One of the more humorous claims of House Republicans and their flacks is that they were cast out of office years ago for their fiscal recklessness. It's funny because I don't recall a massive GOP rebellion against spending at the time (though this followed the passage of the deficit-busting Medicare prescription drug benefit). It's funny because it's as if this thing called the Iraq War they cheerleaded never happened. It's funny because there's no mention of how they ignored pressing needs, such as enabling more Americans to get health coverage (and no, HSAs weren't the answer).
But it's also humorous because there is absolutely nothing in their rhetoric to suggest that they have changed their profligate ways. They want to cut taxes, sure. But what will they cut? They'll get back to us on that. And while Paul Ryan likes to claim his Road Map will fix the deficit, it doesn't, really, though it will screw over poor and middle class Americans.
Conservative Daniel Larison says GOP voters will ge the leadership they deserve.
The midterm results didn’t represent a dramatic shift in the overall public’s views, but they did confirm that rank-and-file Republicans and movement conservatives are quite happy to enable a party that badly disappoints them every time it is given an opportunity to govern. Four years ago, movement conservatives were looking for the exits and claiming that they as conservatives had nothing to do with those unpopular Republicans. Today, Republican triumph is taken as conservative vindication, and the deeply dysfunctional, unhealthy identification of conservatism with the cause of the GOP has become stronger than ever. In a little while, maybe a few months or a year or two years, the people who made John Boehner the next Speaker of the House will be groaning and complaining that Boehner and his colleagues are reverting to their old ways. That is inevitably what Boehner and his colleagues will do, and why wouldn’t they? They have every reason to return to their old habits, and they have just been shown that change or reform is entirely unnecessary to advance their careers. For a while, the disillusioned movement conservatives may be receptive to critiques of Republican leadership, but as soon as the 2012 campaign gets going they will begin rushing back to empower another batch of Republicans so that their interests can be neglected some more. ...
Reformists argue that Republicans have to be more than a rejectionist party, but rejectionism has rescucitated the party and undone most of the political losses of the last six years. It doesn’t matter that this is akin to the reanimation of a zombie. As long as there is some sign of life or undeath, that will be enough. Reformists and dissident conservatives alike have insisted that Republicans have to answer for their years of disastrous misrule and incompetence before they could hope to win back the public’s trust. Granted, the GOP doesn’t really have the public’s trust now, but they have been entrusted with much more power anyway, and they did this with an unreformed, unchanged party leadership. The Republican Party that the public rejected and repudiated four years ago has not meaningfully changed, and all that it had to do to regain power was engage in reflexive opposition and wait. Even if one believes, as I do, that time is not on their side, and that they are throwing away their future with the next generation, why would the current Republican leadership care? Their preferred way of doing things is to reap the benefits in the present and defer costs and responsibilities until later.
During the last few months, I have been reading the argument that angry Americans want to restore some measure of justice and order in society so that rewards go to the deserving and failures are not bailed out. It is a significant problem that the chosen method to express this anger has been to reward the undeserving and promote the failures.