12.23.2013 0

Republicans may win Senate, but what’s the agenda?

White_Flag_EstablishmentBy Robert Romano

With the generic congressional ballot all but even and Democrats trailing big time in key Senate races in red states like Alaska, West Virginia, and Montana, and at significant risk of losing Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina as Obamacare falls apart in the eyes of voters, 2014 is looking to be a good year for the Republican Party.

That is to say, regardless of what they do going forward, they will likely be the beneficiaries of an electorate growing weary of the Obama administration’s constant barrage of ineffective big government schemes that benefit too-big-to-fail corporate elites and the welfare dependency class.

If the election were today, Republicans would win back the Senate.

With that in mind, it is easy to explain the recent Republican surrender on the budget deal that breached the sequester spending limits by $63 billion in the first two years, raises taxes and fees by over $32 billion over the next decade, and cuts pension benefits for disabled veterans — all with the promise of cuts later down the road that probably will never happen.

Simply put, the GOP does not want to upset the apple cart with any more fights over defunding Obamacare, continuing resolutions to keep the government open, and the debt ceiling they feel they cannot win.

And so, the two-year budget deal is designed to kick most of those fights off until after the 2014 midterms, leaving candidates to campaign without any distractions from Washington, D.C.

What this strategy fails to observe is that in 2010, the out of control Congress in the nation’s capital was very much the focus that the grassroots sought desperately to take out of power.

The so-called “stimulus” that failed to improve labor market conditions. Obamacare. Dodd-Frank that enshrined too big to fail. Trillion dollar a year deficits. All this culminated in Republicans overwhelmingly reclaiming the House and 53 state legislative chambers compared to Democrats’ 32.

All these issues in due course have now been taken off the table.

It’s hard to campaign on doing away with Obamacare in 2015 when the past two continuing resolutions allowed funding for it to go into effect, and Republicans are already broadcasting they will not have a showdown for the remainder of Barack Obama’s tenure in office. Leaving 2017 the earliest possible time to deal with the health care law, which will have been fully in effect for three years.

By then, the website will be fixed and the subsidies will be in full swing, dramatically reshaping the political landscape for 2016, with the vast majority of Americans qualifying for taxpayer-funded health insurance.

It is also hard to campaign on the success of sequestration when the latest budget deal was so steadfast in undoing it, and the precedent is now set wherein the anything-but-a-shutdown caucus on the Republican will accept anything to avoid a legislative fight.

Campaigning against too big to fail is also difficult when almost nobody stands up to the Federal Reserve’s continued $900 billion a year subsidy to financial institutions, and there is zero agenda to do a thing about it.

Overall, with the Obama administration set to kick the administrative state into high gear with regulatory usurpations and arbitrary executive action for his final two years under John Podesta, Republicans will be hard pressed to do anything but complain about the sweeping edicts of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Fed, and the National Labor Relations Board.

Meaning Republicans may indeed pick up the Senate in 2014 — that is if they don’t blow it — but with little agenda to speak of, it will be entirely based on the perceived failure of Obamacare and a rejection of the administration. Should those fortunes change, the play-it-safe Senate Republican strategy will founder like a sailboat that loses its wind and any momentum it might have had.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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