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

April 15, 2009

THE 'SOLUTIONS CENTER'.... Republican leaders on the Hill believe they're more likely to get back on track if they improve their communications strategy. The party, leaders insist, has a genuine policy agenda. They just need to get the word out.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor -- the man Democrats dubbed "Dr. No" -- is taking great pains these days to prove he has a raft of ideas of his own.

Stung by the Democratic barbs, the House's No. 2 Republican is unveiling a "Solutions Center" on the Web to address simple questions Americans are asking themselves in the face of economic calamity.... The goal is to answer the questions with Republican proposals that contrast starkly with legislation offered by President Barack Obama and his congressional allies.

Cantor acknowledges that Republicans "need to work to make sure the message gets out" around a still-popular president with a dramatic command of his bully pulpit.

Opinions vary, but I tend to think this is, in theory, a reasonably good idea. If Republicans want to be known as more than just a party that reflexively opposes everything proposed by the popular Democratic president, then it makes sense for the GOP to present their "solutions" to problems that matter.

It's the execution that seems to be giving Republicans trouble.

Looking over Cantor's "Solutions Center," the questions seem pretty compelling: "How will I keep my job?" "How should we use taxpayer money?" "How will I grow my savings?" "How will I keep my house?" It's the answers that don't work. Every question leads to the same response: tax cuts, spending cuts, or tax cuts and spending cuts.

This is how the party is "taking great pains these days to prove he has a raft of ideas of his own"? Ouch.

Imagine having an iPod and putting your entire music library on the hard drive -- consisting of only two songs. You can put it on shuffle, but all you'd hear are the same two songs, over and over again.

The Republican leadership's economic agenda is that iPod -- the same two songs for every situation. Worse, the songs aren't just old, they were never especially good in the first place.

Steve Benen 11:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Here is one for everyone

http://punditkitchen.com/2009/04/14/political-pictures-republican-leaders-discuss-ideas/

Posted by: ET on April 15, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I have a friend who is pretty distraught right now because they can't make their mortgage payment after her husband lost his job and they are going to lose their house. Cantor's solution? A $5K refinancing tax credit. If they can't make the mortage payment, they aren't going to qualify to refinance their mortgage. It's like Cantor didn't even try, and that was one of just four problems who has a "solution" for.

Posted by: Hipporider on April 15, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

The iPod could probably be programmed with a third selection, "Start bombing." That would solve almost all foreign policy issues as well.

Posted by: danimal on April 15, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

"How should we use taxpayer money" is a question you hear at every kitchen table, every night. I'm glad Cantor isn't trying to slant the questions to promote any particular agenda.

Posted by: Fred on April 15, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

There's an old bromide that goes something like this:

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems start looking like nails."

Posted by: episty on April 15, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

iPod is assuming a level of modernity not exhibited. I'd say a proper analogy is a 45rpm they just keep flipping over. And one side is scratched. And performed by a one hit wonder;>

Posted by: martin on April 15, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

We should always remember that the tax cut/spending cut mantra is merely bait and switch.

Republicans fight for welfare for millionaires in the form of agricultural subsidies, no-bid contracts, defense spending for obsolete weapons programs, Medicare prespcription plans without the ability to negotiate lower prices, and refusing to collect royalties from corporations profiting off of natural resources owned by taxpayers.

In addition, from Reagan on--every time they cut taxes for corporations creating jobs overseas or for those at the top, Republicans passed those taxes on to the rest of us in the form of higher debt.

The tax hike that Obama is seeking to implement on the top rate isn't Obama's tax hike--it's Reagan's, Bush 41's and Bush 43's. They're the ones who left us the debt and economic calamity that we have to negotiate today.

Posted by: CJ on April 15, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

In fact tax cuts (95% of Americans) and spending cuts (F-22s nixed) are what Obama is doing anyway - the difference is that Dems do it where it makes sense.

Posted by: Ohioan on April 15, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

A more appropriate analogy would be - Your house catches fire. But when you call GOP 911, instead of sending out a couple of firetrucks to put out the conflagration, the Dominos' delivery guy stops by with pan pizza.

Posted by: CParis on April 15, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Steve,

Your analogy is right on. It is a good thing Cantor did not say that they have a raft of "new" ideas, because clearly they are not remotely new.

They have a raft, the problem is it is a really old one and they are headed for some class 5 rapids, followed by a waterfall. Time to get out and make the long trek to higher ground.

Notwithstanding the GOP's problem with playing the same two or three tunes forever (spending cuts, tax cuts, and war), their solution to nearly every problem is more PR. When they wanted to convince the Muslim world we were not out on another holy war, they hired Rand Beers, a marketing guru. No offense to Beers, who I hear is top notch, but eventually Beers quit because you just couldn't peddle the crap the Bush Administration was shoveling. Their solution to almost every problem is that they need to get their message out more, or louder, or without the "filter", or without the truth.

