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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:28 PM

The Incompetent Party by Michael Tomasky

Jan 8, 2013 4:45 AM EST
For years, everyone assumed Republicans were politically savvy and Democrats werenít. But Michael Tomasky thinks that stereotype is outdated. What if todayís GOP just isnít very good at politics?

Over the weekend, I wrote about how Barack Obama can win the upcoming debt-ceiling fight. I left out one important element of a winning strategy, which Iíll get to further down. But the main point of the piece, which I want to reinforce today, is to flip the current conventional wisdom on its head. The c.w. says the Republicans hold the cards here. But they donít. And some of them are throwing whatever cards they do have on the bonfire with a lot of loose talk that weakens what I think is their already weak position. What all this adds up to is the following revolutionary proposition, which I invite you to consider: it may be that the Republicans just arenít very good at politics anymore.

In the years of my adulthoodóthe years, that is, since the Reagan ascendanceóit has generally been assumed by the elite media and other arms of the country-running establishment that the Republicans knew what they were doing. Yeah, they may have been extreme or obstreperous or this or that, but they were good. Newt Gingrich was whip smart. Karl Rove was an out-and-out genius. Tom DeLay, you didnít mess with. Why I even remember when Bill Frist was limned as some kind of great sage. And so on. On the Democratic side, meanwhile, Bill Clinton often won such plaudits, but for a long, long time, he was about the only one.

I have some highfalutin theories about why this is so, but letís dispense with those and just seek an Occamís Razor kind of explanation. Quite simply, for a long time, Republicans won. And even when they didnít win, they certainly dominated the discourse. So they just looked like the team that knew how to play the game.

That was true for a generation anyway, and during that time, the media learned the habit of assuming that, whatever the issue, the Republicans were going to win; they were surely in possession of some secret, devious master plan of genius that they were just waiting for the exact right moment (because needless to say, under this theory, even their timing was above reproach) to spring on the unsuspecting Democrats, who would melt like cheese at the sight of it.



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Reply The Incompetent Party by Michael Tomasky (Original post)
DonViejo Jan 2013 OP
orwell Jan 2013 #1
Proud Liberal Dem Jan 2013 #2

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:47 PM

1. The Republicons "won"...

...for the same reason the Tea Party "won".

They closely aligned themselves with the monied elites. The elites control the media and thereby the narrative.

The Dems tried to coddle the same class with the DLC wing but the rich would rather have a full loaf than a partial loaf. So in the end the majority of the money class still favors the Cons.

It's all standard game theory.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:44 PM

2. Good article

the only thing that I would disagree on is whether President Obama should submit any kind of "plan" at this point. He's put out lots of plans and ideas and proposals since 2011 that have included cuts and revenue that the Republicans have consistently refused to embrace. The Republicans are really so out there at the moment that nothing he proposes (short of the Ryan Budget and maybe not even that) has any hope of being seriously considered by the Republicans in the House let alone passed by them and sent to the Senate, so he'd once again just be spinning his wheels and looking like he's "negotiating" with them. I think that the Republicans need to keep blowing hot air and stomping their feet about shutting down the government and letting the country go into default by not raising the debt ceiling. They need to sober up and do their jobs and I'm not sure that there's anything that President Obama or any Democrat in Congress can do to help bring them back to reality at this point. I think that they are going to have to feel the heat and wrath of the American public before they get some sense knocked into them. The more that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress try to deal with the Republicans the more it just becomes "both sides do it". Let the Republicans propose/pass the cuts they believe that this country needs and try to get the public on their side. They won't be able to convince large numbers of Americans that Social Security and Medicare should be cut- not now or ever but if they believe so strongly that that's what needs to be done, they should be welcome to try and see how far that gets them. And they shouldn't be able to accuse President Obama of "not leading" while they themselves sit around and expect President Obama and the Democrats in Congress to do their dirty work for them either.

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