Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Party of "No"

In response to President Obama's agenda for the country, Republicans have borrowed former First Lady Nancy Reagan's mantra from her 1980's anti-drug campaign: Just Say No! Get used to it. This is the strategy the GOP's gonna employ for the next four years as it attempts to bring Obama down and win back the House and Senate. And what a boneheaded strategy it is.

We recently saw the Senate pass the president's $787-billion economic stimulus bill with just three GOP moderates--Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter--breaking ranks to vote for it. The measure previously passed in the House with 177 Republicans marching in lockstep to vote against it. Not one single vote from the right. Smells a little fishy, right? After former President Bush and Republicans gave Wall Street and the banking industry $2-trillion last Fall in bailouts and guarantees, don't tell me the January 29th vote on the Hill was anything more than pure partisan politics at its worst.

Make no mistake: Republicans are pissed off. They got trounced in November, and their response has been to act like spoiled, petulant, whiny 4-year-olds. The geniuses in the Party have decided that the road back to power is paved with defiant, unified opposition. That's a very calculated strategy that's going to backfire big-time.

Americans mandated change when they elected Obama president and gave Democrats greater majorities in both houses of Congress. Obama currently enjoys a 68% approval rating, higher than when he was campaigning for the job. And Democrats hold a 12-point approval lead over their colleagues across the aisle. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll out Tuesday morning shows 74% of Americans believe Obama is "trying to work with Republicans to get things done" while 59% said no to the question "Are Republicans trying to compromise with Obama." After eight miserably polarizing years under Bush, Obama's attempting to bring a new bi-partisan civility and tone to Washington, and Americans clearly recognize and support that. But he's wasting his time. For Pete's sake, his former rival Sen. John McCain on Monday challenged him over his use of a helicopter! Can it get any more trivial and petty than that? In that one little 'copter comment from McNasty we got to see just what these guys are all about.

With regard to the stimulus bill, wouldn't it have been more politically prudent for Republicans to rally around the president in a show of unity as they together attempt to lift the American economy out of its current abyss? Wouldn't it have been better to show voters they're part of the solution, while at the same time denouncing parts of the bill but promising Americans to "keep Obama and the Democrats in check" as the watchdog party these next few years? I'd call that a win-win for the GOP. But that's not what Republicans have up their crisp white sleeves. What they want is to giddily roll into the 2010 midterm elections with a smug "I told ya so" campaign theme. To be able to proudly declare, "we didn't vote for this bill." There is the right's unwavering hope that Obama and the Democrats fail in its efforts to jumpstart the economy. They see that as their ticket back to victory.

But what Republicans fail to grasp is that Obama's plan must succeed. It has to succeed. It simply cannot fail, period. Because if it does, and we're still racked by this financial crisis in 2010, we're all gonna be bankrupt and on breadlines...and that includes House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Opposer-in-Chief John McCrusty himself. If these GOP clowns believe that America can withstand another 20 months of recession, credit freezes, layoffs and stock market declines, it's truly delusional and drunk on it's own Kool-aid. Poison Kool-aid. The kind that kills political parties for good...


Anonymous said...

The economy has not bottomed-out yet, nor has the Republican party.

After the last election I assumed they'd realize politics before reality would no longer work, that just saying something does not make it true. Nope. The past month have shown they still think it's a game to be played, rather than real lives and real issues at stakes. It isn't a game anymore for most Americans but the Republicans aren't getting it.

Anonymous said...

I really wish I didn't feel this way, but I hate the Republicans.

They do not give a shit about the country. They only want to get back in power.

Unknown said...

The Republicans in Congress have become the very nattering nabobs of negativity once decried by the prototype modern Republican Spiro Agnew.
It is, they think, in their interests to bring down Obama and they are in a full court press to do same.
The sight of the GOP's ubiquitous Dr. No, aka John Boehner, on TV so often is making small children cry!
They are putting themselves out on a limb and I hope they keep sawing long enough to cut it off.

Unknown said...

A recent quote on the Obama plans from Chamber of Commerce leader Thomas Donohue "...The government is the only game in town capable of jump starting the economy..."

The GOP is losing their grip on the business leaders who see the demand drop off from the debt-fueled years.

A Democrat, is a Republic who just lost his livelihood, and as the pimp in 'Risky Business' warned:

"Joel, never mess with a man's livelihood."

Anonymous said...

The Republicans learned not to be spineless and cave on every issue after watching the Democrats do that when they were in the minority. The Republicans see how loathsome the Democrats appeared to their constituents and they don't want to be like them. Even now the Republicans are bragging about the unity of their Party. Whereas, Kennedy caved on the terrible program "No child left behind", Pellosi couldn't find it in her heart to impeach Bush; and almost all voted for the war. Even Obama has caved in his cabinet choices and that's just a start.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. The GOP does say "Yes" and has a positive program for this country. Yes to much needed tax cuts.. for the needy and suffering top one percent.

Yes to more military spending since spending anything less than all the world combined is "gutting our military" and yes to foreign wars of aggression and torture in order to bring the blessings of liberty to the world!

The only things the GOP says NO to are dangerous and wasteful programs like educating our kids which might cause them to vote Democratic and no to health care programs which only prolong the life of the sick. The GOP realizes that putting Grandma on the back porch in the winter is actually an act of compassion since they will see God that much sooner! Something you bleeding hearts dont get.
I dont see how decent people can think otherwise and if they do a little time on the rack will "stretch" their minds.

And the GOP realizes that we dont need any government actions to correct the economy. The miracle of the unfettered free market will take care of everything..long as we dont offend Gob by letting the gays get married!

God Bless the USA!!

( this is satire.. I feel I need to say that because many might actually believe I meant it.. Understandably since this is really how Repubs do think!

Anonymous said...

You know better than to write this nonsense. If your goal is to gin up the base, then fine. But please tell me Andy, that you are smarter than to believe this screed.

Let's start with the notion that the Democrats, led by the extreme left wing leaders in Congress drafted the bill without permitting ANY Republican input. NONE. The only concessions that were granted were tiny things to get the three liberal GOP senators to go along.

But from the standpoint of drafting the omnibus legislation, there was no input. And it makes sense that there would be no input from the stanpoint of a Democratic Party that is not just aimed at addressing the current situation, but, as Rahm Emmanual has famously said, "you should never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

So all the grab bag of left wing prices and presents were stuffed in a bill, using the need to simtulate the economy as a Trojan Horse for liberal social programs that could never stand on their own.

It is shameful that Obama, the post-racial, post-partisan president would permit such things to happen, but he did.

And the more he speaks, the more it becomes clear that he is one with Reid and Pelosi. He is in favor of some of the most liberal policies going, including giving millions to criminal organizations like ACORN.

How anyone can expect Republicans to sit there and go along with that is beyond me. No input, bills larded with non-stimulus Christmas Tree presents for the extreme left and passed without any kind of hearings (the better to keep the lard and left leaning programs lower profile and safe) and without even an opportunity to read the danged thing. Even Obama was shocked to find that Chris Dodd (D-Countrywide) snuck in a provision limiting bank compensation. A bill that goes into committee with no House money for fast trains, $2 billion from the Senate comes out with a negotiated settlement of $8 billion. Crazy, nutty things like that.

And you or anyone else has the temerity to criticize Republicans for voting no?

The people who made this a rigid partisan play were the Democrats and a President who apparently didn't mean a lot of what he said about sincerely reaching out to INCLUDE the opposing party (rather than going to hear them without listening) or posting bills for 5 days before signing them. Or no earmarks.

In light of the crisis (seems like Obama's favorite word) that we keep hearing about, one would think that those who have the votes would make sure that party labels were dropped and elected officials would come to the table as AMERICANS to solve the greatest economic threat of our lifetimes. Everybody should have walked away a little happy, a little unhappy. Something that had broad support could have been passed if Obama was honest about wanting to do what he never did in the Senate - reach across the aisle.

But trends tend to continue, and he refused to honestly reach across the aisle beyond the limited extend necessary to pick off three frightened Republicans from bluish states.

There is nothing for him or his supporters to be proud of here.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate and agree with your view; Republicans are behaving badly, and that's coming from a liberal Republican who's a little tired of his own party's rhetoric. But, it's easy to see how a marginalized right might be prone to wail and pout-- any other option would yield the same impotence. And most of the naysayers are likely afraid of the "Read My Lips" style backlash of the kind with which George HW's detractors beat him senseless after he sensibly relented on that no new taxes promise. Lesson: Bipartisanship can be dangerous to a political career.

In fairness, the stimulus bill could have been a tad more stimulating for actual wage-paying jobs in construction and infrastructure rehab, and a little less for ostensibly partisan wish-list fulfillment: Ideally, a bi-partisan effort should account for some opposing sensitivities. But truth be told, in this administration, Democrats don't have to cooperate with Republicans to pass legislation, so whining will commence. Politics is politics, on both sides, in good times and bad, which ultimately, especially now, is bad for everyone.

Anonymous said...

You are being disingenuous (surprise, surprise) with your attack on the "177 Republicans marching in lockstep to vote against it", with "it" being House Resolution 168.

1. 173 Republicans voted against House Resolution 168.
2. 21 Democrats voted against House Resolution 168.
3. 231 Democrats voted in lockstep in favor of House Resolution 168.

Since only Democrats voted in favor of House Resolution 168, the bipartisan action was to vote against House Resolution 168

Anonymous said...

11:02 No offense intended but you really don't know what your are talking about. Your statement saying..

"He is in favor of some of the most liberal policies going, including giving millions to criminal organizations like ACORN."

This statement shows you are just totally ignorant of the facts and eager to swallow all the right wing garbage talk radio has to offer.

And who do you think you are kidding when you say..

"one would think that those who have the votes would make sure that party labels were dropped and elected officials would come to the table as AMERICANS to solve the greatest economic threat of our lifetimes. Everybody should have walked away a little happy, a little unhappy. Something that had broad support could have been passed if Obama was honest about wanting to do what he never did in the Senate - reach across the aisle."

Ya!!! You make it sound as if you are such sweet reasonable folks that would just love to compromise for the sake of the country ...as if you have no recollection of the hateful demonizing of Democrats/ Liberals that has taken place over the last twenty years and your sickening election year attempts to portray Obama as in league with terrorists and hating America. Now that you're in a minority role its all sweet talk and compromise!

And what kind of compromise can we expect with Republicans?? Hell even in this post referencing compromise and working together you describe Obama's policies as "a grab bag of left wing presents" " a Trojan horse for programs that could never stand on their own" you say his actions are " shameful" and accuse him of favoring "criminal organizations" and "not meaning what he says". What kind of compromise can be made with persons having your outlook? None that I can see.

In truth, President Obama has done more than I ever would have in reaching out to Republicans in an attempt to solve the numerous crises created by Republican policies of war, deceit. divisions. deficits and deregulation.

Anonymous said...

the GOP is in no danger of going extinct.. there will always be wars to start, gay to bash and rich people to help...so dont worry the GOP will not go away..

Anonymous said...

no where do i read about the poor who are out of a job and now living in a tent city or shelter. when will our pres say aomething about them? we have a tent city in sacramento, ca and it is filling up with those of recent lay offs and foreclosure.

sandra k