Republicans are committing political malpractice

The Week
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) speaks on the pending fiscal sequestration on Feb. 13.

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) speaks on the pending fiscal sequestration on Feb. 13.

Their refusal to negotiate is only helping Democrats

Republican voters must be steaming mad.

But they don't seem to show it despite the political malpractice of their party leaders over the last several years.

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Republicans bet everything to defeat President Obama's health care reform plan — without ever offering a real alternative or working with Democrats to find common ground. Then they doubled-down on hopes the Supreme Court would overturn the law. They doubled-down again believing that voters would deny President Obama re-election and they could repeal the law. They lost every time. Now, the country will live under a health care law — for probably a generation or more — that could have been based on many Republican ideas had they simply negotiated.

The GOP is doing the same thing with the budget sequester fast approaching on March 1. President Obama wants additional tax revenues by closing loopholes in the tax code as part of a plan to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts. He's also promised significant cuts — including to both Social Security and Medicare — in return. But Republicans on Capitol Hill aren't interested. They could likely win more spending cuts than they would have to concede in new tax revenues if they negotiated. Instead, they dig in.

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The GOP's stance is especially maddening since just two months ago they were willing to raise tax revenues by closing loopholes during the "fiscal cliff" debate. Now every Republican leader speaks from the same talking points saying additional tax revenues are "off the table." As a result, the country will get fewer but more damaging spending cuts via the sequester.

Common sense would suggest Republican voters would rise up against their party leaders for failing so dismally to advance their party's stated goals. Their silence is deafening.

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