Hoping Obama Fails

>> Saturday, February 14, 2009

It is clear at this point that the Republican strategy is to hope for the failure of barack obama. If your doubting that i can point you to this. The general idea is that the republicans are going to obstruct as much as possible, declare everything is a horrendous mistake, hope it fails, and then run against it in 2010 and 2012. This they believe is the best way back into power without actually coming up with anything new that might actually solve the problem. Is this strategy correct or is there another way?

The obstruction strategy seems to be the easiest. Of course it has the drawback that it will fail spectacularly if obama is successful at turning things around. I believe their is a much better option for the republicans that has the added benefit of not endangering the future of the country. The Republicans should try to actually fix the situation along side Obama.

Ridiculous though it sounds there is actually a path back into power by helping obama. It requires that the republicans elevate the idea of bipartisanship to a level that makes them seem like coequal in any policy discussion, take visible credit when things that are popular pass, hope everything actually succeeds and the country returns to the point of "normalcy". At that point they can take credit for the return to better times and ague that they are the better stewards of prosperity than the democrats. Essentially they try and pull a second 2000 style election. Obama comes in fixes everything up and the american people decide at that point they can afford to go in another direction.

I mentioned the importance to the republicans of keeping the idea of bipartisanship as one of the most sought after policy hurdles. This allows for policy proposals to be framed in a gop centric manner. everything will be defined as how the republicans will respond or approve and this makes them seem like the final arbiters of policy, giving them more legitimate credit claiming in the future. The democrats think that by gaining republican support for bills they gain cover if the plan fails because they can say republicans voted for it too. However, republicans will simply charge that as the party in power the Dems crafted the failure and that they tried to improve it and were stopped etc. being bipartisan simply robs democrats of the credit while keeping them responsible for the failure.

this is not a short term plan. The key to this plan is the short attention span of the american people and the press. It might seem unimaginable that the american people would forget what happened the last time they turned a surplus and peace over to the republicans but this will be eight years down the road. By assisting in the recovery the republicans can argue they were just as responsible for the turn around and that the Bush years are long gone. The media of course would be more than happy to carry that "counter intuitive" type of story.

Kos has made the argument that if the democrats pass health care and the other aspects of their agenda that they will have a lock on the power structure for a generation. I think that this fundamentally misreads the long term appreciation for a universal health care system the american people will feel. If its done early enough in the new term it has eight years to become simply another part of the american landscape. If it becomes thought of as unremarkable the democrats running on the "but we brought you health care" platform could easily find themselves out of power. Elections are generally prospective rather than retrospective and counting on legislative achievements to carry us for a generation seems incorrect.

Several bloggers, which i cant recall off the top of my head, have made the point that voting for the stimulus and working with obama would mean acknowledging that their world view was incorrect. I dont think this is quite right. they could easily claim that they were trying to work within the system to minimize the damage done by the government and that a yes vote was simply the price for that minimization.

i think the odds of republicans adopting something like this are remote to say the least. this would require much more subtlety and long term planning than republicans seem interested in. also it requires a rather meek congress that allows the republicans to continue to dictate terms of the debate without asserting dem control. There is also the problem of facing whoever comes after obama and making the case against that person as the steward of prosperity. just something to think about.


O-le,O-le, O-le, O-le! O-le, O-le!

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