, this means the elected officials are made up of some percentage of incumbent Republicans looking around in confusion before figuring out they needed to mouth crazy things to not get primaried, actual crazy people, and completely conmen. That is…uh…not a manageable party.Report

  2. J_A says:

    on debt ceiling machinations.

    A separate comment to say that Debt Ceiling Authorizations are nothing more than a Repeal of math.

    Once you approve a budget, you have to provide the money for it, either via taxes or via debt. You can chose two of the three, but once you decide on budget and taxes, debt is just math.

    If you don’t want the debt to increase (let’s not relitigate what debt means for a country as opposed to a family) then you either increase taxes or cut the budget. (Wo)Man up, take ownership of your convictions, and make the difficult choices of what to cut or what taxes to increase. Debt ceiling tinkering is just threatre (and a great way to continue sapping the foundations (in this case the creditworthiness) of the country.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to J_A says:

      There’s probably an interesting legal case to be made that the mere act of passing the budget gives Treasury the power to borrow as needed to pay for it, overriding any previous restrictions on borrowing and granting any necessary authority. Treasury is, after all, merely following the instructions of Congress.

      Because, as you note, math.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to J_A says:

      J_A: Debt ceiling tinkering is just threatre (and a great way to continue sapping the foundations (in this case the creditworthiness) of the country

      And this wasn’t a problem at all when Obama did it.Report

      • J_A in reply to Kolohe says:

        Yes it was.

        Though, in the name of Both Sides Don’t Actually Do it, it should be mentioned that the debt explosion in the Bush years was in great part associated with running two wars outside the books, with no appropriations.

        So, under the Math rule that you have to set two of the following three: budget, taxes, debt, and you decide to skip the budget, then you should fix both taxes and debt.

        So, Obama had a more colarable argument than McConnel.

        But it is still bad. You don’t play with the country credit worthinessReport

      • North in reply to Kolohe says:

        How many shut downs over the debt ceiling have Obama and his party precipitated precisely? IIRK the answer is somewhere in the neighborhood of zero, yes?
        Yes, both sides harped and caviled about the debt ceiling, the debt and the deficit when out of power. That has been one of the minority party privileges since, at least, when Bill dragged the Democratic party fully into a market/neo liberalism economic policy stance. It’s only under the GOP in their more deranged state that anyone tried seriously muscling policy concessions from that theater*.

        *Though Obama does bear some small portion of blame for actually giving in** to this hardball tactic when they sprang it on him and thus giving the GOP reason to believe they’d actually succeed with it.

        **Though perhaps I should be kinder on him since that particular deal basically defenestrated the neocon-defense con wing of the GOP and exposed them as basically powerless.Report

    • James K in reply to J_A says:


      The debt ceiling is just another example of Failure Theatre. Congress wants to pretend that it wants to reduce the deficit, so instead of making the messy trade offs required to do so through the budget, they act like government spending is something that has nothing to do with them and effectively issue contradictory instructions to the Treasury.Report

  3. CJColucci says:

    How about eliminating the debt ceiling entirely?Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    He called Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor

    Was he accurate in doing so or inaccurate?

    If he was inaccurate, we’re criticizing Cruz for slandering Mitch McConnell and smearing the man with the term “liar” despite Mitch McConnell telling the truth and that is pretty messed up and deserves censure.

    But if Mitch McConnell lied and then Cruz called him a liar, this seems like we’re complaining about Cruz being tacky and insufficiently pragmatic.

    I know that it may seem irrelevant to you whether McConnell lied when it comes to Cruz calling him a liar, but I’d kind of like to know whether McConnell actually lied to Cruz’s face as described in the article you linked to.

    Cet animal est très méchant,
    Quand on l’attaque il se défend.

  5. CK MacLeod says:

    You’ll need a Part 6/epilogue, “Trump,” maybe after you’ve had a chance to digest results that will no doubt be shocking to those who have been suckered in by MSM polls and not counting yard signs in Connecticut and comparing popularity of Halloween costumes. Still not clear to me whether the “aftermath” will justify a tweetstorm, a blog-post, a book, or a shelf of them.Report