Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 9, 2009

FINDING THE GOP'S MOJO.... I suppose it doesn't take much to make Republicans happy these days. According to an interesting Washington Post piece, the party's leaders "see glimmers of rebirth."

After giving the package zero votes in the House, and with their counterparts in the Senate likely to provide in a crucial procedural vote today only the handful of votes needed to avoid a filibuster, Republicans are relishing the opportunity to make a big statement. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be.

"We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time," said Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), one of several younger congressmen seeking to lead the party's renewal. "It's not a sign that we're back to where we need to be, but it's a sign that we're beginning to find our voice. We're standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we're building it back."

The second-ranking House Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), put it more bluntly. "What transpired . . . and will give us a shot in the arm going forward is that we are standing up on principle and just saying no," he said.

Hmm. President Obama has been in office for 20 days. He's signed the Lily Ledbetter measure into law over Republican objections. He's signed S-CHIP expansion into law over Republican objections. He's signed several executive orders on key national and internal policies over Republican objections, and he's secured agreement from both the House and Senate on an ambitious stimulus package over Republican objections.

But the congressional GOP has its head held high because they've come up with a reckless and irresponsible economic worldview, and convinced the party to rally around it. They're thrilled because, in the midst of a genuine economic crisis, the party, with near unanimity, has agreed not to have any constructive policy role whatsoever.

"We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time." I take that to mean GOP leaders feared that some contingents of the Republican caucuses would acknowledge reality and recognize the significance of an electoral mandate. The goal was to convince rank-and-file Republicans to take a firm stand against the advice of economists, governors, the business community, and the party that just won national elections, but there were widespread fears the GOP wouldn't go along.

I guess the right had nothing to worry about.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Yup. I swear I didn't know. But, IMNTSHO, this is more nauseating than the Times article because it pretends to be responsible.

Posted by: ericfree on February 9, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

They're thrilled because, in the midst of a genuine economic crisis, the party, with near unanimity, has agreed not to have any constructive policy role whatsoever.

For six years, a Republican President and Republican congress presided over expanded government, expanded spending, massively expanded deficits and contracted personal liberties. The time for the Republican Party to show it was prepared to stand up for its so-called principles was under Bush, not a President of the opposing party. As it is, there's no reason at all to think the Republicans are arguing -- for a change -- in good faith, nor to trust them to retain their self-proclaimed fiscal prudence if they're returned to power.

No, what this is, is that the Republicans have once again put the Democrats in the position of having to clean up a GOP mess, and they Reptiles are determined to make the most of the difficult situation they themselves created. To hell with them.

Posted by: Gregory on February 9, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban

Uh, just imagine the furor that would develop had a Democrat uttered something similar. (Then again, I never realized the GOP opposed educating women, although given their stand on labor, health care et al, I shouldn't be all that surprised.)

Posted by: Vincent on February 9, 2009 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any way to restructure the stimulus bill in conference committee to keep the benefits out of the hands of people who agree with these morons?

Maybe they can require aid recipients and new hires to sign statements acknowledging that government spending is stimulative and that tax cuts in times of depressed market demand are wasteful and drive up the deficit.

After all, we don't want to force Hooveristas to soil their hands by participating in "wasteful" government spending.

Posted by: SteveT on February 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

We got a plumber, a moose hunter and a black guy. All we need now is, well, I can't think of anything right at the moment.

Posted by: Loser on February 9, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile at Faux news yesterday, and I am not making this up, they whent on for a half hour of meaningfull discussion on suit jackets as manditory attire in the oval office and how Obama is dissing the office. Keepin' it real ala Dave Chapelle. Crisis I'll show you a godamn crisis

Posted by: John R on February 9, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

the GOP has found its voice. Just American Idol literal-one-note-joke William Hung found HIS voice. Big question is: Who do they think is listening? It's a neocon circle jerk, where they spout the nonsense the base wants to believe is true, reality notwithstanding, and they'll keep spouting this nonsense until enough people it to be true that it may as well be true. I prey a vast majority of Americans see this as the obstructionist bullshittery it is.

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 9, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is that the media won't point out that they have no constructive role to play and they'll continue to win the PR war.

Posted by: howie on February 9, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile at Faux news yesterday, and I am not making this up, they whent on for a half hour of meaningfull discussion on suit jackets as manditory attire in the oval office and how Obama is dissing the office.

