Talk about sore losers.
Republicans are sulking after losing a historic midterm blowout to House Democrats —and now they're aiming to take out their frustrations by obstructing Congress instead of governing.
Politico reports that less than a month after being officially ousted from power, Republican leaders are already plotting with the far-right fringe element of their party to "make life hell" for the new Democratic majority.
Rather than do their jobs and work with Democratic leaders, Republicans are looking for ways to "be a nuisance" and engage in delay tactics — in part by copying strategies the extreme members of the Freedom Caucus have used against their own Republican leadership over the past several years.
"I can come up with all kinds of creative ways to slow down the floor progress," Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), leader of the Freedom Caucus, bragged to Politico. But this time, he said, those ideas "are being used in a unified way in the minority."
And now, Politico reports, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the GOP leadership are "coalescing around the bomb-throwers' playbook" more commonly used by the far-right elements of the GOP.
Such radical ideas have already had disastrous results for the Republican minority. The GOP, following the lead of the Freedom Caucus, indulged Trump's tantrum by letting him keep the government shut down over an unpopular border wall. The 35-day shutdown caused 800,000 federal workers to go without paychecks, wreaked havoc on air travel across the country, and put America's national security at risk.
In the end, Trump — and House Republicans — caved to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and reopened the government without giving up a single penny for a border wall.
Former Republican leader John Boehner scoffed at the idea of following the lead of the Freedom Caucus — which he referred to as the "knucklehead caucus," made up of people who "don’t know how to vote yes on anything."
This isn't the first time the GOP has made a large-scale commitment to obstructing the basic governing duties of Congress. President Obama faced unprecedented obstruction from congressional Republicans starting in 2010, when the GOP won large midterm victories.
At the time, then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Saying no to everything and obstructing the Senate was McConnell and Republicans' big plan to accomplish that.
McConnell failed, as President Obama went on to win a second term. McCarthy's gambit has already failed once, as Pelosi ended the Trump shutdown on her terms.
If history is any guide, Republican obstructionism is a failing strategy that only polarizes the country. But rather than work with the leaders American voters put in place, McCarthy and GOP leadership would rather obstruct, delay, and be a nuisance.
No wonder voters ousted them in record numbers.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.