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Monday, August 24, 2009

Told You They Were Killing Themselves (In a Political Sense, That Is)

The post-election talk of a permanent Democratic majority is looking a little funny now--and, whenever I run across a true believer spouting the same kind of talk over the last few weeks in blogs and message boards, it’s downright hilarious. While the American public staged a painful spanking of the GOP, that doesn’t mean it isn’t noticing the bullying, hypocrisy, and overreach by an increasingly out-of-touch and belligerent Democratic majority. While we’re still a long way out from the actual voting, it would be pretty surprising if the right doesn’t take a big chunk out of that supposedly unassailable Democratic majority. Enough, in fact, that they might be able to function as a strong opposition party--a feat that they would be utterly incapable of right now if it weren’t for the left’s incompetence, increasing public outrage over government spending and the handling of some of President Obama’s signature policy issues (specifically, health care and cap-and-trade), and the blue dog Democrats who have made it possible for the Republican’s paltry numbers to be meaningful in this debate.

The GOP should be thanking Joe and Jane Public for taking interest in the political process this year and rank-and-file Democrats for treating Joe and Jane as if they were un-patriotic buffoons for daring to question their policy dictates.

Politically, for the left, the health care debate really is starting to look like political suicide.

It’s the highest stakes ever for a Nevada election, and former boxer Sen. Harry Reid is on the ropes early. Either Republican Danny Tarkanian or Sue Lowden would knock out Reid in a general election, according to a recent poll of Nevada voters.

The results suggest the Democratic Senate majority leader will have to punch hard and often in order to retain his position as the most accomplished politician in state history, in terms of job status.

Nevadans favored Tarkanian over Reid 49 percent to 38 percent and Lowden over Reid 45 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll.

As I’ve said before, though, if the GOP really wants to capitalize on this moment in a meaningful way, it needs to do more than sit back and watch the carnage. It needs to offer a meaningful and substantial alternative to the left’s excesses; it needs to be, again, a conservative party with principled conservative leadership that stands for something other than merely being better than the alternative (and not always even that).

For Democrats, it’s a tough situation. Any Democrat in a centrist or conservative state and any Democrat that won small in their last election probably wants some cover going into the mid-terms. They want the freedom to vote against unpopular legislation regardless of their own position on the subject. With health care, they aren’t getting that cover, and it may well be the defining issue going into the next elections.

It doesn’t help that the president is proving to be less popular and more divisive than many of his supporters expected. Staring down the muzzle of more than doubling the huge national debt over the next decade certainly isn’t helping his cause, but neither is the dismissive tone coming from the White House.

Before White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left town, he tried to clarify President Barack Obama’s comment that “everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up.” Gibbs explained to reporters that what the president meant was that they were a bunch of bed wetters who made too much out of the implosion of the White House health care strategy.

Gibbs has grown more sardonic and patronizing as the summer wears on and Obama’s poll numbers wilt.

The press secretary has lectured reporters on the nature of their jobs — apparently to defend the administration against “misinformation” rather than asking impertinent questions like “How will you pay for it?”

Is the Obama presidency already in danger? Hardly. The Democrats still have numbers and the public still harbors some mistrust of the GOP. But every week that goes by sees the president further and further back on his heels and he is in danger of losing the health care debate--a loss that would probably define him as more politically weak than anyone could have guessed.

For me, this is a tough thing to watch. I had hoped that Obama would govern well--that he would be moderate and careful, that he would reach across the aisle and help give the country some common cause to rally behind. I didn’t vote for him, but I wanted him to succeed (which, in case you’re reading this wrong, meant that I wanted him to have the right policies, the right ideas, and the right kind of leadership for our times). I don’t like watching any president fail because that means that the country is in worse shape at the end of his tenure than it was beforehand.

I’m becoming increasingly worried that we’re going to experience a profoundly failed presidency and that the damage is going to stretch far into our country’s future.

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I think Obama is coasting quickly down the same roller coaster Hillary dragged Bill on in 1993-94—and that Obama lacks the experience and real political skill that would enable him to emulate Bill’s post-1994 comeback.

on Aug 24 2009 @ 11:26 AM

I would agree with that. Bill shifted sharply towards the political center after the Hillarycare scare and never really set foot off that path until he left office. His biggest achievements were giving us a budget surplus (which, following one big tax increase, is probably because he didn’t stray far from the economic policies of his predecessors and he was the beneficiary of both the end of the Cold War and the big tech boom--and then a beneficiary of being out of office for both the .com collapse and the follow-up attack on the World Trade Center) and welfare reform (a Republican cause that the GOP never could quite get past the left’s gatekeepers).

I don’t hate Bill like a lot of Republicans do, although I never particularly liked the guy and wouldn’t trust him in a locked room with my daughter (if I had a daughter), but he was both smart and a ridiculously good politician. Lucky timing played a roll in his legacy, but there was a whole lot of talent in the guy, too.

on Aug 24 2009 @ 12:36 PM

welfare reform (a Republican cause that the GOP never could quite get past the left’s gatekeepers).

One of whom was Bill Clinton, the first two times the Republican Congress sent it to him. Just sayin’

on Aug 25 2009 @ 06:41 AM

I also don’t like Clinton in particular, but nothwistanding his impeachment and the whole scandal, he made many wise decisions and had an otstanding political career. Besides I think that William Clinton Foundation undertook many good initiatives.

on Aug 25 2009 @ 07:28 AM
jed

‘m becoming increasingly worried that we’re going to experience a profoundly failed presidency and that the damage is going to stretch far into our country’s future.

It’s very difficult for me to imagine such damage as being any worse than that of a successful Obama presidency. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say the recovery from a failed Obama presidency will be easier. (I am of course speaking only directly to your assertion. I actually think we’re pretty well screwed already.) The thing is that once a new bureaucratic office or dept. or whatever is created, it’s very difficult to get rid of it. So I assert that part of the definition of a failed presidency for Obama will be less enlargement of the bureaucracy than he wants. And that’s a win (however small) in my book.

Music of the moment: TMBG: Dead

on Aug 25 2009 @ 04:50 PM
jed

And a pointless followup merely for the sake of checking the little notification box. smile

on Aug 25 2009 @ 04:52 PM

I know the GOP should capitalize in a meaningful way...but just because they haven’t doesn’t mean they haven’t tried.
The GOP has tried several times to propose alternatives to Obama Care.  But the media just ignores it.
Since we can’t get the media to be impartial in either evaluating Obama Care or reporting on the protests, what makes anyone think the GOP can publicize their alternatives to President Obama’s platform?  These days, anything a Republican says has “racist” attached to it by reporterest, I guess for daring to oppose our first half-black President.

on Aug 26 2009 @ 04:12 AM

reporterest = reporters, btw

on Aug 26 2009 @ 04:12 AM
jed

Has the GOP proposed anything truly meaningful, such as deregulation, or removing the corporate tax exemption?

on Aug 26 2009 @ 03:01 PM
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