In response to President Obama's agenda for the country, Republicans have borrowed former First Lady Nancy Reagan's mantra from her 1980's anti-drug campaign: Just Say No! Get used to it. This is the strategy the GOP's gonna employ for the next four years as it attempts to bring Obama down and win back the House and Senate. And what a boneheaded strategy it is.
We recently saw the Senate pass the president's $787-billion economic stimulus bill with just three GOP moderates -- Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter -- breaking ranks to vote for it. The measure previously passed in the House with 177 Republicans marching in lockstep to vote against it. Not one single vote from the right. Smells a little fishy, right? After former President Bush and Republicans gave Wall Street and the banking industry $2-trillion last Fall in bailouts and guarantees, don't tell me the January 29th vote on the Hill was anything more than pure partisan politics at its worst.
Make no mistake: Republicans are pissed off. They got trounced in November, and their response has been to act like spoiled, petulant, whiny 4-year-olds. The geniuses in the Party have decided that the road back to power is paved with defiant, unified opposition. That's a very calculated strategy that's going to backfire big-time.
Americans mandated change when they elected Obama president and gave Democrats greater majorities in both houses of Congress. Obama currently enjoys a 68% approval rating, higher than when he was campaigning for the job. And Democrats hold a 12-point approval lead over their colleagues across the aisle. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll out Tuesday morning shows 74% of Americans believe Obama is "trying to work with Republicans to get things done" while 59% said no to the question "Are Republicans trying to compromise with Obama." After eight miserably polarizing years under Bush, Obama's attempting to bring a new bi-partisan civility and tone to Washington, and Americans clearly recognize and support that. But he's wasting his time. For Pete's sake, his former rival Sen. John McCain on Monday challenged him over his use of a helicopter! Can it get any more trivial and petty than that? In that one little 'copter comment from McNasty we got to see just what these guys are all about.
With regard to the stimulus bill, wouldn't it have been more politically prudent for Republicans to rally around the president in a show of unity as they together attempt to lift the American economy out of its current abyss? Wouldn't it have been better to show voters they're part of the solution, while at the same time denouncing parts of the bill but promising Americans to "keep Obama and the Democrats in check" as the watchdog party these next few years? I'd call that a win-win for the GOP. But that's not what Republicans have up their crisp white sleeves. What they want is to giddily roll into the 2010 midterm elections with a smug "I told ya so" campaign theme. To be able to proudly declare, "we didn't vote for this bill." There is the right's unwavering hope that Obama and the Democrats fail in its efforts to jumpstart the economy. They see that as their ticket back to victory.
But what Republicans fail to grasp is that Obama's plan must succeed. It has to succeed. It simply cannot fail, period. Because if it does, and we're still racked by this financial crisis in 2010, we're all gonna be bankrupt and on breadlines...and that includes House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Opposer-in-Chief John McCrusty himself. If the clownish GOP believes that America can withstand another 20 months of recession, credit freezes, layoffs and stock market declines, it's truly delusional and drunk on it's own Kool-aid. Poison Kool-aid. The kind that kills political parties for good...