Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 18, 2011

REPUBLICANS SCRAMBLE FOR CREDIT ON THE ECONOMY.... Time will tell whether 2011 is a good year for the U.S. economy. There are some optimistic projections available, and we can all hope they're correct, but the recovery is, at best, fragile at this point.

But Republicans have begun to see some economic improvements -- gains the GOP insisted were impossible in light of the Obama White House's policies -- and want to figure out a way to get credit for them.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), for example, argued last week that the recent good news -- private-sector job growth, big corporate profits, major gains in the major Wall Street indexes -- that occurred throughout 2010 were the result of Republican tax policies. As Kyl sees it, business leaders in early 2010 predicted the tax policy agreement crafted in late 2010, and started growing the economy based on their future-predicting abilities.

On Fox News today, House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) offered a related argument.

"[Congressional Republicans] are determined to ensure that with a market-oriented approach [to health care policy] we can have the kind of chance for people to have access to insurance and we can get our economy growing.

"And we've gotten some positive numbers. I think it's in large part because we won our majority and we're pursuing pro-growth policies."

It's really fascinating. The economy started growing again in 2009, with the stimulus gaving the economy a boost. We saw growth continue throughout 2010 -- even after those rascally Democrats passed health care reform and Wall Street reform -- while Republicans said Dems were killing the economy.

And now Dreier would have us believe the limited growth we've seen is the direct result of Republican policies that haven't even been voted on, and a new Republican House majority that's been in power for two weeks.

So to review, Republicans in the Bush era brought the global economy to the brink of catastrophic collapse; Obama and congressional Dems helped turn things around; and now those same Republicans whose policies failed want credit for Democratic successes.

I know some folks will find this persuasive, and maybe even some of these GOP officials have deluded themselves into believing their own rhetoric. But it doesn't make the argument any less ridiculous.

Steve Benen 2:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Comments

Predictable.

Now, will the press let them get away with it? We know Fox will but they aren't press.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on January 18, 2011 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Back about a year ago, when Obama schooled the republicans at their own retreat (After they invited him, thinking they would have him surrounded), he did a very good job refudiating (Or whatever) accusations that the downturn, that had actually begun years before, was his fault somehow. He slowly and carefully walked them through the months preceeding his taking the oath of office, outlining how ridiculous that claim was.

The same thing needs to be done here, but in reverse.

Like, at the SOTU.

Posted by: bignose on January 18, 2011 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Article:
"So to review, Republicans in the Bush era brought the global economy to the brink of catastrophic collapse; Obama and congressional Dems helped turn things around; and now those same Republicans whose policies failed want credit for Democratic successes."

And also, to return to the same policies in order to bayonet the remaining wounded from the middle class that survived of the last debacle.

Posted by: max on January 18, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Delusional

Posted by: Kill Bill on January 18, 2011 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

mikefromArlington said:
Now, will the press let them get away with it? We know Fox will but they aren't press.

But "Fair and Balanced" is the model for all journalism these days, not just for whatever it is that Faux News does.

A "journalist" flips through his or her rolodex and calls up a Republican for a quote. Then he calls up a Democrat (but only a moderate Democrat) for a quote. Finally he tells the public, "One side says this, the other side says that. If you want to know who's right, you're on your own."

With that out of the way, the "journalist can move on to an important story, like which of the Real Wives of Orange County looks best in a bikini.

Posted by: SteveT on January 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

By now it should be obvious to us what the GOP does.

Lie.

Cheat.

Steal credit for the economic rebound from the democrats.

They have no interest in the country, only what they can extract from it.

They also like to bully.

We need to expose them as the fat pigs that they are.

Time for hard core, explicit, no holds barred,knock down semantic exchanges.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

market-oriented approach [to health care policy] Dreier

Blue Cross Blue Shield wants to raise many premiums by some 59%

Is that what he is taking credit for?

Posted by: Kill Bill on January 18, 2011 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's really fascinating. The economy started growing again in 2009

sure it did. and that reality-based argument would work for the Dems if even a sizable fraction of Americans knew it. but while the press and Republicans continued to bad-mouth the economy, I recommended the DNC spend serious cash on running the famous "bikini graph" showing the trend line in the right direction ever since Obama took office.

They didn't do it.

Now, the Republicans will get away with writing the economic history of the past couple of years. They wont even have to re-write it, because to most Americans, it was never known to begin with.

Dems really have to learn how to play this game better.

