Saturday, November 27, 2010

Does The GOP Want To Destroy the Country In Order To Save It?

Start with the point often made by historian Rick Perlstein that there is an unwavering block of Americans, including many elected Republicans, who do not believe a Democratic president is legitimate or that liberalism is a legitimate form of government.  Then add Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's admission that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.... Our single biggest political goal is to give [the Republican] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful."  (And don't forget Jim DeMint declaring how critical it was to defeat health care reform for political purposes:  "If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo.  It will break him").

The question is how far will the Republicans go.  Paul Krugman questioned the motives behind the "odd" and "incoherent" Republican attack on the Federal Reserve's plan to buy longer term debt in order to lower interest rates and create jobs.  Krugman dared to speculate that "Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House."  According to Matt Yglesias, given that the Republican leadership wants above all else to defeat Obama, together with the obvious point that "tangible improvements in the economy are key to Obama's re-election chance," you have Republicans "do[ing] everything in [their] power to reduce economic growth."  Steve Benen, like Yglesias, suggests that it is not merely that the GOP does not want the economy to recover before 2012, but, in a provocative post, None Dare Call It Sabotage, furthers the hypothesis that Republicans may be purposefully and knowingly undermining the economy in order to win the next presidential election.  As Benen put it, if you wanted to do the most economic damage:
You might start with rejecting the advice of economists and oppose any kind of stimulus investments. You'd also want to cut spending and take money out of the economy, while blocking funds to states and municipalities, forcing them to lay off more workers. You'd no doubt want to cut off stimulative unemployment benefits, and identify the single most effective jobs program of the last two years (the TANF Emergency Fund) so you could kill it.
Still not convinced?  Let's throw in for good measure the Republican scuttling of the START nuclear treaty with Russia for no comprehensible reason.  Obama has referred to ratification of the treaty as a "national security imperative," and has the support of the Secretary of Defense and former defense and national security leaders from both Republican and Democratic Administrations.  The only logical conclusion to be drawn from Republican opposition to the treaty is that they simply don't want to give Obama a political victory regardless of the consequences.  (See What's Up With Arizona)

There is plenty of evidence that the Republicans are not about "Country First" but Party First.  Isn't it time, then, for the President and his fellow Democrats to stop meekly seeking compromises on watered down bills that won't sufficiently get the country back on track and start calling out the Republicans for their unpatriotic motives?  This would not only show Americans that the Democrats are actually willing to fight for their principles and the good of the Country, but it just may shame at least some Republicans into doing the right thing -- not the right wing thing.  [Related post:  Greider On Obama]


Stephen said...

Michael Gerson's offered a prebuttal ("Liberals resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems") to your piece in yesterday's Washington Post.

Gerson's pre-counterattack is laughably weak when making the case for Republican remedies: "Republicans are advocating the conservative alternatives - monetary restraint, lower spending, lower taxes - they have embraced for 30 years."

If his claim that "It is difficult to overstate how offensive elected Republicans find the sabotage accusation" accurately captures Republican hyper-sensitivities, then the Democrats may have finally hit upon a successful strategy.

Lovechilde said...


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