Do Congressional Republicans Get It?

I submit from, John Boehner’s memo to the Members of the Republican Caucus

A few reactions that I had to it were that Republicans lost because of a few things, mainly, the fact that this past Congress was the least productive in recent memory, even exceeding Truman’s historic “do nothing” Congress; corruption seemed rampant with the ongoing scandals surrounding various Members; the war in Iraq is not going well and voters are tired of the status quo stay the course message; and finally, Republicans didn’t keep the faith on issues of less spending and smaller government. 

The vote in 1994 was a rejection of the excess of the Democrats just as this most recent vote was a rejection of the excess of the Republicans.  I believe that most voters would like to feel they can vote for people who are consistent, say what they mean, are willing to be responsible and held accountable for their actions, and won’t play political games with important issues. 

If Republicans shape their policies in that model, they would well be on their way to Majority status, but you can’t say one thing and mean another and mence words of sincerity on important issues like war and healthcare. 



  1. atlantaman says:

    You’re whole “Do Nothing” premise contradicts your point that GOP spending was out-of-control. The GOP clearly did a lot in the last 6 years and I would have been happier had they done nothing. I think when our founding fathers laid their plans out for this country and its citizen legislature they didn’t want Congress doing a lot. They would be amazed at the quantity of stupid legislation that increases government and spending.

    I would agree that GOP spending was out-of-control, America is unhappy with the war and their seemed to be a level of fat and happy complacency with the GOP.

    There is a major historical trend, which doesn’t make for very interesting news, that might be the biggest contributing factor in the GOP loses – at some point people get sick of the party in power. The following are 6 year points in various administrations.

    Eisenhower – lost 13 Senate 48 House
    Kennedy/Johnson – lost 4 Senate 47 House
    Nixon/Ford – 5 Senate 48 House I know there was Watergate, but it still fits the trend.
    Reagan – 8 Senate 5 House (not that bad)
    Clinton – 0 Senate Gained 5 House – He bucked the trend, but took his beating earlier in 1994.
    Bush – 6 Senate 29 House

  2. Bull Moose says:

    I meant do nothing in terms of actually being in session…

    Oversite is also a job of Congress, to which this Congress has abdicated that role, especially in terms of oversite on how the money is spent in regards to items like FEMA, the war, rebuilding Iraq, etc…

    Notice that there are audits continually showing money being gone or spent foolishly…

    Had Congress properly provided oversite, how much of that could have been avoided?

    Adam, you seem to miss the point completely…

  3. atlantaman says:

    As long as you have Government spending money, they’ll always be “audits continually showing money being gone or spent foolishly”. It’s the nature of the beast which is why you try and keep Government programs to a minimum…we are failing on this front.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    Atlantaman, again, you are missing the big picture of what I was trying to say… It’s about oversite.

  5. atlantaman says:

    I think your the one missing the point. All the oversite in the world can’t stop government waste. That’s why we need to limit government as much as possible. The Founding Fathers had it right and I guarantee you they never imagined Congress’ main role as providing oversite to a bunch of multi-billion dollar pork projects and give-away programs.

  6. Atlantaman, that is forward thinking that general politicos don’t understand. Good food for thought, needs to be taught.

    My fear is that our society is too lazy to involve themselves in the process. They really could care less what government does or doesn’t do, just as long as their belly is full and they’ve got cheap gas. That’s a shame.

  7. liberty21 says:

    I guess Eisenhower and Nixon both loss substantial amount of seats, so it seems for Bush’s sake he didn’t lose that bad. He still lost both houses anyway you put it.

  8. If you read Boehner’s memo, I would argue that the Republicans don’t really get it.

    Start with the one simple idea (which he concedes): Americans are in favor of a minimum wage increase. He says Republicans tried to do this, but that’s not really true. They never had a simple up or down vote on a minimum wage increase bill. They tried to tack minimum wage increases on to Republican spending bills and tax cuts in an effort to force Democrats to vote for it.

    Quite simply, if anything the American people said stop playing politics and start giving us results. I don’t know when Americans decided this (the Republicans won by playing politics with very important issues like the war on terror in ’02 and ’04) but at a certain point they made that decision and the further antics of the Republican majority just seemed to dig the hole deeper.

    It seemed like the MO for the last 4 years was 1) take an issue that at first look is popular with the American people and 2) push it so far to the right but below the radar that Democratic leaders, who are paying attention to the details don’t want to vote for it but 3) voters don’t understand why/how anyone could be against the overall issue so 4) they’ll punish Democratic candidates for not supporting the seemingly popular Republican bill that is terrible legislation and 5) almost always includes illegitimate power grabs by the executive branch.

    For some reason, the American people decided enough was enough. Does Boehner understand that there is a distinction between leading a country and leading a political caucus in Congress? Republicans were very good at the latter, not so good at the former. Have they gotten that memo?

  9. atlantaman says:

    Raising the minimum wage is the definition of playing politics. If you force companies to increase their payroll they’ll either have to raise prices or lay people off. If they raise prices then the poor folks who just got a raise in the minium wage are going to realize their new “raise” was a wash when in comes to their buying power.

    Minimum wage is the ultimate pandering tool aimed at people who don’t have a basic understanding of economics – it’s a shell game. What you earn is irrelevant, it’s what you can buy with what you earn that is important.

    The whole minimum wage argument is ridiculous for another reason as well. Everyone knows that the majority of people in this country who make the minimum wage are part-time, high school types. There are very few if any “heads of households” making the minimum wage. We just had an immigration bust in Hall county at a chicken plant and the ILLEGAL workers were making $9.50 – $10 an hour! What this is really about is union contracts being base on multiples of the minimum wage and the Democrat party trying to appease an important constituency.

