Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Fractured Party: It's not just the presidential candidates

As we've watched the divide in the Republican Party develop over their presidential candidates, some folks want to blame it on the individuals who are running and suggest that if the right person just got into the race, Republicans would unite behind him/her and all would be well.

That's a fantasy.

To understand why, all we have to do is look at what's happening in Congress where the same divide is spitting the Party and sending them down in flames.

On the extension of the payroll tax cuts, Republican Majority Leader McConnell crafted a deal with the Democrats that overwhelmingly passed the Senate (89-10) and Speaker Boehner signed on. Then when he took it to the House, their Tea Party faction said "Oh no you don't" and Boehner was forced to cave. The whole fiasco basically reflects the same divide we've seen in the presidential nomination.

As I've said many times before, after the total failure of the Bush/Cheney years, the Republican Party had a choice to make. They could re-think their policies and attempt to come up with some pragmatic solutions (as folks like David Frum have been practically begging them to do) or they could double down on what didn't work. They chose the later. And to make it work, they had to gin up the crazy in their base. It required them to lie, spread fear, and ramp up the racism in order to keep that frenzy going.

But now the chickens are coming home to roost. Nowhere is that more evident than when the Wall Street Journal editorial writers express displeasure with Republicans. And look at their conclusions about it all today.

After a year of the tea party House, Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats have had to make no major policy concessions beyond extending the Bush tax rates for two years. Mr. Obama is in a stronger re-election position today than he was a year ago, and the chances of Mr. McConnell becoming Majority Leader in 2013 are declining.

Many on the left credit President Obama's rise in the latest polls to the idea that he's adopted a "more populist" message lately. But those of us who have watched him closely these past few years know two things: First of all, we paid attention to the populism in his message all along. And secondly, we also recognized the long game he was playing of continuing to be "the only adult in the room" focused on real solutions. As I've said before, with Republicans adopting a policy of total obstruction, that forced them into an ever smaller corner of extremism, which is causing the divide today.

That, my friends, is the definition of conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy. And as far as I can see...its working.

1 comment:

  1. Hi SP
    I am wondering why more people aren't following your "nail on the head" comments.

    Isn't it obvious that PBO's populism has been there all the time? Isn't it obvious that his long game is working? Isn't it clear yet that in exchange for allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to extend for 1 year all of what he got in exchange?

    Why can't everyone look at the Debt Ceiling Deal, the Super Committee Deal, etc, etc, and see plainly his mastery of the issues?

    Woe are the repub/traitors who have tried and tried to defeat the genius that is PBO.

    Thanks again for your clarity. Lets hope more folks will follow your brilliant posts!
    Smilingl8y

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