THE BLOG
03/27/2009 12:13 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Republicans Pull a Boehner

Last fall, after Obama had won the White House, I took pity on the Republicans and tossed it the kindest gift I could muster, an idea. Granted, it wasn't one that they have taken to -- getting behind the gay marriage cause -- but it was nevertheless an actual idea. I did that with tongue in cheek, but I'm coming to conclude it was better than anything that the party can develop or present on its own.

Since then, the Republicans have gone from midlife crisis to senile dementia. Far from having any ideas, they have become deranged enough to pose a credible danger to themselves. As evidence, I would remind everyone that the RNC de facto leader is Limbaugh. The Great Bloviator -- The Axis of Reactionism -- may be entertaining, but demagogue and point man are not always the same thing. Meanwhile, the party's elected 'leaders' are so baffled that they don't even look smart on Fox News.

Clear evidence of this was provided abundantly yesterday in reaction to two historic but entirely predictable events. On one front, Republic leaders did little more that react with squeamishness when Geithner laid out his plan to expand oversight of previously unregulated financial markets. Other than describe the virtues of a free market, again, and rail about the dangers of over-regulation, they provided no specifics or alternatives. On the Senate side, the New York Times Reports that, "Republicans emerging from briefings at the White House and on Capitol Hill [regarding Afghanistan] withheld comment. Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Representative John A. Bohner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, said in a statement that he 'had a constructive meeting at the White House' and that he would 'reserve public comment until the president makes his formal announcement.'" In other words, he has nothing to say, good or bad.

That's the problem: Republicans have nothing to say. To torture a bad pun, they have a Boehner but don't know what do with it.

To a certain extent, that makes good political sense: Obama will become less popular as the economy fails to bounce back quickly enough to support his political fortunes. Moreover, the Democrats in Congress have already begun to demonstrate, through the budget process, that their local political concerns will clash often and mightily with Obama's national objectives. Hence, Republicans will have plenty of opportunities to score quick and dirty points.

Sniping, however, is a political tactic not a motivational idea with which to lead a country or build a credible political opposition. For proof of this, look no further than the UK in which the Tories cannot retake Downing Street despite the fact that The Labor Party is an utter mess. That's sad on both sides of the Atlantic.

The fact is that the US is a two party system, which means that we need a strong opposition with credible ideas to thrive. In the absence of loyal opposition, there is no competition for ideas with which to propel the ship of state. Republicans, we need you to get back on your feet. Stop being a backseat driver and find a compelling, election worthy agenda. It's in your own best interest and that of the America.