Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Obama stole all the GOP's good ideas

Jonathan Bernstein nails it with this commentary on the current GOP.
The problem with Republicans today on public policy isn’t that they’re stuck in the 1980s; it’s that they’ve given up entirely. More often than not, what passes for Republican “policy” is just symbolic, not substantive...

The first step out of the policy wilderness for Republicans, then, is for them to decide that developing substantive public policy ideas is a good idea at all. 
But lets take it a step further and understand WHY they don't have an substantive policy ideas.

Remember a few weeks ago when several Republicans and conservative commentators were suggesting that President Obama was trying to destroy the Republican Party. Well, they had a point.

If you look at what the President has embraced in terms of policy - he's stolen all the good ideas the Republicans had and turned them into pragmatic solutions. For example:

  • On national security - he targeted al Qaeda, killed bin Laden and negotiated an agreement with the rest of the world on tough sanctions against Iran  
  • On immigration - he secured our borders while working towards a pathway to citizenship for those who are undocumented
  • On gun control - he embraced the 2nd amendment and proposed common sense gun control
  • On the federal deficit - he cut spending and called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction
  • On energy - he increased oil drilling while calling for an "all of the above" approach to energy independence
I could go on. But we'll leave it there for now.

Tell me where he's left room for the Republicans to develop any meaningful alternative. As I've said many times, their choice has always been to either work with him or paint themselves into a marginalized extremist corner.

We see this playing out right now as Sen. Rubio works desperately to both embrace meaningful immigration reform AND tries to pick a battle with the President. He's having one hell of a time trying to find some real estate not already covered by President Obama on which to make a stand.

While the extremes on both the right and left continue to fight their battles, President Obama has turned all of their ideas into pragmatic solutions to actual problems. That leaves both groups with the choice of either fighting for ideological purity or getting to work with him on finding real policy solutions. With the American people behind him now, those who choose the former are seen to not be terribly interested in the latter. That's why they're losing.  


  1. Occasionally, just for a brief flash of time, I wonder if any Republicans will consider flanking Obama on the left? Because there's plenty of space there...whereas, as you say, there is virtually no space left if they want to simultaneously rail at Obama and present actual policy ideas.

    It's a pipe dream, I know. But historically US political parties have had a "reasonably" fungible identity. The Ds and Rs have swapped polarisations before, I think. And there has got to be the odd hungry Republican politician looking at the idea...

    1. I think that could possibly happen from someone in the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party. Ron Paul certainly tried.

  2. I remember back in the late 90's a commentator saying that the reason conservatives hated Bill Clinton was that he'd taken all the things they had said for years that they wanted to do, and did them.

    Here, it's a case of they made a decision to be "the party of no" and the end result is that not only did they fail to come up with any new ideas, they didn't even try to polish up and pass the ideas they'd had earlier. Now that the President has said "Sound's like a starting idea," their "No" has left them without anything to try. Sucks to be them, doesn't it?

  3. He is winning the game, as you say, but the price of his win is that he is now a republican. He is willing to do a Grand Bargain hurting millions of poor and elderly. He molly-coddles the criminals of wall street, he and his BFF AG Holder spy on everything we do and say.
    He has determined that he can trash our sacred Constitutional Rights as he pleases, and the cheery-on-the-cake, he says he has the Right to come anywhere in the world and kill American Citizens, on his secret word alone. He Is A Republican. I love BHO for all that he is as a person, but as a President, not so much.

    1. A Republican...really?

      A "Republican" who...

      1. Passed the biggest stimulus in our country's history to save us from a depression
      2. Saved the auto industry
      3. Passed universal health care
      4. Ended DADT
      5. Gave us the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
      6. Got us out of one war and will soon end another one
      7. Is reducing our nuclear arms arsenal by 1/3
      8. Passed the first tax increase on the wealthy in 20 years

      And now he's going for:

      1. Sensible gun reform
      2. Comprehensive immigration reform
      3. An increase in the minimum wage
      4. Universal pre-K

      If that's what you call a Republican - I'll take it ;-)


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