Why Republicans Lose, Part CXVIII

Sure, there are people who there who claim that your hosts harbor a bias this way or that way on the political figures we discuss and the issues of the day. And to the extent that we are not and have never once claimed to be impartial journalists, or anything other than the shadowy cabal of blogger pundits that we are, we’re not losing a lot of sleep over this.

Because we suppose we do have a bias: against rank stupidity, and nonsensical, irresponsible blatherings from persons of all political stripes. Today’s prime example does happen to be a Republican, and he does happen to be shoveling pure nonsense, and it does happen to be the kind of nonsense you’d expect from, well, a Republican given its ideological bent. Those are facts beyond our control, as the Durango Herald’s editorial board picks up the story:

State Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, wants to replace Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa, as this district’s next U.S. congressman. Fair enough. That is how the system works, and without good people to step up and run for office, democracy cannot function.

As for elections setting a course for the country, however, the process works better if candidates keep their campaign promises and policy positions somewhere near reality. And offering to cut the federal budget by 50 percent does not qualify.

Nonetheless the Tipton campaign sent out a news release Tuesday promising to do just that. Nor is there any confusion as to his meaning. In the announcement, Tipton said he has a “vision for a federal government that is half the size and cost that it is today. Half as expensive as it is today. Half as many programs. Half everything!” [Pols emphasis]

That’s right, folks. State Rep. Scott Tipton, considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for Rep. John Salazar’s CD-3 seat in Congress–a seat prominently “targeted” by national Republicans as a pickup opportunity–proposes we just…cut. The federal government. “By half.”

So what (the hell) would that actually mean, asks the Herald?

Does Tipton want to stand up in Cortez and advocate closing Mesa Verde half the year? What other federal spending in the 3rd Congressional District would he eliminate? And how many jobs would he be willing to see go away?

Better yet, how would you like to be a fly on the wall when he tells a group of Blue Star Moms that their children, now serving in the armed forces, are going to get their pay, their pension and their government-supplied health care cut in half? That is in addition to getting only half the equipment, ammunition, training, fuel or even food they have now.

Even more interesting might be listening to the explanation at the local senior center about how spending on Social Security and Medicare also are going to be cut by half…

Gosh, and it sounded so good in that press release, so simple and neat, until you actually think about it, Mr. and Mrs. Low-Information Voter. Then, somewhere in the pit of your stomach, it hits them: this is completely crazy! Who out there really thinks a majority of CD-3 voters will get to November, all the way into the voting booth, without ever realizing how ridiculous, simplistic, and unworkable Tipton’s proposal to “cut the government in half” is?

And here’s the thing: Tipton is not the only “mainstream” Republican candidate in Colorado who has seemingly made it his mission to out-crazy all potential opponents.

Senate candidate Jane Norton’s strange statements about Obama and terrorism, and call to eliminate the federal Department of Education, Scott McInnis’ call to eliminate the Colorado Department of Ed and join some weird quasi-secessionist “group of states” with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Cory Gardner’s flirtation with “birtherism,” not to mention the universal embrace of a radical abortion ban this year that failed by over 70% of the vote only two years ago, Arizona’s new immigration law that seems so popular today while ignoring the demographics of tomorrow…who among you really believes this is, in aggregate, a platform a majority of Colorado voters would support?

Our guess, even among Republicans, is not very damn many. Most who do defend recent lurches to the extremist (we are using that word very deliberately and objectively) right by Colorado Republican candidates do so with unconcealed cynicism, noting that the “Tea Party” and other radicalized conservatives represent the segment of the population most energized to vote this fall. As for the ‘proposals’ themselves? We’re supposed to accept that this complete whackadoo nonsense coming out of their mouths is either a contrivance or inexperience.

The problem here is not really partisan in nature, either: it’s about extremism in general. Extremism does not sell the broader electorate, it repels them. If a Democrat were to propose with a straight face that we go out tomorrow and double the size of the federal government, we would denounce that as similarly extreme and ridiculous. Are there any Democratic candidates in Colorado putting their name on a press release calling for that, though? That would be no.

