THE BLOG
03/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

House GOP Checks Out

While it makes a lot of sense for individual House Republicans to oppose Obama initiatives, claims that such self-interest somehow comprises a national comeback strategy is delusional.

In fact, their predictable no votes do nothing to hasten the day when the GOP will regain power. There's always a chance that the Democrats will ultimately fail and be booted out, that'll happen whether the opposition consistently votes no or simply boycotts legislative sessions in favor of better entertainment.

The media in its quest for the new mindlessly buys into stories about the attractive new guy on the block, Eric Cantor -- a Jew as the out-front Republican strategist, imagine that -- and his spiritual and philosophical links to Churchill who, if memory serves, lost the Empire and sent his party into the political wilderness.

Meanwhile, President Obama plays the press like a violin, neatly snatching victory from the jaws of victory as he tours the country winning support for his stimulus program, which had adequate support to win passage before he embarked.

For those lacking a decoder ring, here's an alternative vision of the logic driving Congressional Republicans. As their numbers dwindle, they become increasingly conservative representatives of districts that are unlikely to vote Democratic anytime soon (at least prior to the next redistricting cycle, coming in a few years).

That means any credible threat to their incumbency will likely come from a challenger who charges that they have strayed from the conservative faith. Virtually no incumbent Republican is vulnerable to charges of being too uncooperative. The result is an Olympic-style competition now in progress to see who can be least cooperative.

Things look very different to Republican governors whose voters are a more bipartisan group and solicit Federal financial support.

As long as Speaker Nancy Pelosi can hold her troops together -- and she's been quite successful for years -- this strategy not only won't work, but it will deprive the GOP of any possible influence at the margins. Not only will they fail to get half a loaf, but they'll also be deprived of the satisfaction that comes from winning a single slice or even the sweetness of a few crumbs.

Ultimately, Just Say No will prove as ineffective as a political strategy as it was in discouraging drug use. Turning House Republicans into the party of entertaining irrelevance may win them some headlines, but won't be a winning strategy, if indeed it deserves to be called a strategy at all.