  10. atlantaman says:

    I don’t have the fact in front of me, but my guess is the states with the highest minimum wage probably have the highest cost of living.

    If the minimum wage actually worked then why play games raising it a dollar or two, why not make the minimum wage a $100,000 a year and then everyone in this country could have a very comfortable and luxurious lifestyle. All the union contracts would go up to $300,000 a year, so everyone would be happy. I bet some CEO’s would then make a billion dollars a year. Please take me to this shangri la.

  11. rugby_fan says:

    atlantaman you know quite well why raising the minimum wage to such a level would not work, it would devalue money.

    When you raise the MW incrementally and in nominal amounts, it doesn’t spell the end of the free market and allows individuals to have slightly more money without dragging down the actual worth of currency.

  12. The real point is that for Boehner to now say “well we tried to raise the minimum wage ourselves” is dishonest and suggests to me that the Republicans don’t get “It” and that they won’t be able to just buy it on eBay as the next elections roll around.

  13. Bull Moose says:

    How do you stemy the growth of government, by strict oversite. If you have oversite that works, then you’re less likely to have a growing government.

    And oddly enough, only Chrisishardcore gets the joke on the Boehner memo… Odd, really odd…

  14. atlantaman says:


    You’re on the cusp of realizing why the minimum wage is just a shell game. It still devalues money either way, doing it incrementally just makes it less noticeable. Money is simply the facilitator of the age old barter system.

    Raising the MW “doesn’t spell the end of the free market” as a matter of fact on a MW increase the free market will go into full force and adjust prices for goods and services accordingly.

    If digging a ditch for one hour equates to a freshly cooked hamburger and coke then in a sense the money doesn’t matter. The government can’t over-ride the free market and give the ditch digger more buying power than the free market allows for his skill set. You can’t force the ditch digger to be paid $8 an hour without the price of the burger and coke going to $8 as well (this assumes there are no other variable affecting the price of the burger or coke at the time). The only way government could control it would be to set compensation and retail prices – it’s already been tried through Communism.

    An increase in MW will cause all prices and salaries to eventually go up proportionally – it’s inflationary. You just don’t notice it because it takes a little time and it’s blended in with other inflationary forces. The beauty of this shell game for the knee-jerks is that it’s a never ending issue, raise the minimum wage, prices go up and then there will be a need to raise the minium wage again.

  15. atlantaman says:

    The irony is that I just read a convincing paper that Wal-Mart, and it’s tremendous scale and never ending pursuit of a low cost model, it just as responsible for keeping inflation in check as Allan Greenspan.

    People don’t seem to realize there are two sides to the Wal-Mart equation. When they make demands for more healthcare, unions, benefits, pay etc.. they are essentially telling Wal-Mart to raise their prices and give the people of this country less buying power – many of whom could least afford the price increases.

  16. Atlantaman, lets say for a second that the minimum wage is eliminated, and that the new minimum wage is $0. Would the price of a burger and coke also be $0? Actually, I don’t think it would go down (or up) at all, but let’s say the burger still costs something.

    So if the burger still costs something, which I think we agree it will, we may be able to show that there is some sort of effect on market prices by raising or lowering the minimum wage but it isn’t a 1:1 correlation.

    If wages go up by X% and prices go up by smaller than X% it’s a win win for those folks. Very few Americans are in labor anymore, and I doubt my salary would have too much to do with the minimum wage, so even though some people will get an instant raise, most people won’t, which further serves to keep prices in check, because I can’t afford a big increase because my salary hasn’t gone up.

    In essence, it’s a good faith gesture to the less well off. Ultimately, the problem with your minimum wage argument is the same problem with the Laffer Curve. If cutting taxes always increases tax revenue, let’s just take that to the ultimate extreme and eliminate all taxes (or reduce rates to 1%). You get my point.

  17. atlantaman says:


    First of all if you eliminiated MW nothing would goto zero since the free market sets most people’s salaries and the cost of goods. As I mentioned before, most people earning the MW are part-time high-school types. I think for the most part this whole argument is moot when you’ve got illegal aliens in Hall county making $10 an hour in chicken processing plants. I’m not even one of the conservatives that believes an increase in MW eliminates a whole lot of jobs (maybe temporarily until the market has had time to adjust prices), my belief is that the market adjusts for everything else accordingly (higher salaries and more expensive goods) to adjust for the minimum wage.

    I see where you are going with the reducing taxes to zero, but it’s not quite the same since very few people currently earn the MW.

    If the MW goes up will you get an instant raise – No. The effects will be gradual and lopped in with the rest of inflation, but I promise you it will happen. If if didn’t happen then why is there always a continual need to raise the MW?

    The point I’m making is if a skill-set of a car wash employee gives that person a certain amount of buying power in the free market, the government cannot intervene and give that car wash employee more buying power. The free market will adjust (over time) accordingly to ensure the employee’s buying power is in-line with what the free market has assigned that particular skill-set.

  18. atlantaman says:

    I do want to revise my previous post and state that if a particular low margin business has a lot of MW employees and the business cannot raise its prices, then it will have not choice but to fire some of the employees. So MW will reduce jobs in the short-term until the market has had time to adjust and allow business to raies its prices.

  19. IndyInjun says:

    The fact that the GOPers selected Boehner as their leader, instead of a REFORMER, means they learned NOTHING and it is BUSINESS AS USUAL.

    If the Dems continue to find conservatives and moderates to run, as they did this time, the GOP is in serious trouble.

    They deserve to be tossed on the scrapheap of history for their feckless abandonment of the conservatism that they professed.

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