We keep coming back to something former GOP Rep. Norma Anderson said to the authors of Blueprint: “Republicans have forgotten that politics is a game of addition, not subtraction.” The fact is that in Colorado, this lurch to the hard ideological right by Republicans has been going on for a long time, and has done tremendous internal damage to the party. What we didn’t expect is that even those who were casualties of that lurch–either in primaries like Scott McInnis, or the general election like Dick Wadhams–have apparently learned nothing.

If that’s true, then they remain on same path they have been on in Colorado for the last three election cycles, “wave year” or not: to long-term marginalization.

P.S.: Kudos to the Herald for actually digging into the meat of Tipton’s statement and discussing the potential repercussions. It’s vitally important that statements from politicians are actually debated by the media, rather than just recited verbatim.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. H-man says:

    Hopefully it helps to elevate the dialogue.  

    I am not going to try to defend the lack of nuance by Tipton, and Norton in my view is a vacuous trool incapable of intelligent thought, but you guys got your own morons to worry about, too.  

    Insuring an additional 30 million people is going to drive down costs?  Anybody stupid enough to think that or say that should be institutionalized as being a danger to themselves or others, not elected.

    • H-man, let me ask you a few business questions:

      Is it better for your workers to be healthy or sick?  Is it better for them to have faster recovery, or slower?

      Is it cheaper to insure 10 workers, or 100?  100, or 1000?  On a similar note, if you have few contracts do you have to charge more or less per contract than if you had thousands of contracts?  If you have few assets producing output, is it more or less reliable than having many assets supporting your company?

      If your company is small, can you get better or worse deals from other companies than if you were a large company?

      Ensuring that all of our country has adequate health care is a strictly fiscal decision: we are a more productive nation when our population is healthy; our business costs go down because we do not have so much interruption in work efficiency.  And our insurance costs go down on all accounts – less overhead, better distributed risk, and increased purchasing power.

      If you’re thinking we’re saying adding 30m people to the insurance rolls is a net decrease in costs, you’re wrong – what we’re saying is that adding 30m people to the insurance rolls drives down our existing costs (the 30m people being extra), and in the end, having those 30m people under insurance will further drive down costs because they will be healthier in their future.

      • H-man says:

        The argument has been made by some (Betsy Markey?) that adding 30 million people to those that have health insurance will drive down costs.  

        Your are we better off as a society, is healthy better than sick, is good better than bad stuff is not the issue.  

        Some have said that this saves money. It does not for two reasons.  As to the 30 million, they are an additional cost. As to the existing insureds you can’t increase demand, keep supply the same and not have price go up.

        Nobody that stupid should be elected to office.  

        • ajb says:

          Are they sickly, in need of medical care? Or are they relatively young and healthy and choose not to buy insurance? I can’t point to any studies, but I suspect it tilts to the latter. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share.

          Also, if having insurance means that you get preventative care that avoids needing care for more catastrophic illness, that could decrease costs, no?

          And remember, just because you don’t have insurance doesn’t mean you don’t get care. Just ask any ER doc. So it’s not like you’re suddenly adding 30 million new consumers of health care. But, you are adding 30 million people (potentially) to the insurance pool.

          And as to whether we are better off as a society, I politely beg to differ. But I suppose that’s the difference between liberals and conservatives.

          • H-man says:

            Some of the demographic may be skewed towards the young and healthy, most is not. If everyone is already getting free care, perhaps there was no need for the insurance.  The reality is this is going to cost an awful lot of money that we don’t have.  To me the honest argument comes down to an ethical choice.  The econmic justification is silly.

            • ajb says:

              1. Young and healthy may also be poor. They’re not mutually exclusive.

              2. There is no such thing as free care, but you know that.

              3. We don’t know how much this is going to cost yet. And we won’t until it’s fully implemented. It may cost far less than you think (my reasons above), or far more than I think (your reasons above).

              4. I do agree that this comes down to an ethical choice/moral imperative/etc. But remember, health care reform includes many facets. I think you’d be hard-pressed to defend the old system on any moral basis (recision, denial of care, pre-existing conditions), much less an economic one (costs increasing 10%/year, unaffordable policies).

              And since HCR passed, I haven’t heard anything from the right side of the aisle about how they would amend it.  

