Saturday, November 24, 2012

How do you run against a pragmatist?

By now most people except those on the right wing fringe recognize that President Obama can best be described as a pragmatist rather than an ideologue. As we've seen that play out over the last 4 years, we can also define the ingredients of that pragmatism. First of all, he identifies his North Star.
I've got one mandate. I've got a mandate to help middle class families and families that are trying hard to get in the middle class.
And secondly, he evaluates solutions based on two criteria:
  1.  What will work to solve a problem, and
  2. What can actually get done
What we've seen from the President over and over again is that he proposes solutions he thinks will work. But he always indicates that he's open to alternatives - any alternatives - as long as they will work to address the problem.

That leaves the Republicans with a they resolved for the first 4 years of his presidency by simply attempting to obstruct any solution to problems.

Now that President Obama has been re-elected, what we are witnessing is a Republican Party adrift...trying to figure out what they actually stand for that has a possibility of winning over voters. Their challenge is that in order to do so, they're still left with the problem of having to come up with an actual platform of ideas. And the reality is that the ideas they've depended on in the past fit into two categories: (1) on fiscal policies (ie, taxing/spending) we know that their ideas don't work, and (2) on social policies (ie, women's rights, LGBT rights, immigration) the majority of the country has rejected their ideas. 

And so the Republican Party is floundering. As various conservative columnists and politicians write and talk about the future of their party, they have 3 options to chose from: (1) they can simply continue to obstruct, (2) they can to try to fool the public about ideas we all know won't work, or (3) they can try to come up with ones that do. The minute they consider #3, President Obama will be ready to engage the conversation and they know that. 

And so, the question for Republicans these days really is: "How do you run against a pragmatist?" The only real answer to that question is that you can't. When/if they ever wake up to that reality is the day WE all win!  


  1. yes, and: they're inextricably tied to the south, with all that means. that puts severe constraints on their platform options.

    1. I hope folks on the left also realize that pragmatism is the best way to go, so Obama can continue to move the country in a more progressive and humane direction.

    2. Apropos of your post the other day about the lovely-and-talented Jonah Goldberg, perhaps we can count on him to lead Republicans out of darkness into pragmatism.

      Here's Charles Pierce's heartwarming commentary of Goldberg's enlightened view on racial politics that you'll appreciate...

  2. The thing is to stop campaigning after the election. Obstruction's a dumbassed strategy and anyone involved will pay for it. The only republicans that could reasonably run for president are governors. From the 90s onward no GOP congressperson can realistically run for president. Some will receive a shock come 2016.

    It would be nice if the GOP accepted the 21st century. Sucks to be them.



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