Republicans haven’t just abandoned their pre-2009 positions on cap-and-trade and health-care reform and the admissibility of tax increases in deficit reduction. They’ve also abandoned their position on campaign-finance disclosure:
In March of 2000, a Wall Street Journal editorial said, “Our view is that the Constitution allows consenting adults to give as much as they want to whomever they want, subject to disclosure on the Internet.” That same year, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell asked, “Why would a little disclosure be better than a lot of disclosure?” As recently as 2007, John Boehner said on “Meet the Press,” “I think what we ought to do is we ought to have full disclosure, full disclosure of all the money that we raise and how it is spent. And I think sunlight is the best disinfectant.” And the public resoundingly agrees: In an October 2010 CBS/New York Times poll, 92 percent of Americans said it is important for the law to require campaigns and outside spending groups to disclose how much money they have raised, where the money comes from, and how it was used.
Yet, since the Citizens United decision, the once-unifying disclosure issue has degenerated into another divisive set of battles, as long-time conservative proponents of disclosure have changed their positions so dramatically they could be treated for whiplash.
More here. I’ve come to think of this as the reverse-Obamaization of the Republican Party. Much as the Democratic Party is now defined by Obama’s agenda, the Republican Party is now defined by opposition to his agenda. That must be a real bummer for the GOP senators who entered public life to actually do things.
The Democratic Party, at the very least, chose Obama and has real influence over his agenda. The Republican Party didn’t choose Obama and has little influence over his agenda, but their platform is, if anything, even more dependent on Obama than the Democratic Party’s. There are plenty of Democrats who disagree with health-care reform because they think it’s too far left and plenty who disagree with it because they think it’s too far right and they all get to speak their mind. But Republicans who once loved the Obama/Romney model — and this includes Mitt Romney — now have to pretend they hate it, and since they haven’t had time to come up with alternatives, they’ve got no health-care policy at all. I can’t imagine that’s very fun for politicians who built their self-image around problem-solving and big ideas.