I've worked in IT, and I can say without fear of contradiction -- and any Dilbert reader will tell you the same -- that one's abilities are regarded as inversely proportional to how fancy your furschluggner suit is.

Coat and tie or no, the Bush/Cheney administration disgraced the office of POTUS by their actions. The POTUS can wear nothing but a jockstrap for all I care as long as he does the job with competence and integrity. Since the Reptiles have none to offer, it's small wonder Card is obsessing about appearances.

Posted by: Gregory on February 9, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

The only way the gop is winning anything at the moment is in the war between style v. Substance. The only reason they believe they are winning is because they think the American public doesn't see through their huburis and transparent partisan stunts.

They're full of crap and don't realize that people who are worried about their mere survival aren't worried aboit government spending- they're worried about going under. If you're drowning in the ocean and a rescue boat comes along and the people on the boat are complaining about the price of the rope ans life vests you're not going to like them.

America is in for a seriously bad year. Do you think we're going to blame the dems who are trying to fix things or the do-nothing gop who ran the country into the ground in the first place?

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 9, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think we all need to do what I do. Just don't tune in to the Fox Noise or the Meet the Press drival now under the control of the MSM. With all the poop thrown at Obama during this electoral cycle and spewed by the likes of Fox Noise, Rush, David Gregory, etc. a majority of Americans didn't buy it this time around, and judging from the physical crisis we are in aren't likely to buy this time either. Tune into Keith or Rachel or a Mets game. March Madness is just around the corner and soon it will be baseball season.

Just don't listen to these hucksters. The reason Fox Noise is so watched is because it has those 30% of the electorate who (until the very end) listens to the hawkers who spurt their venom in the form they like to hear, just like we like to hear Keith.

This will save your liver and heart in the process. Obama will find a way to make these lug-nuts accountable. He's good at it. Give him a chance to expose them his way. Now, if we can just get him to go after the torturers...

Posted by: Stevio on February 9, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

We're standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we're building it back."

High defense spending is the axe that is superglued to their hands.

If the GOP had realized this plank was at cross purposes to their tallest tent pole, things might have been different the past 8 years.

As it stands, until they acknowledge defense spending is their worst obstacle to fiscal responsibility, no one should take any of their rhetoric seriously. It's just more underpants gnome planning.

1. Refocus on goal of fiscal conservatism.
2. ???
3. Victory in 2010 and beyond!

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 9, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

How stupid are republicans? They are confusing 'rebirth' with nostalgia. They are reminded of their glory days when they could toss political firebombs with abandon - without ever having to own up to the consequences.

The difference is that they are hamming it up over a real crisis, not one manufactured to serve their rhetoric.

Before they can reinvent themselves, they need to apply some innovation. Posturing and recycling their material from 20 years ago isn't innovation. They've become to politics what Sha-Na-Na was to rock and roll.

Posted by: JoeW on February 9, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

"I guess the right had nothing to worry about"

Well, yeah. The Mighty Wurlitzer of the media still belongs to the righties, and they've got enough votes in the Senate to derail anything they don't like. Plus, with the Dems in charge, all failures can be attributed to the Democratic Party.

So yes - they don't have anything to worry about.

Posted by: Zandru on February 9, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

So in the middle of an economic crisis of historic proportions the gop are giving each other high fives? I hopey keep talking about themselves more, this is the perfect time for that.

Their arrogance and hubris will catch up with them, give it time. Plus the dems have stepped up the pr game- they're all over the msm talking about what the stimulus means. A little late, but better late than never.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on February 9, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

"...and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we're building it back."

Shorter republican rationalization:
We choose this principle when we are not in a position to empty the treasury for our own benefit.

Posted by: jcricket on February 9, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to tell Pete Sessions that just printing "No!" in very big letters doesn't make it a "big statement."

Posted by: Redshift on February 9, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

We're standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty.

The kind of "economic liberty" that we've experienced over the past 20 years led us directly to where we are now.

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on February 9, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I was never much for Obama's post-partisan rhetoric. The reality is that the parties are very different ideologically. It shows in times of crisis, particularly economic crisis. There are real ideological difference in the stimulus debate. While I would expect more Republicans to have had some self-doubt given the past eight years, most of them are "true believers" and unswayed by argument or reason.

In response to Krugman's rant this morning, a lot of commentors expressed exasperation with the good doctors lack of appreciation for political realities. The reality is that as a President, you need sixty votes to get anything done in Congress. We have 58. Compromise is inevitable. Next time Obama should avoid negotiating with himself.

