We're seeing that now in the negotiations about the so-called "fiscal cliff." They keep screaming about how they want the President to negotiate with himself when the best they've come up with is a three page letter that offered no specifics.
The only thing we DO know that the Republicans want is spending cuts. They just won't say exactly what it is they want to cut. There's a reason they won't say what and Jonathan Chait does a good job of explaining.
There really isn’t money to be cut everywhere. The United States spends way less money on social services than do other advanced countries, and even that low figure is inflated by our sky-high health-care prices. The retirement benefits to programs like Social Security are quite meager. Public infrastructure is grossly underfunded...To prove that point, McClatchy recently published a poll in which they asked Americans what they did/didn't favor about the proposals currently under consideration in the negotiations. What is interesting is the response from Republican voters.
When the only cuts on the table would inflict real harm on people with modest incomes and save small amounts of money, that is a sign that there’s just not much money to save. It’s not just that Republicans disagree with this; they don’t seem to understand it. The absence of a Republican spending proposal is not just a negotiating tactic but a howling void where a specific grasp of the role of government ought to be. And negotiating around that void is extremely hard to do. The spending cuts aren’t there because they can’t be found.
Republicans oppose every option mentioned in the survey.That is the state of the Republican Party today...they've got opposition and nothing else.
“There’s no clear statement of what Republican voters want to happen. There’s opposition to everything,” said Miringoff.
“If you’re a Republican in Congress looking for what Republican voters are telling you, they’re not telling you much.”
To quickly demonstrate how different that is from what President Obama is proposing, take a look at this diary by leftreborn. Whether you like your information in bullet form or in graphs, s/he has a detailed summary of the President's plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion in the next 10 years (notice that it includes almost $600 billion in reduced Medicare costs WITHOUT raising the eligibility age) via spending cuts AND increased taxes.
To be effective in their "opposition only" approach, what the Republicans need is a media that is too ignorant, lazy, or complacent to point out this difference. If you'd like to see how that's done, take a look at this video of Bob Woodward being interviewed on CBS This Morning (sorry embedding disabled). What you'll see is 5 minutes of Republican spin about how both sides do it and total lies on the reality I've just laid out here.
That's what we're facing folks. And so we can either sit back and expect President Obama to do all the work of calling that shit out. Or we can buck up and do our part - no matter how large or small - to tell the truth about what's going on here.
Let's get busy!!!!!
UPDATE: This morning Greg Sargent is ON IT!
I spoke this morning to an official familiar with the fiscal cliff talks. He tells me that ever since Republicans rejected the first White House fiscal offer, White House negotiators have been asking Republicans to detail both the spending cuts they want and the loopholes and deductions they would close to raise revenues while avoiding a hike in tax rates for the rich.
According to the official, Republicans continue to refuse to answer. “No answer ever since the Geithner meeting,” the official said. “To date they have been unwilling or able to identify a list of specific cuts or changes they would like or a single loophole they are willing to close.”
...How on earth can there be any progress under these circumstances?
There is a great deal of consternation this morning over the failure to reach a deal and what it says about the failings of our “political system.” But the main problem is not the “system,” it’s the behavior of one of the participants. It is overwhelmingly clear at this point that Republicans are the primary obstacle to any compromise.