GOP unity is strained


The tea party reiterated its status as a political force to be reckoned with in Tuesday’s rally at the state Capitol, but so what? The influence of the Republican Party’s conservative wing was never really disputed in Kentucky, which voted against Barack Obama in 2008 and is expected to do the same this November.

The bigger issue is whether the Romney/Ryan presidential ticket can win enough support coast to coast to defeat Obama and reverse his initiatives, notably the Affordable Care Act. To make that happen, the party needs not only to win the White House but to recover control of the U.S. Senate. So Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a more conventional Republican, stood with Sen. Rand Paul on the Capitol steps, declaring their joint determination to chase the Democrats out of Congress. McConnell promised, “if I’m setting the agenda next January instead of Harry Reid, the repeal of Obamacare will be Job 1.”

Trouble is, things aren’t necessarily going as McConnell and Paul might hope. Republicans need every vote they can scrounge up to recapture the Senate and they had high hopes that Rep. Todd Akin could unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. The dream is in serious jeopardy following Akin’s faux pas over abortion – exactly the kind of social conservatism topic Mitt Romney has downplayed in his focus on the economic issues that draw more consensus among party members.

Akin, who believes abortion should be illegal, got in trouble for mentioning he understood science to say the female anatomy has an innate ability to prevent pregnancy following “legitimate” rape. Aside from the biological error in his initial assumption, the Republican lawmaker now wishes he had chosen different terms to describe rape. What he probably meant to say was that not every woman who cries rape is necessarily the victim of a criminal assault. In some cases, she may merely have had second thoughts in the aftermath of consensual sex.

But never mind, as soon as the words departed his lips, critics pounced on them, pigeonholing Akin as just another Republican Neanderthal who lacks understanding of female sensitivities. He apologized, to no avail. Romney and other Republicans called on the hapless candidate to step aside for the greater good of the party in its continuing effort to regain control of the Senate.

But Akin wouldn’t go that far. Even without support from the party establishment, he forged ahead, turning to Christian evangelicals and independent Republicans for sympathy. Such groups are famously passionate about their causes, but likely don’t wield the same power they once did in a society that’s grown more tolerant of formerly forbidden behavior – like same-sex marriage, which lots of social conservatives vociferously oppose while many fiscal conservatives would rather change the subject.

This is a formidable challenge for the party of Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. While they want the votes of social conservatives – or any others who find it in their hearts to back Republican candidates – their strategy is to portray the president as a leader who inherited an economic mess and has failed, thus far, to clean it up.

Observers witnessed two disparate politicians united in purpose at Tuesday’s rally in Frankfort. Whether that same solidarity can be achieved nationwide is a question Republicans will soon have to answer.

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  • Some people are exempt from the new law. If a person's income is below a certain level, or if the cheapest insurance would cost 8 percent of the person's income, no penalty would apply for lack of coverage. There also are exemptions for people in prison, people objecting on recognized religious grounds and for members of Native American tribes. The rules were spelled out over the weekend by the Joint Committee on Taxation, which includes both Senate and House members.

  • LOL!!!!!1713, maybe you need to read ALL of the passages that relate to this debate. Then you will find who can't reconcile THEIR ways with them. You're right about one thing, it can't be done. And, by the way, Clinton was able to balance the budget because he was willing to compromise with the REPUBLICAN congress he had. Unlike the current President who has to have everything his way, or I'll pick my marbles an go home. BOOHOOHOO. He doesn't know the meaning of the word "COMPROMISE." Oh, and by the way, DON'T hand me that LIBERAL CRAP about the DEMOCRATS not having a super majority during Obama's first two years in office. How did the LIBERALS get Obamacare passed? HMMMMM!!!! And who does Obamacare hurt the worst, the elderly and the poor. They can't afford the healthcare, so how are they going to pay the TAX? Sorry, I didn't say that it is a tax, the Supreme Court did.

  • Careful 671, you have lost your need to read those quotes carefully and then try to reconcile your ways with them. It cannot be done. Need4Speed, no doubt that Clinton inherited a much better situation than President Obama, who has had to try to cleanup after 8 long years of Dubya and his merry gang. And in spite of the most obstructionist Congress in history, he kept us out of Great Depression 2.0. BTW, Romney's proposals, in contrast, promise to return us to the discredited doctrines and reckless policies of the George W. Bush administration. Out of Romney's 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration. We've seen that movie before, and it doesn't end well. The republicans over the last 30 years have always been bigger spending, more job losing, BIGGER government than any Democratic administration, but you guys keep buying the sizzle and not the steak. Why is that?

  • Need4speed, be careful, 1713 will start picking out, parts of the Bible, and start quoting them to you. Then critize you for something they know nothing about. By the way, you are right on!!!!!

  • UKfan asks: "Why, if the Democratic world view is so wrong, was Clinton able to balance our budget, and begin paying down the Federal Debt?"...................................What I've been reading in this thread is the usual Democratic rant, but I'll attempt to answer this one.........................Mr Clinton inherited a very good situation. The cold war ended, and gave us the "peace dividend" (Thank you Ronald Reagan). There also was relative calm and stability in the middle east (Thank you Bush the elder). The dot com boom was just starting to take off. (Thank you business). God forbid that the Republicans get blamed for anything good.