              • H-man says:

                So the logic of Nancy Pelosi of we won’t know what is in it until we pass it has morphed into we won’t know how much the bill costs until we have to pay for it.

                Here is what we have basically done.  We make Warren Buffet a criminal if he does not buy health insurance, and he does not need it.  

                You make me pay for someone to buy health insurance who may need it because it makes you feel better to do so.  If you want to go buy health care insurance for people because it makes you feel good, knock your socks off.  Just don’t make me do it too.

        • marindenver says:

          You are either unaware of, forgetting, or deliberately ignoring the fact that the new law also has revenue raisers in the form of, gasp!, tax increases.  Specifically increases in the Medicare tax and imposition of a tax on net investment income of wealthy individuals.  Additionally excise taxes are being imposed on health related industries.  And a lot of the waste in Medicare spending (and yes, it is waste, not denial of care) is being cut out.

          Add to that the significant effect of enlarging the insurance pool and bringing competition into play between insurors (like the, you know, auto insurance industry) and the CBO (not just a bunch of bloggers) concluded that the bill would cut costs and reduce the deficit.  

          Oh, and the bit about 40,000 people a year NOT dying for lack of health insurance and access to affordable care.  That too, man.

          • H-man says:


            The point was you can’t justify adding 30 million people to the health insurance rolls by saying it lowers cost.

            If your point is we have raised other people’s taxes to pay for this, then I guess they came up with the revenue to offset something, perhaps the increased cost.

            • marindenver says:

              I guess I’m not clear what your point is.  The CBO did a pretty thorough study of the bill and concluded differently than you.  And I don’t happen to think that paying taxes when you’re in the bracket to afford them so as to make life a little better for people not so lucky is a bad thing.  Ronnie was wrong.  Trickle down is a myth.  Prosperity works when it’s bottom up.  Anyway I think we just have to agree to disagree here.

        • She voted for the bill not because it reduced costs by adding 30m to the insurance rolls, but rather because the overall bill not only met the $100b over 10 year financial target but was projected by the CBO to reduce the nation’s debt.

          I’m not arguing that the 30m are an additional cost – I didn’t above, won’t now.  The new law provides some relief for medical schooling, which should increase the supply of medical care to address the demand issue.  (This was a problem anyway, because too many med students were going into high-paying specialties and not enough into lower-paying general practice.)

          Taking care of 30m people – largely poor people – increases their health and reduces their future drain on our medical “supply”; it also increases their productivity, which increases revenue back to the government, which lowers the overall cost of the program…

          • H-man says:

            The bill is a fraud.  These numbers were all predicated upon the wink-wink agreement with the docs that submitted numbers to the CBO which assumed Docs would get paid less for their services.  How do you think that is going to play out?  Docs are already being asked to take less than their costs and will just not take new patients.  

            Everything that we have heard from economists and actuaries that have run the number show this to be a crock.  Betsy was either sufficiently stupid that she should never be elected by not getting it, or got it and is not coming clean.  I suspect it is the later.

  2. Froward69 says:

    wants to halve the defense budget (and I believed him)  then I and lots of my friends would not just vote for him but campaign for him too.

    yet the stupidity of what he said (that he obliviously does not really mean) is the same tired old plank (lies) Bush ran on.

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    Is being Pro-Life and interested in the welfare of “The Unborn” but totally disinterested in helping after the birth canal has been navigated.  I would guess that eliminating totally Social Services and welfare would be a high priority of Republicans but are they then going to be trained as volunteers to detect when a teenage girl is being raped by her father?  If they do detect child abuse then what are their plans for dealing with it or do they just wash their hands because it’s not their problem?  How are they going to fund the possible murder investigations of miscarriages?  It just gets so confusing when they want the state to control womens health care procedures but they don’t care about anyone or anything that requires government funding to deal with the consequences of their puritanical society.

  4. ScottP says:

    I think it should be THE buzzword of the upcoming elections.

    It seems the far right has become so good at sound-byte politics, they forgot that there needs to be real meaning behind those words.

    Want to see impressive blustering or pure radical extremism? Ask one of these whackadoos just how they plan on reaching these goals. Then just sit back and amazement as you realize these are the FRONTRUNNERS! /facepalm

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