Monday, April 12, 2010

Lost Weekend

The Republican party could and probably should have mailed in the get-together this weekend.
All this weekend established was the already-known: they hate Obama (for what reasons still mystify me), they are gradually incorporating the Teabaggers (who like any cancer will eventually suck the life out of the host body), they have no clear leadership, including Sarah Palin, and they aren't going to bounce Michael Steele anytime soon.
Wow. So they really will try to win an election as the "Party of No"? Or even the party of "Hell, No!" as Palin has put it in the past?
There was a time in this country when you had to run as a party of "Why not?" In other words, present ideas and policies that you felt fit the problems facing Americans today. The only solutions we've heard from any Republican are the same damned solutions that they've run on since Reagan and the same ones McCain lost on in 2008.
And since Obama has already lowered taxes on the vast majority of Americans...
Much has been made that 2010 will prove to be a rout of Democratic candidates. Keep in mind that midterm elections almost always see a decline in majority party holdings when the President and Congress come from the same party (2002 being the sole exception in the past fifty years, but then we were at war and had just been attacked by terrorists, hardly the usual election cycle). The Republicans can't lose seats and can only stand to win some, so they've pretty much banked a bragging right already.
But a party with weak-willed leadership that has proven untrustworthy and unfocused can only mean good news for Democrats. The formal inclusion of the Teabaggers between now and November can only dangerously destabilize the Republican party, especially if they refuse to take action against Steele and his profligate ways.
You aren't going to convince the voters you mean business about the economy if you're spending $19 million of your $23 million bankroll and you have only won three special elections.
On top of that, you don't have a Newt Gingrich who has a plan to capture seats. Sarah Palin won't get her hands that dirty, and there's no one else with the star power necessary...I mean, who takes John Boehner seriously? get all the ducks marching in a row, especially after six years of Republican majorities in Congress, a Republican President and a Republican SCOTUS failed to enact much of the right wing agenda, except some state-wide referendums on gay marriage.
Abortions are still legal, there's still no stronger act enforcing heterosexual marriage than Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act, and taxes are still low but not as low as many Republicans have railed for over the past decade. Are they seriously going to go back to the base, hat in hand, and say "No, this time we really mean it!"
Much of this election, then, will be run on perceptions and misperceptions, and right now, Obama has done a marvelous job of wresting the national dialogue to his point of view, despite the engaged efforts of FOX News and their fellow travelers. Perceptions of healthcare transformed with its passage and now the Republicans are forced to retake ground they thought they had won in the months leading up to that vote.
Too, since healthcare reform, Obama has not sat on his laurels, instead signing a nuke treaty, holding a nuke summit and bully-pulpitting Democrats to get to work on a bigger jobs bill.
This all works in the favor of Democrats. That's not to say that the Dems can sit back and talk about the crabgrass. They have to start really twisting arms and lining up votes for such disparate things as the jobs bill, the replacement for Justice Stephens, and any other issues Obama dares bring up before the November elections.
So this weekend was all about drinking the Kool-Aid for Republicans. Well, at least the GOP gave the city of New Orleans some needed money...years too late.