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MICHAEL REAGAN: Can GOP ever learn to bury differences?

Cagle Cartoon Syndicate Published: December 20, 2013 4:00 AM

Will Republicans ever learn?

Will they get their own house in order in time to take control of the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016?

Will they stop fighting with one another in public over internal family matters and focus the GOP's collective eye on those crucial political prizes before it's too late to save the country?

It sure doesn't look like it.

Republicans proved once again they've learned nothing from their past mistakes during the recent squabbling over the bipartisan Ryan-Murray budget deal.

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The GOP managed to do two things, both of them bad for the battered Republican brand.

The party again showed the public how dysfunctional it is. And it proved how little its leaders and internal wings and factions have learned in 2013.

Last week House leader John Boehner made headlines by blasting the fiscal hardliners at Heritage Action, Club for Growth and FreedomWorks for denouncing the Ryan-Murray deal before they even saw it.

Then Boehner accused the tea-party wing of the GOP of "misleading their followers" and destroying their credibility.

It's hard to fault Boehner's outburst. For the entire year the GOP has been more interested in shooting down its own rising stars than breaking the Democrats' chokehold on Washington.

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Conservative principles are great. But to little-tent conservatives who'd rather win Republican primaries in May than win general elections in November, it's still all about ideological purity in the short run and not about winning the war in the long run.

To the GOP's tea-party minority, Paul Ryan has gone from GOP poster boy to sell-out. Ditto Marco Rubio for his impure thoughts on immigration reform.

Ditto Chris Christie, first for embracing the president and second for not being sufficiently conservative while racking up a big win in the blue state of New Jersey.

One of these days the Republican Party is going to find out that it is not the Conservative Party.

There are liberals, moderates and conservatives in the GOP -- and conservatives are going to have to understand that they are in fact the minority.

Meanwhile, here's a radical idea for my good tea-party friends and soulmates. If you want to see a federal budget you can abide, or if you want to have a smaller, kinder, gentler federal government that runs the way you want, I suggest you do what the Democrats do -- win.

Winning isn't easy. When Republicans only have the House, and not the Senate or the White House or the courts or the media, we're starting from ground zero.

We can't afford to throw rocks at each other in public or nit-pick at each other's ideological purity.

Winning back the Senate and the White House has to be the GOP's master plan, and it can't be sabotaged by things like intramural budget fights.

Budget fights? In the real world, the federal budget is never going to be 100 percent of what anyone wants.

Once Republicans win back the White House and the Senate, conservatives can make all the budget changes they want. Until then, if Republicans in Washington are going to attack each other, they should learn to do it behind closed doors.

Copyright 2013 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. Mike's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns contact Cari Dawson Bartley at cari@cagle.com.

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trawl Dec 20, 2013 12:17 PM

little r wrote: "and only DC gets away with calling this a "cut""

Not even close.

When a profit making company falls short of projection the company calls it a "loss".

That's one of the reasons Romney was unsuitable for President. Politicians are bad enough without bringing a corporate raider or even just a business person into it.

Just look at the Shepard of the Portage County Tea Baggers.


trawl Dec 20, 2013 12:08 PM

"Can GOP ever learn to bury differences"

That's funny.

Before the loss in '06 and the humiliating defeat to the half black guy in '08 and the subsequent rise of the Tea Baggers the GOPpers marched in lock step, did the bidding of their leaders (Cato, Freedomworks, Heritage Foundation), never met a GOPper proposed expenditure they didn't like. Ran up bills and increased the debt limit to cover to cover those bills.

Historically the Democrats were the Keystone Cop party, and they still may be. But the dysfunction of the Republican puts the disorginization of the Democrats to shame.

"One of these days the Republican Party is going to find out that it is not the Conservative Party"

Nope, they aren't. I'm a Conservative but am mistaken for a Lib because I'm not some Anarchist Right Wing Nut Job which is what "conservatism" has come to mean.

"(XYZ) fights? In the real world, (XYZ) is never going to be 100 percent of what anyone wants."

Well Duh!

But the Idiot Right Wing which is now called Conservative and synonymous with Republican want what they want without compromise.

In short, that isn't how it works.


little_r_republican Dec 20, 2013 11:43 AM

America cannot endure another 2 years of democrat rule. Neither can we survive rule under the republican wing of the democrat party.Our country is at risk.The DC elete don't care, they got their money and power guaranteed.

This "wonderfull" compromise budget: Add $7 trillion to the debt., ends the 10 year sequester after less than 2 years, they can't find a missing $100 million,(maybe that is obama's "stash"?), exceeds current spending by $62 billion,( and only DC gets away with calling this a "cut") and still has outrageous spending in it like $1million for someone to read a romance novel about sex between the covers...