For The Republican Party It's Not About Rescuing America, It's About Positioning For The 2010 Midterms
In lieu of constructive leadership...
The GOP has no governing strategy and no alternatives-- other than the hair of the dog-- to offer voters. Instead, they are sitting back and hoping Obama fails. Well... not exactly sitting back. They are obstructing everything he wants to do, filibustering every single piece of his program, watering down the parts they can't stop. This morning Politico ran a devastating feature that, in effect, condemns the Republican leadership-- or what passes for leadership of the Grand Obstructionist Party-- as sore losers rooting for America to fail. Their strategy isn't about helping the country recover from 8 years of Bush-Republican misgovernment; their strategy is to sabotage Obama to win advantages for the 2010 midterms so that their hand will be strengthened for even more effective obstructionism. In the story, GOP Licks Chops Over Dem Stumbles, Mitch McConnell comes across very clearly as a villainous character who would rather see American families go through further pain than see Obama succeed in rescuing the economy.
“With all due respect to the new president and the enhanced majorities in the House and the Senate, governing is tough business,” McConnell said at the time. “It’s hard. It’s very difficult to govern and not create issues, make mistakes, and I’m optimistic that the landscape in 2010 for my party will be very different than it was in ’06 and ’08.”
Not optimistic for America, optimistic that voters will forget which party dragged the country into the ditch and will elect more of them to dig the ditch even deeper. As Harry Reid put it, starkly, "The problem we had here is the Republicans don’t want us to get anything done." Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus (D-MT) backed him up: "The Obama administration inherited a horrendous, complicated, difficult financial mess. And we’ve never been here before in American history. There’s no precedence. And it takes a lot of smarts and hard work to get us out of this.”
I doubt many Americans have forgotten where Republican rule has brought us. If they have the Federal Reserve has it's tri-annual report out examining consumer finances. Short version: "The net worth of the average American family is less than it was in 2001." And if you're not white, it's much, much worse.
While Obama and his team and congressional Democrats are working on solving the mess left behind by Bush and the dysfunctional Republican rubber stamp Congress, Republicans are preparing for all out war against Democratic senators in Connecticut, Nevada, Illinois, New York, Arkansas and Colorado. They may be in for a startling surprise. They keep telling themselves that the president's party loses congressional seats in the midterm elections. They seem to think if they repeat it enough it will be true in 2010. But 2010 and 2012 are shaping up electorally more like 1934 and 1936, the election cycles that followed FDR's election in 1932.
Back then, decades of anti-family Republican governance resulted in an orgy of unregulated avarice and plunder not seen again until Bush and Cheney seized the driver's wheel in 2000. When FDR first won the presidency, 101 Republicans in the House were defeated, leaving the party with 117 members (while the Democrats had 313 members and the Farmer-Labor Party held 5 seats). Thirteen Republican Senate seats fell to the Democrats-- including far right sociopaths like Republican Majority Leader James Watson of Indiana, Hiram Bingham of Connecticut and Reed Smoot of Utah (and the Hawley-Smoot tariff)-- leaving a 60-35 balance between Democrats and Republicans.
The reactionary Republicans embarked on the same strategy of obstructionism against President Roosevelt's programs that McConnell, Kyl, DeMint, Boehner, Cantor and Ryan are all about today. The results? In the first midterms Roosevelt faced, instead of his party losing seats, the Republicans lost ten more Senate seats, bringing their Senate rump down to 25, while 14 more GOP House seats were red no more, leaving the Republicans with 103 seats (23.6%), guaranteeing that they would have no say whatsoever in the nation's business. And they just got crazier and crazier, the left-behinds even more radically right and more dedicated to obstructionism than ever. They were certain that in 1936 the voters would see the light and bring them back to power. It didn't quite work out that way for them. Another 15 Republican House seats were flushed down the toilet, leaving the GOP with 88 (20.2%) and bringing the Democrats over the three-quarters mark. In the Senate 8 more Republican seats were lost and they then had a grand total of 17 seats. Roosevelt carried 46 states while the Republican candidate, Alf Landon of Kansas, carried two-- Maine and Vermont, even losing Kansas.
Is that the roadmap for 2010? Or do you think the nation is ready for more legislators like this?
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