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The Republican Decision

by Stuart Shapiro

I came of age in an era when Democrats lost presidential elections like clockwork and afterwards sounded like the teenage boy who wondered why that girl wouldn’t go out with him (another characteristic of my coming of age period).  Republicans are now in that boat and the advice is already piling up.  Paul Waldman points out that progressives are well-served by the GOP moving to the right…

As a progressive, I’m tempted to tell you to go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing. Keep on questioning whether Barack Obama is an American. Make sure to slut-shame any woman who stands up for reproductive rights. Pour derision on the “takers” and keep extolling the heroic “job creators” while you fight to protect their favorable tax rates. Make sure that in four years your presidential candidates have another contest to see who can be the most anti-immigrant. Hunker down in the white South. Talk more about privatizing Medicare. Chant “Drill, baby, drill!” whenever the subject of energy comes up.

…while Kevin Drum outlines the challenge they have in becoming viable and moving to the center:

I don’t expect the Republican Party to reform itself anytime soon. They’ve become a victim of their own media-driven nightmares about the end of America-as-we-know-it under Obama’s leadership, and too many of their supporters now believe this stuff for them to change their tune anytime soon. Nevertheless, change they must. And the sooner they start, the easier it will be.

I’m probably naive but I think the Republicans will start to abandon extreme positions (at least on immigration and taxing the wealthy).  Why?  Just follow the money!

“The billionaire donors I hear are livid,” one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. “There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.”

Big business does not want to fall off the fiscal cliff.  And they will pressure both sides to reach a compromise.  Now the question remains, will the Republicans in the House listen to those who bought them their seats or to the online pundits and radio hosts who helped make sure they’d win?

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart Shapiro Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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