The GOP defeated Ted Cruz — now will anything good come of it?
Again and again, the Club for Growth and Freedomworks come out against a bill. Again and again the bill passes. These are generally terrible bills that equally upset the progressive wing of the party. But they’re the natural result of a political system designed to serve donors and a divided Congress.
The groups that helped Cruz shut down the government are now as powerless on Capitol Hill as Cruz himself, with leaders disarming them by simply pointing to the lasting damage the shutdown did to the party’s brand. And that only helps Cruz make to the case to the far right of the party. The GOP isn’t in power because it’s failing conservatism is always a winning argument on the right.
But it has resulted in a real thawing in the GOP’s absolute unwillingness to propose policies that could become law.
For the party’s establishment and mainstream donors, this gives the party a chance to dabble with centrism in an election year. Sure, they can pass meaningless abortion bills but they can also dabble in immigration and propose jobs bills that aren’t simply “Get out of Jail” cards for polluters:
Among other things, Thune’s proposal would create strong incentives for employers to hire the long-term unemployed (by, for example, exempting them from having to pay the employer side of payroll taxes for these workers for six months) and offer relocation loans to unemployed workers looking to move from regions with high unemployment to regions with low unemployment.
These aren’t terrible ideas!
Republicans know they’re cornered on raising the minimum wage and unemployment benefits. The shape of a real bargain isn’t hard to imagine.
It would help progressive because it puts people back to work, the best possible deficit reduction policy. It helps Republicans because they can’t run on jobs if they’re refusing to do anything to help workers. And it helps the far right, because it gives them squishiness to complain about in their fundraising letters.
Hell, Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land may even feel confident enough to add a “jobs” section to her campaign website!
Once this election passes and the 2016 cycle begins, the GOP will shift to the right quicker than Marco Rubio trying to avoid a picture with President Obama. We have a few months to help the millions of people who have been hurt worst by this economy — and we should.
[Image via jbouie | Flickr]