Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Obama's Radical Do-Nothing Congress

Since January of last year, Republicans have signaled their intent to oppose anything Obama supports; not only denying him political cover by refusing to vote for his bills, but actively filibustering anything they could get their hands on.  They weren't merely trying to deny Obama political victories; they were banking on Americans rejecting Obama, and would hail them as heroes for stopping his "radical" agenda. 

Basically, they were trying to recreate 1994, when Clinton threw political caution to the wind and took bold steps that proved unpopular; and Republicans reaped benefits by stopping it.  Somehow, it failed to occur to them that Obama might remember 1994 and follow Clinton's later footsteps by avoiding political pitfalls and only pushing for policies he could easily defend.  And rather than 1994, what we're likely to see is 1998; when a hubris-filled Republican Party fought and impeached a popular Democrat and suffered for it on Election Day. 

And so Republicans are betting everything that their Stop Obama agenda will pay big for them in November; and all they'll have to do is connect their opponents to Obama and they're done for.  And they're so high on their own supply that they're going to make it the centerpiece of their campaigns.  Local issues won't matter.  Jobs and the economy will be secondary issues.  It'll be all about Obama and how dangerous he is; all evidence to the contrary.  To suggest that Obama's radical agenda won't be their # 1, 2, and 3 topics is simply unthinkable.  Scaring people is the only thing they know how to do.

We're Gonna Loooooose!!!!!!!

Yet, to hear progressives tell it, this is all a ruse and Republicans planned the entire time to attack Obama's "do-nothing" Congress; which was made possible due to the GOP's obstructionist agenda. on earth could they do that, even if they wanted to?  They'll have spent over two years warning people of the dangers of Obama and his radical agenda, and then...tell people he didn't do anything?  They'll argue that a Democratic Congress wasn't dangerous for America?  That Obama isn't such a scary guy? 

How does that work?  Because if Obama's radical agenda was stopped with a Democratic Congress...why do we need Republicans?  If people feared Obama, they'd think things were doing just fine now.  And sure, the progressives might argue that Republicans will claim that stopping Obama isn't enough, and that we need Republican policies instead.  But it's a little late for that.  Not only have Republicans only made token gestures towards the idea of having an agenda, but that's all they were willing to do because their agenda is so unpopular. 

Besides, we know Republicans will do this because it's exactly what Democrats did in 2006.  The 2005-2006 Congress was definitely a do-nothing Congress; yet progressives will swear that they were a scary bunch who steamrolled Democrats at every turn.  And when pressed to name the scary stuff, all they can do is cite legislation from Bush's first term. 

And the reason the '05-'06 guys didn't do anything was because everything they touched blew up in their faces; which was also why they were voted out.  Not because they didn't do anything, but because nobody liked what they wanted to do.  Attacking Dems for not doing anything won't be much help if they don't have anything decent to offer.

Like It's 1994

Had Republicans wanted to do this right, they would have needed to take my advice early last year and publicly worked with Obama while watering down his bills and slowing everything to a halt.  That way, they'd look like they tried to work with him; but he was just too much of a radical ideologue to work with.  Then, this November, they could point to all the really great ideas they wanted, if only the Dem Congress had been more flexible.  That'd have worked pretty well; had they the brains to pull it off.

But Republicans thought they were looking at 1994 again, so they bet on the wrong horse.  Sure, it might still pay-off, but it's a long shot.  And the more political ads they run reminding everyone how much they hate Obama and stopped him from fulfilling his popular agenda, the more they'll be rejected.  Progressives know that, which is why their worst-case-scenarios insisted that Republicans would somehow flip on a dime and hit the one spot we don't want them to hit: Our lack of accomplishments. 

But they won't.  Republicans will go full-steam-ahead towards the anti-Obama vote, following the same stupid Rove strategy of psyching up the base; and then they'll be screaming bloody murder after their huge victory yet again doesn't materialize.  Republicans are simply not positioned to reach non-crazies because they don't understand why its necessary.  As with too many progressives, Republicans believe in the myth of the sheepish electorate which will follow the boldest, loudest leader.  But sheep get scared by loud noises, so I have no idea what analogy they think they're looking at. 

At a guess, I'm thinking it's whatever analogy they can devise to scare people the most.  It's really one of the few things conservatives and progressives can agree on; along with the impending doom for Dems in November.  But then again, that's what they always say will happen.  Why, oh why won't voters listen to them?

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