THE BLOG
12/05/2012 06:53 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2013

Governs Least

It's been a good few weeks for Democrats. Obviously, the election has Democrats elated. But the recriminations that have followed the GOP shellacking have been just as much fun. Consultants are going after Congressional Republicans for being too extremist. Right wing "journalists" are attacking consultants. And everyone in the Grand Old Party is grasping for a new way forward. It's a joy for Democrats to behold.

But any joy over this public GOP colonoscopy should be dimmed somewhat because the media and Republicans are aiming at the wrong target. It's true that moderates and the Tea Party are feuding. It's also true, and a bit ironic, that the Party of Lincoln seems truly unable to appeal to minorities. But the biggest problem for the modern GOP is that they want to run the government without any interest in governing.

Republicans will tell you that government is best which governs least. But even limited government requires, well, governing, a thought that seems to elude most Republican elected officials.

Their disdain for governing explains how Michael "Heck of a job" Brownie, a man with no emergency management experience, could be put in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It explains how a GOP Sen. Ron Johnson could rearrange his office to perform more political messaging, because he allegedly "realized that the day-to-day grind of legislating was not his forte."

And it certainly explains the career of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. No one in the Senate has done less with more than the fine Senator from the Bluegrass state.

McConnell has been in the Senate for over a quarter of a century and, in all that time, his main policy accomplishment is failing to stop campaign finance reform. And though we were in battle overseas and embattled by an economic meltdown at home, McConnell famously said his top priority for the Senate was to make Obama a one term President. This just goes to show that McConnell's policy ambitions are as deep as Kim Kardashian and about as successful as her marriage.

Somewhat more surprising is that the GOP disinterest in policy is now spreading to the last bastion of strength for the party -- their Governors.

One by one, Republican governors have refused to create health care exchanges for Obamacare, instead turning the policy over to the federal government. This abdication of governing has even bothered some Republicans. In Kansas, the GOP Insurance Commissioner attacked his own party for their negligence:

In Kansas, Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger -- a proponent of creating a health care exchange -- devoted two years to an application enabling the state to partner with HHS. On Nov. 8, GOP Gov. Sam Brownback said the state would not create an exchange.
"I think it's about politics," said Praeger, who was first elected to statewide office in 2002 and twice since then. "There's still a feeling with some conservative governors around the country that somehow not participating will cause this program to fail."

It's become fairly obvious over the past few weeks that Republicans feel their problem is their words -- find a new message and all will be right as rain. It is not their words, but their deeds, or lack thereof, that is their undoing. Until Republicans get serious again about governing, they will continue to lose elections, as well they should.