The end of post-partisanship happened last Thursday night with Obama's speech (If haven't seem it you should). My guess is that he will remain civil and willing to listen, but I don't think he will get burned again.

Finally, I am floored at the media's response to Obama. I can only compare it to their same response to Clinton in '93 - a relentless attack on his Presidency from all quarters. In '93, I thought it was Bill's sexual conduct that opened him up to personal attack. But there is not the slightest wif of scandle with Obama, and he is being treated the same way. Almost a wholesale lack of respect for his Administration, exemplified by the questions in the press room and the contempt with which he is treated by commentors on the T.V. He got more respect as a candidate. Hell, Bush got more respect. Other than vast right wing conspiracies, whats behind it?

Will Obama be as resilent as Clinton? Hopefully yes.

Posted by: Scott F. on February 9, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The RIght didn't have much to worry about with wormy pseudoleaders like Reid in "charge".

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on February 9, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I do think Obama and the Dems did lose control of the message in the last couple of weeks. It's time they regained it; hopefully Obama's presser tonight will start the process.

Is it just me, or does anyone else hate/loathe/despise the very sight and voice of Eric Cantor?
He's such a smarmy little shit, along with Norm Coleman and Linda Lingle.

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on February 9, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), put it more bluntly. ". . . we are standing up on principle and just saying no," he said.

What principle would that be? "Government should let it's citizens starve to death and freeze to death and go without schools and police protection and fire protection among other things, because governments shouldn't be in the business of helping those who elect it's crazy leaders." I don't remember that one from the bible.

Posted by: Shalimar on February 9, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

The business I'm in, law enforcement, if someone is so uncaringly or stupidly unaware of good behavior that their actions or inactions result in harm to someone else, they go to prison. In politics, I guess, not so much. Ought to be some way .... Oh, wait. I forgot that adherence to "principle" forgives anything.

Posted by: Greg Worley on February 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK
fiscal conservatism and economic liberty

I agree that they didn't have ANY fiscal responsibility during the entire Bush administration.

However, referring to the economic freedom.. I'd say that's exactly what they have been leaning on during the Bush Administration. The free wheeling and dealing, the no-bid contracts, the elimination of rules and regulations, weakening of labor laws, etc...

Isn't that exactly what got us into trouble? What a short memory they have. Or, is that more like not comprehending in general?

Posted by: bruno on February 9, 2009 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Evidently the public doesn't agree with the ever-so-proud Republicans. A Gallup poll says finds the 67% of the public approves of Obama's handling of the stimulus bill; 31% approve of the Republicans' handling (as opposed to 58% dispprove). The Republicans may have convinced themselves on the merits of voodoo economics, but they haven't convinced most dumbclucks like me.

The Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com

Posted by: Marie Burns on February 9, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

On Wall Street they call this phenomenon the "dead cat bounce."

Over the years it's been observed many times that stocks experiencing rapid, spectacular declines often rise modestly but temporarily before continuing their death spiral.

A teacher at my old high school once told us about an Irish wake he was invited to at the home of some friends. When he arrived he found the corpse propped up in a chair holding a drink and all his friends partying around the room. Periodically someone would freshen the corpse's drink.

Dead cat, corpse, you get the idea. GOP rigor mortis should set in soon.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 9, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Benen doesn't take note that the GOP is stealing the democrat-in-minority playbook. For years the dems did nothing but obstruct and stick with their partisan schtick of "anything but what the republicans say." So, don't go around whining like a bunch of little girls (apologies to all little girls), because that's how politics goes, and Barry is showing us that it's always politics as usual.

And seriously, yeah, it was the republicans who had their big donors, boyfriends, and political comrades promising guarantee, obstructing regulation, and steering Fannie/Freddie off of the cliff while getting rich from it. Talk about not being able to see the forest through the trees. Have fun with the disastrous "Stimulus" bill millstone around your neck.

Posted by: Hoss on February 9, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Hoss, there are alot of people here who wish your statement about Democrats had at least a tiny bit of evidence behind it. There's a reason Dem politicians are stereotyped as spineless, and it's not because they stick with their "partisan schtick" of opposing Republicans 24/7 on every issue.

Posted by: Shalimar on February 9, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

...the party's leaders "see glimmers of rebirth."
A continuation of Bush's profligate borrow-and-spend, only ten times worse by Obama, is bound to have disastrous consequences for the economy, and a longing for the good Republican times.

Posted by: Luther on February 9, 2009 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly