Sunday, March 1, 2009

GOP: Limbaugh or Bipartisanship II

I wanted to build upon my post yesterday, that Democrats are forcing Republicans to choose between Rush Limbaugh or bipartinsanship. In this fashion, today on "Face the Nation," Rahm Emanuel stated that Limbaugh is “the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.”

The Republicans have developed their counter-response to this situation. First, against Limbaugh, they must admit that they don't want to see Obama fail (a la Eric Cantor today), and where Republicans and Obama are in agreement, they are happy to work together (a la Jindal last week). But, where there is principled disagreement, Republicans must take a firm stand, seen in the party line no-votes on the stimulus package. Like the Democrats, we have heard this message-scheme play out in the media; no secrets here.

One problem for the Republicans, however. According to a new poll, Americans want Obama to stick to his campaign promises (56%) over pursuing bipartisanship (39%). Yet, the public overwhelmingly wants Republicans to work in a bipartisan fashion (79%) instead of sticking to their policies (17%).


CWPNRG? said...

A blessing in disguise, if you ask me. The public understands that these policies are Democratic policies. So when these policies fail, it's completely on the Democrats. In 2010, what are they going to say about us Republicans: "This is just more of what we had in 2008"?
My prediction is that in 2010, people will be dying for what we had in 2008. Being in opposition is easy; actually governing is difficult.

Drew said...


But the public clearly wants the Republicans to take ownership of these solutions too. This is a fine line for Republicans to walk right now. Republicans can't be viewed as obstructionists or the public will desire more Democrats.

Matt F. said...

Okay, lets try to understand CW's argument. The entire American economy basically collapsed under the watch of the Republicans. Clearly governing was very difficult for them. I will agree that Republican politicians in general and the Bush administration in particular cannot be fully blamed for what happened, it was a complex set of fuck ups, and no one is entirely blameless. Things will very likely get worse before they get better, and we might well wish come 2010 that we had what we had in 2008. But the damage has already been done. The only thing the people in power can do now is try to stop the bleeding and do something to make things better. The Republican party has yet to come up with an alternate plan to help fix the economy, they simply continue to rail against any attempts by the Democrats.
This is what the public is saying. Republican ideas helped get us into this mess, and they want someone who will try to get us out. Its like if I shot someone, and the doctors are attempting surgery but the patient's condition is deteriorating. And then I come into the operating room and say "He was better right after I shot him." Who is to blame in this scenario? I would assume not the doctors.
If things are bad in 2010, I don't believe that people will automatically blame the Democrats, as long as the Democrats (President Obama in particular) continue to be honest about the scope of the problems and continue to attempt to fix them. The Republicans only alternative thus far is to resist any attempts at healing the economy. Until the Republican party can come up with some better ideas, I think the American people will side with the party trying to save the economy, rather than with the party who simply wants to let it bleed out.

CWPNRG? said...

I don't have time for Matt's post at the moment; I will, however, take on Drew's. (Matt, I promise I'll come back.)
The public may desire more Democrats in the short term if Republicans are viewed as obstructionist. That's fine, because the election isn't until 2010. I agree that our approval ratings are going to be garbage well into this year, and even the beginning of next year.

Drew said...

CWPNRG?, I truly appreciate your honesty and candor.

CWPNRG? said...

To continue my earlier comment to Drew (I had to run to class), we're not seeking to be obstructionist for the sake of being obstructionist. We do it because we believe the policies are bad for America. And I'd refer you to Lee Stranahan's article in the Huffington Post for further elucidation of this point:
If our "obstructionism" costs us political points in 2009, that's fine, because we believe that our "obstructionism" will have shown to be the right course by November 2010.

Matt: I'm glad you recognize that's it isn't all Republican fault. I would assign very little actual blame to anyone, as recessions tend to occur in our financial system.
I contest, however, the notion that we did not have an alternative plan. There was a Republican economic bill; we just forgot to talk it up. We are not entirely used to being in the minority again, and the leadership still has the mindset that you can win elections with the slogan "They're worse than we are!"
Additionally, the mess is attributed to the Republicans, rightly or wrongly. That doesn't mean the Democrats are allowed to screw it up worse and maintain power. We don't see the Democrats as being the doctor, we see them as the guy who stayed at the Holiday Inn Express last night. We have a mess (most of which happened on its own - this mortgage derivative thing could have happened under Obama's watch had the formula been invented now instead of in 2000) - but Democratic policies of enlarging the deficit to 15% of GDP isn't the way to fix it. They tried this in 1990s Japan. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.
The issue is primarily one of message. If Republicans can get out a message (and it's going to take a while to be able to do it) that the mess was basically natural, could have happened to anyone, Democrats are screwing it up worse, and we have an alternative plan, we'll have a good 2010 cycle. If not, we'll have to wait until 2012.

Darren Staley said...

Here we have the GOP playing the victim again. They had the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court for half a decade.

Now, we are supposed to believe that the initial recession in Bush's first year was Clinton's fault, that 9/11 was Clinton's fault, that Bush's "Ownership Society" played no part in the housing bubble, that the Bush tax cuts (which McCain opposed) had nothing to do with the current deficit.

This crap about how the Republicans are not at fault is just silly. Screwing things up and then saying "well, coulda happened to anyone" is the coward's way out.

And then to say that the new guy's policies are doomed before we have even given them a chance to work goes from cowardice to idiocy.

I do agree that in 2010 people will be dying for what we had in 2008: a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democrat heading to the White House.