Republicans Blast Obama

Republicans Blast Obama



Last night, at a major Republican fundraiser, GOP leaders had some of their harshest words yet for President Obama and his agenda.

Newt Gingrich said the president’s stimulus plan has already failed. And:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama has a “radical agenda.” Republicans have “watched them take over banks, insurance companies, auto companies,” he said, “and now they want to take over your health care.”

“We’re going to need some wins next November to slow down their agenda,” said McConnell. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said Democrats are using their control of Congress “to bury our children and the middle class under a mountain of debt.”

While I never think defeatism is a great political strategy, I’m not sure the Republicans have a another political option but to hope the economy fails to rebound before 2010. The party is too weak in Congress to push through any alternate agenda to the president’s and supporting Obama’s economic plan does nothing to differentiate the party from its opposition.

Unfortunately for Gingrich et. al., there’s a bit of a gap between claiming something has failed and that something actually failing. I’m quite worried about the mountain of debt we’re creating and the precedent we’re setting with the government’s part-ownership of GM, but it’s far too early for me to believe Obama’s measures won’t give the economy a boost. If you want to call it a failure of principle, that’s one thing. But it’s quite premature to say the raw result is failure.

  • Simon

    Here’s the bottom line, from a pragmatic standpoint. Obama and his minions in Congress have made clear that they intend to ram through a healthcare reform package that will, to put it charitably, be ruinous. The GOP no more has the votes in Congress to stop this than the Democrats had in 2005 to stop the passage of social security reform, so, faced with the imperative to stop what they sincerely regard as a catastrophic and irreparable mistake and the lack of any formal tools to stop it, the GOP of 2009 will do what the Democrats of 2005 did. They will seek to mobilize public opposition.

    How to do that? The easiest door to open is one that is already ajar. The public is already skeptical of the stimulus package, was outright hostile towards the bailouts, and may already be turning back toward the GOP on economic issues. It makes good sense, therefore, to emphasize issues on which the public is already dubious of the Obama administration’s judgment a posteriori in order to build a case that they should be dubious a priori of that administration’s judgment and competence in executing another huge program. These idiots have already made such a mess over this project, the argument will go (in its raw form; the spin doctors will come up with kinder wording, but that will be the gist), that it’s crazy to trust their judgment when they ask to undertake another project.

  • kranky kritter

    I think Obama’s honeymoon mulligan tank is still about three quarters full. And the fuel tank on the public perception that “the big biz GOP caused the econ crash” is concurrently running about 3/4 full.

    The GOP has a serious credibility issue on economic policy that is currently far too serious to be bridged solely by complaints that Obama’s policies are misguided. That’s too bad to some extent, as I think fizcons make valid points about overspending, inflation, and so on. As time passes, that bridge can be more solidly built using only negativity if and only if the economy does not rebound.

    But not right now. And I’m not sure how much that really bothers me . Because I think the GOP really does have to do better than wrapping themselves in “our children will suffer.” Folks are suffering now, and want mitigation, and that’s a pill the GOP has to swallow.

    Basically, I have 5 words for the GOP:

    Credible Alternate Positive Economic Vision

    That pretty much covers it…

  • gerryf

    When I read this post, I was going to write Kranky’s comment (minus the inflation point), but now I don’t have to….

  • ExiledIndependent

    Kranky, the nail has been hit upon the head. The GOP will accomplish what Simon outlined faster, more effectively, and more permanently (as permanent as anything in politics is) if they say “no” followed immediately by “because we have a better solution for America.”

    The good ideas are out there, but the party is so emotionally beaten and fragmented that it’s difficult for the best thinking to rise to the top; too much churn. The Republicans need a true leader to emerge in the next 60-90 days or they’re going to be relying on negative pub/op and negative economic results from the Bubble Reinflation Movement (BRM) in order to pick up seats in 2010. Seems like leaving an awful lot to chance with that non-strategy.

  • kranky kritter

    The GOP no more has the votes in Congress to stop this than the Democrats had in 2005 to stop the passage of social security reform, so, faced with the imperative to stop what they sincerely regard as a catastrophic and irreparable mistake and the lack of any formal tools to stop it, the GOP of 2009 will do what the Democrats of 2005 did…

    Especially given the analogy to the 2005 democrats, I was sort of expecting the next sentence to be “They will wallow in childish over-the-top hyperbole.” And indeed, that seems to be the path the GOP is choosing. Since they lack the votes to change the outcomes, I think they ought to choose between acting like serious leaders and drowning us in spittle.

    The GOP loses no points for saying that Obama’s heart is in the right place or suggesting that most Americans share a wish for the same sorts of outcomes and differ only on how best to get there. A little grace would go a long way, if you ask me. Instead, the drumbeat is that Obama-style socialism is going to subjugate our children’s future.

    I can’t think of a better way to elicit “whatever dude” from Americans outside the GOP base. In other words, people will tend to shut down and tune out the GOP message. The republicans are in a lousy position to win via demonization.

  • wj

    The challenge for the Republicans (which I see no sign so far of their addressing) is to come up with a plan which is both
    a) different from the current administrations, and
    b) different from the approach which got us into this mess in the first place.

    If they can do that, and combine it with failure of the administration approach, then they may make a big come-back. Otherwise, about all they can hope for is the usual small snap back seen in mid-term elections. And, if they don’t at least look like they are trying to come up with some sensible ideas for actually governing, they won’t even see that. Which, as someone who prefers to see two viable parties contending, would be a pity.

  • Chris

    conservatives by nature aren’t the best at coming up with new ideas.

  • Trescml

    I think the big risk for the Republicans is that even with a poorly defined economic message they will pick up some seats in the mid-term. They will mistake these pick ups for approval of their current strategy and if they continue this path through 2012, they will get wiped out then. There is a current to have a split government with a strong Republican party, but without taking some of the suggestions others have already make on this post, I don’t think that will happen.

  • cwq

    What a mess. The Republicans used to have the power of small- they were detail oriented and made sure that every party member, spokesperson and supporter are on target.