Their whole operation strikes me as a chemical company that is dumping toxic material and showering the surrounding countryside with happy happy joy joy messages. They will sponsor more baseball stadiums, produce green sounding commercials and pile money into the reelection campaigns of the town council. But after thirty years, even a lay person can see the cancer cluster is fully developed and townsfolk are getting immune to the message, because they are spending all their time at the hospital or on the phone arguing with insurance claim representatives.

Posted by: coltergeist on April 15, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Martin, I like the 45 analogy. Even Shrub 41 had the snap to label Reagan's tax meme "voodoo economics". Yet here we are. Tea party indeed. Sure hope Obama finds time in his busy schedule to bust the media cabal.

Posted by: Chopin on April 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

One of my favorite cartoons was a Far Side (I think) of a veterinary school student reading a textbook on horse medicine where the treatment for every illness listed was the same, shoot the horse. The Republican party bringing the Far Side to life.

Posted by: Th on April 15, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I think you have to be fair. You admitted yourself
"Every question leads to the same response: tax cuts, spending cuts, or tax cuts and spending cuts."

So it would be more accurate to say it is an IPod with three songs, like "yesterday" a capella, a "yesterday" instrumental, and a "yesterday" remix of the two combined.

Posted by: nerpzilla on April 15, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"The Republican leadership's economic agenda is that iPod -- the same two songs for every situation. Worse, the songs aren't just old, they were never especially good in the first place."

Add to that that, for some reason, playing one of the songs -- "Spending Cuts" -- actually degrades the performance of the iPod, and playing the other -- "Tax Cuts (the Remix)" -- is inaudible to many hearers because it requires an amplifier they do not have (employment/income).

That just about covers it, except that the purchase price of this Hobson's Choice i-Pod includes future costs (wars and economic disaster) that are not mentioned in the fine print of the purchase contract.

And they wonder why they can't sell the things (or even give them away).

Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on April 15, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine having an iPod and putting your entire music library on the hard drive -- consisting of only two songs. You can put it on shuffle, but all you'd hear are the same two songs, over and over again.

Good gods, Mr. B---they've only got three little words.

Tax.

Spending.

Cuts.

I can't even get a decent stanza out of that---and you want to give them credit for two entire songs??? That's like saying Ted Nugent is a relevant musician....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 15, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

S. Waybright wrote: "they've only got three little words."

Yup:

Enrich.
The.
Rich.

That's the central organizing principle of the Republican Party.

The Republicans don't need to proliferate a lot of fancy-shmancy "new ideas" because they are committed to their core values: ruthless, relentless, rapacious class warfare of, by and for America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc. against everyone else.

On the other hand, since that agenda doesn't tend to win elections, the Republicans do need to lie about it, and they sometimes try out "new ideas" about how to most effectively deceive people.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 15, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Video I'd like to see:

"Internet killed the talk radio star"

Anyone?

Posted by: anonymous on April 15, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Shit is still shit, no matter how you package it.

Posted by: citizen_pain on April 15, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a joke? Are we considered so stupid now by the political elite that we are treated to cartoon discussions of serious issues dumb'ed down for a 5 year old? Are we to seriously believe that all of economic woes are cured the silver bullet of less taxes? Who are these clowns and who put them in office?

Posted by: John M. on April 15, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of improving their communications strategy I received an email yesterday from Michael Steele urging me to participate in a tea bagging party today. It was addressed to Andrew. My name is Mark but to the RNC I guess we're all Andrews now.


Posted by: markg8 on April 15, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's like the old SNL "Theodoric of York: Medieval Barber" skit:

"You'll feel a lot better after a good bleeding."

"But I'm bleeding already!"

"Say, who's the barber here??"

Posted by: 2Manchu on April 15, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor's doing the Dem's work for them by showing how little the Rep's have to offer.

Good one, Cantor. Keep it up.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 15, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Every question leads to the same response: tax cuts, spending cuts, or tax cuts and spending cuts.

It's a good antidote to the Keynesian idea that all government spending is good spending, even if the money has to be borrowed.

Since 85% of American jobs are not created by the government, it's worthwhile to think that letting the non-government sector keep more of its earnings is productive.

that idea of keeping taxes low and spending low goes along with the Constitutional idea that the Federal government really shouldn't be doing everything. You could, of course, argue that spending on Sesame Street is better than spending on on the Iraq invasion, but that is not in fact the thrust of this post. You are arguing that the idea of limited government is intrinsically laughable.

I have argued that everything that works in the US is a public/private partnership. That does not imply that the government "part" of the partnership should grow without limit.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 15, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Once again Matt, because I know someone explained this to you before.

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters where the GDP shrinks.

The GDP=Business spending + Consumer spending + Government spending + (Exports - Imports)

We have a trade deficit, so that part of the equation is down.

Consumer spending is down because people have lost their jobs or fear losing their jobs.

Because consumer spending is down and export sales are down business spending is down. Add to that the credit freeze so businesses can't make payroll or expand when they see the opportunity.

What does that leave in the equation? Only government spending is left to prime the pump and get things going again.

The only thing laughable is the conceit you maintain that you have the slightest grasp of economics.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 15, 2009 at 3:48 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