Has the GOP learned anything?

House Speaker-designate John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, after speaking with GOP governers.

After the results were called in and it was obvious that the GOP would overtake the House of Representatives by large majorities, John Boehner the next in line to be Speaker of the House, took to the stage to commiserate on his party’s return to power.

“The American people are demanding a new way forward in Washington, and I am here to tell you tonight that our new majority will be prepared to do things differently,” Boehner said.

The Republican Party had many reasons to celebrate on election night, but one thing overlooked by Boehner in his exuberance is he doesn’t speak for the American people, he speaks for the 8th Congressional District of Ohio. And it doesn’t take any sort of divination to see the recent election results were not a triumph of conservative ideals, but rather a response to a sluggish economy.

In my last column I asked, what the Democratic Party will learn, what will be the lesson they learn after losing. Now I ask, has the Republican Party learned anything after winning, will they remember anything from the last time they were in power?

After reading the tenants of the newly introduced “Pledge to America” which continues the Republican’s mantra of “tax cuts for any and every problem” it appears that they haven’t learned anything at all.

“The ‘pledge,’ then, is nonsense,” Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said, “When former President George W. Bush campaigned for big tax cuts in 2000, he claimed that these cuts were affordable given (unrealistic) projections of future budget surpluses. Now, however, Republicans aren’t even pretending that their numbers add up.”

The plan for extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts constitutes as $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade, so much for Republicans (who haven’t presided over a balanced budget for decades) caring about the national debt.

These past few years the Republican Party has been able to play its part as the “loyal opposition,” by simply saying no. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” said Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell recently. The GOP hasn’t put forth any real policy proposals forward in a long time, and now that they truly have to practice governing I wonder whether or not they will try to carry out policy or simple nonsense.

President Obama met with senior Republican Congressional leaders and expressed hopes for a “new dialogue” recently, but within a day partisanship took hold of the Senate, as Republicans threatened to block any legislation until a deal is reached to extend the expiring Bush-era tax cuts. “My problem with the Republican Party right now… is that if you offered them 80-20, they say no. If you offered them 90-10, they’d say no. If you offered them 99-1 they’d say no.” conservative columnist David Brooks said at a recent event.

The Republican leadership shouldn’t take their victories as anything more than anger and resentment over the depressed economy, and the people who presided over that economy just happened to have a (D) next to their names. President Obama’s approval rating is low, standing at 46.3 percent, but the approval ratings of Republican leaders such as Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner… are even lower according to polls by Rasmussen.

To Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and all of those presidential hopefuls, who see the recent midterm as a sign that there are future victories to come – what will happen in 2012 when the American people once again see the G.O.P. selling the same manure they’ve been peddling for years? Have you all learned anything?


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