  • Mr. Fry...I have to agree with 1713....the older format seems much better to navigate. Please get them to put in period key is getting a workout.

  • Don't forget about the 28 consecutive months of positive private sector job growth since the President took office, in spite of the most obstructionist Congress in history. ...........................................................................................Steve Fry, I can feel for Mach5, as this new format makes it darned hard to find the older stories that we want to follow. That plus the loss of paragraphs makes it cumbersome at best...and this was better?

  • But we can afford to subsidize all the corporations? Sorry, but I'd much rather have my tax dollars support poor, elderly, disabled people and families than corporations making historically high profits and the stock market at historical highs. That kind of kills that whole lie about Obama being anti-business, doesn't it? Oh, and you didn't build that, business folks. All of us paying taxes - local, state, and federal - for your roads, police and fire protection, inspections to keep us from dying from your food and facilities, the Internet and the countless other government-provided benefits that make your business go built that.

  • Kentuckians disenchantment with liberal ideology runs deep, so they have suspended all reason and logic, preferring not to see these problems with their minds, but with their hearts and their guts. If they used their minds, they would see that Ryan, the "fiscal hawk" that has the Republican base all fired-up by his referring to our country's problems as the result of "misguided policies". What Ryan and Romney will not tell us is that Ryan voted for all the things that have helped us to go from the 1990's surplus to our current "crushing debt". Stuff like the unfunded Bush tax cuts ($1.7 trillion), both unfunded wars (not cheap), Medicare D entitlement plan, more defense spending and more unfunded tax cuts, then there was the TARP bank bailout...that is a lot unfunded spending (McCain called it "spending money like a drunken sailor"). What kind of lunatic would vote for every one of this fiscal time bombs...that would be Paul Ryan. His plan is to gut medicare and take those funds and give it to the rich in tax cuts. That is Romney's plan too, but he will not tell you that now (although like a lot of other things too, he has before). He is counting on you not to remember it. But I am sure that Kentuckians using their gut feelings, will oblige.

  • I feel quite sure you would have just loved living in the Bush II Depression, had the stimulus bill not been passed. Then you could have seen the final result of GOP tax cuts for job creators, and deregulation first hand. As it is, you probably are not aware that the Bush II meltdown had driven the unemployment rate up to over 8% before that stimulus package was even passed. Strange how the GOP Faithful can continue with the GOP Narrative, even though most economists, have agreed that the very same stimulus you "laugh at" made the difference between a nasty recession, and a full blown depression. Somehow, for some strange reason, many of the Faithful's comments are nothing more than name calling and personal ridicule, No discussions as to why their view is right, the one under consideration wrong. I would love to see the GOP address just how more tax cuts, and deregulation are going to restore our economy, and create jobs? How will it balance the budget? If those trickle down economic theories are so good, then why did the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II Administrations create over 10 Trillion in Federal Deficits, and not be the top three job creation administrations of the last 6? Why, if the Democratic world view is so wrong, was Clinton able to balance our budget, and begin paying down the Federal Debt? How does the GOP expect this nation to thrive during a recovery from a recession they brought about by attempting to impose massive spending cuts to the Federal budget which will result in more Federal employee layoffs, and consequently, more private sector layoffs in anticipation of less money in the system. How can the GOP justify more tax cuts to the nonperforming "Job Creators" who have not taken the tax savings gifted to them by three GOP Administrations, who have only used the tax savings to simply acquire more property and wealth. How much more in income and wealth does the GOP think the top 2% needs? Isn't 44% of all the wealth in America enough? Haven't the top 2% increased their income enough, by an average of 276% enough. Can't you see that what the GOP has done over three GOP Administrations, and now presented as "solutions" by the Romney/Ryan/GOP but now further compounded by massive Federal spending cuts, layoffs and cuts in safty nets, and entitlements and tax increases for the 98% to help pay for the tax cuts for the job creators, does not work? How does the GOP Plan for America not meet the classic definition of Insanity, "Doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result". How many of you Faithful have bothered to look at our own economic history, and simply observe the results of these recycled GOP Policies? How many of you understand that once a Nation allows a small percentage of its population, such as the 2%, the Job creators so special to the GOP, control over 40% of the wealth of a nation, and most of its political power, it goes into decline, and eventually ceases to exist? Instead of listening to FOX News, Hannity, Limbaugh, and others, and believing all they say, no questions asked, do your own research, educate yourself, and discover what does, and does not work, in the history of nations, as well as our own economic history. You will be shocked to see that it is consistently the GOP which has created deficits, and harmed our nation with repeated applications of failed trickle down economics. Now, Romney and Ryan want to do it all over again. ..

  • Mach5, do you mean this story?

  • I don't think Akin misspoke, except in the sense that he accidentally showed what he really believes. I hope Obama wipes the floor with the money-hungry, for-the-rich, obstructionist Republicans.

  • What happened to the other story about the tea party rally and all the comments???One thing about abortion. If Obama care will only cover abortion if the pregnacy was caused by rape I bet money that rapes go up. A free nation such as ours cannot afford to raise all the people. We will have to be a socialist nation. Ive noticed everytime I post this no one disagrees???