I was going to write something like this today, but former Air America CEO Doug Kreeger beat me to it. I'll just add that Obama gave the GOP this opening by courting Republican opinion instead of loudly denouncing them as the party that gave us this economic disaster.
Not that they wouldn't have done this anyway, but Obama legitimized them at a time the nation should be attacking them with pitchforks:
Last week, Obama's plans were debated in Congress. His goal of creating 2 million to 3 million jobs in the next two years through a massive rebuilding program of our crumbling infrastructure, was countered by the Republicans' revised stimulus plan. Their plan was not detailed beyond more tax cuts.
Here's the catch: The Republicans said their plan would create 6 million jobs. Really. Remember “Mission Accomplished”? Just saying something doesn't make it true.
The Republican playbook is about standing in opposition, knowing full well that the Democratic Congress is going to pass a stimulus package. Their next step is to go home and sell to what's left of their constituencies the notion that if we had listened to them, things would be far rosier. As a minority, a control group is unlikely to emerge that can disprove false numbers based on false rhetoric. They can go back and campaign in two years whether or not Obama's plan creates anywhere close to the number he hopes and tell the world, and claim that their plan would have provided double the number.
A perfectly manipulative strategy which plays to the short-term memory of the American electorate.
The minority role in government should be about balancing the need of their constituencies with real ideas that create a stronger way of finding a solution. In the modern era of politics Rush Limbaugh style, it is all about spewing hate and misinformation in the guise of governing for the good of the people. The very people that the Obama plan will help most, are the very same people that are being preached to by the likes of Limbaugh and his puppets in Congress.
Yes, the power of right-wing talk radio is finally being seen for what it is, the true center of gravity for one of the two major parties in this country. With a total vacuum of leadership in the Republican Party, they are left with the hot-air balloon of the airwaves creating the impression that failure is the best option for the good of this country.
This type of inertia is what Republicans think they need to get back in power, and they are going to their best to try and make that happen. The people of this nation will continue to suffer through this false debate that has nothing to do with solving problems, but is all about Election 2010. Make no mistake. This group of “unconscientious dissenters” can say anything and do nothing. Only time will tell if their strategy for regaining power is successful.
Given this tactic, it is up the Democrats and their supporters to now do what is best for the country and stop worrying about appeasing those people who do not serve for the good of the people. President Obama started with his best foot forward and will need to leave these negative forces in his wake.
The stakes are too great to play talk-radio politics and let us be falsely governed by an obstructive minority.