Sunday, April 02, 2023

Republicans Hit the Self-Destruct Button Again

If the 2024 election is starting to feel a lot like the recent midterms, you’re not alone. Like 2022, when Republican candidates significantly underachieved relative to expectations, the party seems hell bent on committing the same kind of political suicide in the next election cycle as well.

We all remember what thwarted the so called “red wave.” Call it coincidence, but on May 2, 2022, in the midst of the campaign season, an imminent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media. The official announcement of Dobbs v. Jackson followed on June 24th.

The faux outrage from the left was swift and predictable. In Arizona, lawmakers were held hostage by protesters in the state capitol building. In Los Angeles, the 110 freeway was shut down and drivers were attacked by leftists with sticks. In Seattle, windows were smashed and a pro-life woman was maced.

Celebrities were quick to condemn the decision, but not the violence.

On Instagram, Hailey Barber said, “Wow… I’m speechless. What an extreme loss and disappointment. This is really, really scary.”

Bette Midler posted on Twitter: “GET READY, GAYS. YOU’RE NEXT.”

Michelle Obama took the occasion to post a novella on Twitter:

The Supreme Court decision energized a lethargic Democrat base, evidenced by an $80 million haul in donations to the DNC immediately after the announcement. Polling numbers put Republican candidates who supported abortion bans in an extremely uncomfortable position. When an issue only garners support from barely more than half your base (56%-53%), you know you’re in trouble.

So, how did Republican candidates respond? Instead of deftly deflecting, avoiding and obfuscating as Democrats do so well when confronted with unpopular positions, Republicans metaphorically stepped in it.

Former Vice President Mike Pence said, “Having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell awkwardly tried to throw race into the equation by comparing the Roe decision to Brown v. Board, as if the majority of voters would even know what that case was about. 

One hoped that after the initial shock of the decision ran through the electorate, Republicans would have turned away from the issue to focus on Biden’s senility and horrible performance as president. However, instead, they decided to stoke the dying embers, which kept the issue in the headlines. In mid-September, three months after the Roe decision was officially announced, and less than two months before the election, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bill in the Senate that would have banned all abortions after 15 weeks. The bill had no chance of passing and only served to reignite the pro-choice movement. Once again, the election focus turned away from Biden’s horrible economy and re-centered on abortion rights.

Ultimately, Republicans didn’t regain the Senate and took the House with 30-40 fewer seats than originally projected in the red wave analysis.

Republicans Grab the Third Rail in 2024

Fast forward to the 2024 election, and you see the beginnings of the next great Republican self-sabotage.

Tip O’Neil is largely credited for identifying Social Security as the third rail of American politics, and if anything, his description doesn’t go far enough. It’s more like cutting through a high-tension cable on an electrical tower with a sawzall. It isn’t going to end well.

The Republican tendency to seek out the self-destruct button is the only reasonable explanation for making social security a major issue in the 2024 election. Not that there is anything else of importance to focus on. Why bother with inflation, bank failures, China’s global hegemony, childhood genital mutilation, trans indoctrination and a host of other pressing issues when you can blow yourself up with unrealistic plans for Social Security that leave Democrats salivating?

It started with Senator Ric Scott (R-FL), who introduced a proposal that would sunset all federal legislation in five years. After the fact, Scott claimed that he never meant to include Social Security and Medicare in the proposal, but the damage was done. Democrats pounced, and the scurrilous media ran with the story.

More recently, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), argued that eligibility for social security should be raised because people are living longer.

“The life expectancy of the average American right now is about 77 years old. For people who are in their 20s, their life expectancy will probably be 85 to 90. Of course, we ought to talk about it. Does it really make sense to allow someone who is in their 20s today to retire at 62? Those are the kind of things that we should talk about.”

The Republican third-rail political suicide ideas are popping up everywhere. A group led by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is floating an idea to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70.

A Republican study committee released a report titled, “Blueprint to Save America.” In the report, the committee says that “to address the increased demands on Medicare, the RSC Budget proposes aligning Medicare’s eligibility age with the normal retirement age for Social Security and then indexing this age to life expectancy.”

In other words, raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare to 70.

Voters are just going to love that idea.

Other Republican plans include privatizing a portion of Social Security for younger workers without explaining how the shortfall for conventional Social Security would be addressed. Mitt Romney introduced a proposal for a national sovereign wealth fund. Yeah, okay, the guy who lost the election in 2012 because he was framed as a greedy private equity capitalist is now pitching a sovereign wealth fund for young workers. I’m sure there will be a lot of people standing in line to sign up.

Meanwhile, the Democrat’s solution to social security solvency is much simpler: raise taxes on the rich. Joe Biden wants to extend the 12.4% payroll tax on those earning over $400 thousand annually. Additionally, he wants to give poorer retired workers a raise.

So, which proposal do you think will be easier to sell to the American voter, raising the age you can receive Social Security and Medicare benefits to 70, or raising taxes on the rich and giving a raise to poor retirees?

Republicans Keep Making the Same Infuriating Mistakes

There was a time when Democrats cared about the future of the country, but the era of John F. Kennedy is long gone. Today’s Democrats are a melting pot of modern liberals, woke idealogues and radical Marxists. They’re only interested in ideas they can sell to the American public, while Republicans continue to want to do the “right thing.”

No one is arguing that Social Security is not in significant trouble, largely due to the illegal and immoral raiding of the trust fund to provide social programs for drug addicts, deadbeats and illegal aliens. There is no question that Republicans are looking for solutions that will enhance the retirement of average Americans, but their proposals will be distorted and shredded by Democrats and the complicit media.

The time to talk about solutions to systemic problems that will cost elections is when your party is in power and controls Congress and the presidency. If Republicans are looking to fall on the sword with proposals to fix the broken Social Security system, unveiling those ideas in an election year is nothing short of political suicide.

Don’t be surprised if some masochistic Republican announces a plan for an immediate benefit cut. The naivete of some of our party leaders is appalling.