Posted by: zeitgeist on January 18, 2011 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP put all their eggs in one basket...the opposed in every way possible each attempt by the Democrats and Obama to save the economy. The plan was simple, keep the recession going until fall of 2012, blame Obama, and re-take the WH and Congress. But as the economic news gets brighter, they are forced to do the only thing they do well - lie. Sure they'll try to take credit, what else can they do.

Posted by: T2 on January 18, 2011 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Remember how the Clinton tax increase would destroy the economy for generations to come? And yet by 1995, the economy was doing well only because of the Republican sweep in '94.

Posted by: arkie on January 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter if it's ridiculous. They will just keep saying it over and over until it feels true. And no one that matters to them will call them on it.

Posted by: Eligius on January 18, 2011 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter how absurd or self-contradictory Republican claims are.

They are the only explanations the public will ever hear.

Posted by: phein on January 18, 2011 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Let's get this straight!

In real time, as C.E. 2010 played itself out, we constantly heard the Republican leadership cry foul with the ubiquitous "uncertainty is hurting American businesses" and then after the fact, take credit for what was merely a year's long whining session, while President Obama worked to bring the business community into the fold?

Anyone who gives credibility to the Republican party on almost any issue, today, is either not paying too much attention, or is merely in the back pocket of said Republicans! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 18, 2011 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

So to review, Republicans in the Bush era brought the global economy to the brink of catastrophic collapse; Obama and congressional Dems helped turn things around; and now those same Republicans whose policies failed want credit for Democratic successes.

You forgot "Republican whose policies brought the global economy to the brink of collapse want the Democratic Congress of 2007-2009 to take the blame for that even though housing prices plateaued in 2005 and began to decline in 2006, leading directly to the collapse of 2008."

Fair is fair. Democrats should take the blame for anything bad, so Republicans can take the credit for anything good.

Posted by: majun on January 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

They only need to convince that large segment of their base that can be persuaded to vote against their own interests by stoking tribal resentments. If the jobs situation turns around, that's all they'll have left.

Posted by: DelCapslock on January 18, 2011 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

It was said best up above. The Democratic party has allowed the Republicans to invent and sell its own reality as the truth. Now the Democrats have to challenge the Republican version of reality.

In politics if you only play defense, you lose. Democrats only play defense. They never define the issues.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 18, 2011 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Seems to me that they're jumping the gun a bit. The national bank account isn't out of the red yet. There's still nothing to loot.

See, that seems to be the cycle, at least based on my lifetime. Pubs loot the national treasury, then when the money's gone, they "let" the Dems take power for a while to pay the bills and rebuild the treasury. Then when there's something to loot again, they take (or steal) power back.

Posted by: KarenJG on January 18, 2011 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

At least they aren't saying it was the Bush tax cuts kicking in and overcoming the Clinton recession. And claiming we'll be OK as long as Obama doesn't screw up the Republican Recovery (tm) with a double dip recession.

Posted by: jeri on January 18, 2011 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

So to review, Republicans in the Bush era brought the global economy to the brink of catastrophic collapse; Obama and congressional Dems helped turn things around;

It is touching that Benen (like Obama) likes to point out that the economic meltdown happened on Bush's watch, but the meltdown happened because of POLICIES not people.

And I have yet to hear a coherent explanation from Obama for what POLICIES he believes caused the crisis and what POLICY CHANGES he will fight for in order to avert further catastrophe.

Posted by: square1 on January 18, 2011 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

History of financial ups and downs in the USA, as told to me by a (Repub, naturally) acquaintance (I have no Repub *friends*):
The boom of Clinton's years was due, directly, to the policies Reagan had started. In turn, Clinton's policies were the seeds which grew into the bust of Bush's (the Lesser) time. And, Dumbya's policies were what laid the foundation of the recovery of Obama's years. Simple.

Karen J.G., @16:33. Krugman agrees with you. He's been saying, for years, that when Dems take over they should forget about trying to patch up the holes in the finances, made by the Repubs. Forget the deficit, push for instituting reforms and other long-term recovery plans. Otherwise, we'll always have the situation that you describe: Dems save, Repubs loot.

Posted by: exlibra on January 18, 2011 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kyl is a political hack. Pretending that that his party was even remotely responsible for anything good that happened with our economy in 2010 is beyond absurd. Did he have a live opponent when he ran for his seat? Is it the water or the heat in that state?

Posted by: steve snow on January 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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