06/20/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Audacity of Nope


"No" isn't an ideology.

"Nada" is no way to govern a country.

"Nope" won't turn around the economy, and political rope-a-doping won't balance the federal budget.

Yet if you had to summarize the three top "accomplishments" of the Republican party since Obama took office, they would be no, nada, and nope. Because it is out of power, the Republican Party has decided to abandon any thought of governing, any intention of influencing policy. Rather than moderate Obama's policies, they decided purely on political grounds to battle Obama's message of hope with the audacity of nope.

Audacious, indeed.

With governance comes responsibility. When in power, "no" can't be the answer to every policy question. But Republicans aren't in power. And so they don't have to make any policy decisions of their own. They don't have to seriously contemplate any of the difficult decisions facing any honest government. Instead, they can wait and see what the Democrats propose, and trash it.

Obama's health care plan? They were against it before they even knew what was in it. The fact that this was very much what Republicans from Nixon on would probably have proposed, in place of a truly socialized health care system, is irrelevant. Because all they cared about was saying no.

The best way to deal with global warming? It's certainly not cap and trade, they'll tell you, even though that is a market (!) approach to environmental regulation. It's certainly not any alternative to cap and trade, either. Just give them the details of Obama's plan, and they'll be against it.

Bolstered by the radicals at Fox News, the Republican Party has ceded its role as policy makers and, thus, no longer make themselves available as people who can improve our country. All in an effort to bring down Obama.

Very sad. The country would be a better place if each party was willing to compromise -- to rein in the excesses of the other party. The Democrats really have no choice now but to stop wasting energy developing bipartisan solutions to the problems they are trying to tackle. They have no choice but to go alone. And that go-it-alone strategy will inevitably lead to worse policies than if they were working toward compromise.

I yearn for the days when Republicans, even as a minority party, were willing to sit in back rooms and hash out compromises with their Democratic adversaries.

It's time for Republicans to put the interest of their country ahead of their short-term political agenda.