Toddler Temper Tantrums and the Fears of the Timid

Karl Rove may be whistling past the graveyard in his Wednesday WSJ op-ed. He opened his piece with this lede:

Conventional wisdom is that Republicans will lose the US House this fall. That may be right.

Then he ran a counterargument.

Yet the conventional wisdom that Republicans will lose the House may be wrong.
One reason is retirements. Much has been made of how many Republicans are leaving, including talented members such as Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher, North Carolina’s Patrick McHenry, and Washington’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers. But more Democrats (24) than Republicans (19) have announced their retirements. Moreover, all the Republican retirements are in overwhelmingly red districts. The only open GOP seat considered competitive—the Cook Political Report calls it “lean Republican”—is Colorado’s Third District. Cook’s partisan vote index—which estimates a district’s leaning relative to the country based on the two most recent presidential elections—labels it an R+7 seat.
Retiring Democrats represent more-competitive seats. Cook rates the open Michigan Seventh and Eighth districts as “toss-ups.” They are R+2 and R+1 respectively. Cook classifies the California 47th (D+3) and Virginia Seventh (D+1) as “lean Democrat.” The Maryland Sixth and New Hampshire Second (both D+2) are “likely Democrat.”

Rove gave too little credence to the damage the toddler temper tantrum, led by Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA) and her Chaos Caucus supporters, does. These toddlers may well hand the House Speakership, and control of the House agenda, to the Progressive-Democrat Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY) before the current session ends, especially given the number of nominally Conservative Republicans who are abjectly cutting and running from their House seats, whether at the end of the current session or quitting just as soon as they can get their desks cleared.

The inability of Republicans to agree among themselves on what to put forward—the Chaos Caucus blows up anything that doesn’t suit their veriest whims to t—and the party’s timidity in putting any Conservative policies forward and putting the onus on the Progressive-Democrat-ruled Senate and the White House to work with them—tells the voting public that this is a ragtag collection of junior high politicians not ready for the national obligations they have.

Rove also gave too little effect to the timidity of the remaining “mainstream” Republican Congressmen. There are number of legitimate conservative policies that are proposed by the Freedom Caucus (when they aren’t acting in their Chaos Caucus guise). These, though, are routinely rejected by too many of the other Republicans in the House Republican caucus under the excuse that the Progressive-Democratic Party Senators would never agree to them, and that the Progressive-Democrat President would never sign, even were something to get to his desk. So, these Republicans won’t even try. They’re too timid to do something that might force the Progressive-Democratic Party’s politicians to take a stand, much less to force them to work with Republicans. Instead, these Timid Republicans would rather try, meekly, to work with the Progressive-Democrats, ceding functional House control to the minority party.

That timidity isn’t encouraging for voters.

Rove also underestimated the effect on voters by those who are heading out the door just as the battle is heating up. That timidity may well turn off voters, voters who won’t vote for the overtly destructive Progressive-Democratic Party, but who find they can’t trust Republican candidates who might well run away themselves. These voters are likely to stay home, which with today’s divisions is the same as voting Progressive-Democrat.

More Progressive-Democrats (my term, not Rove’s) than Republicans are leaving the fight? Only by five, and that, out of 43 departures, is as thin as the current Republican nominal majority. The Republican Party, too, has demonstrated in elections from 2018 forward that it’s fully capable of throwing away eminently winnable seats and donating them to the Progressive-Democrats. It would take only a net gain of five seats to get Jeffries as Speaker.

Public disgust with a Republican Party populated, at least at the national level, with toddlers and timids may well cost us a government interested in our borders, our economic strength—our national security.

Whistling past the graveyard, indeed.

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