Who’s Reeling?

During our live podcast/VIP/whiskey hour Friday evening, Steve commented that the Republican Party is “reeling” following the D.C. demonstration and riot last week. Given what I know of the Republican Party establishment I expect he is right, but still I was taken aback. Why in the world should Republicans be reeling? Because a handful of demonstrators invaded (or, in some cases, were ushered into) the Capitol and some of them behaved badly? What do those people–not the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated peacefully, but the few who rioted–have to do with the Republican Party? Not much: I will hazard a guess that the total amount ever donated by the rioters to the party adds up to $0, and the number of times they have ever been called upon to be spokesmen for the party is also 0.

If anyone should be reeling on account of riots it is the Democrats, whose party members and allies have burned down and otherwise devastated major sections of American cities, including D. C., during the last year. Especially since the Democrats’ leadership has cheered them on, without any exception that I have noticed.

Republicans that I talk to are understandably depressed about the fact that in a few days, the Democrats will control the presidency and both the House (narrowly) and, via a 50-50 tie, the Senate. I am not happy about that either. But the barely-functioning Joe Biden will take office as the weakest president in American history, or at a minimum since Franklin Pierce. And he will be a lame duck on the day he is inaugurated, since he almost certainly will not be on the ticket in 2024, assuming he lives that long.

As for Congress, someone on Twitter pointed out that for both houses of Congress to be controlled by the opponents of an outgoing president is not unusual, it is the norm. In fact, if Republicans had held one of the two Georgia Senate seats, Donald Trump would be the first president since Jimmy Carter to leave office with one of the two houses still in his party’s hands. You can look it up. Rightly or wrongly, Americans like divided government, and like to rotate power between the parties.

There is every reason to hope and expect that the Republicans will retake both the Senate and the House in 2022, and in the meantime the damage the Democrats can do, while certainly substantial, is limited by their slim control over both houses of Congress. They can’t make radical changes without doing away with the filibuster, and they can’t do away with the filibuster–which, by the way, would probably be to their long-term disadvantage–without the support of Joe Manchin, who has vowed to vote No, and every other Senate Democrat.

Further, 2024 shapes up as a great year to run for president as a Republican, either against a Joe Biden whose condition at that time (age 82) we can only imagine, or more likely against Kamala Harris, who has not been elected to the office and is not a very good politician, as demonstrated by her abysmal showing in the 2020 presidential contest.

Could the above assessment prove too optimistic? Of course. But the current panic among some Republicans is silly and ignores the lessons of history. There are only two parties, and we are one of them. In 1964, following Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory, many predicted that the GOP would never again elect a president. It did, in the very next election cycle–Richard Nixon in 1968. Twenty years later, in 1988, after two consecutive overwhelming Republican wins, the like of which can hardly be imagined today, many said that we would never again see a Democrat president. But the Democrats won in the very next cycle–Bill Clinton in 1992.

So Republicans should stop fretting and prepare to do battle. That is, to resist the Biden administration and the Democratic Congress with every honest and legal tool at our disposal, every day, beginning on January 20.

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