The question not being answered by Republicans seeking Barack Obama’s job is what responsibility they will accept for the race to the White House. From what we saw in Iowa, the personal quests of GOP candidates and indecision over whether to side with the Republican mainstream or social conservatives will fragment a party already having problems deciding what it stands for.
Yesterday morning Republicans were resolute. Democrats were incensed. The president was toeing the line between compromise and censure. Everyone involved was giving signals that the year-end payroll tax cut package was doomed until after Washington’s Christmas vacation (see: Congress Pounds a Holly Stake Through Middle Class Hearts). By the end of the day, Republicans were talking capitulation, backing down from a stance from which there could be no backing down.
Do Republicans enjoy being the bearers of bad news, or do they just not know any better? Since last November the GOP has taken on the role of fiscal grim reaper. Party leaders need to open their eyes. Barack Obama was not elected president because he promised pain. Voters gave Republicans the House because Democrats could not restrain their spending, and failed to put a respectable dent in the unemployment numbers.
Republicans take note. While you were being responsible, worrying about financial ruin and creating jobs without tax dollars, Barack Obama launched his 2012 reelection campaign. Supporters left out during the first four years, like illegal immigrants, have already been assured that their piece of Obama’s Realm will come in the next term. For those already benefiting from the president’s intractable generosity, like labor unions, more of the good stuff is on the way.
During the now-forgotten controversy over extending the Bush tax rates, harsh invective ruled the day. The escalating war of words linked the wealthy to financial firms blamed for precipitating the recession, as if anyone making over $250,000 annually was by necessity employed on Wall Street.
President Obama played a pivotal role in keeping the dialogue going, reminding Americans how the wealthy benefited at their expense during the Bush years:
And keep in mind wealthy Americans are just about the only folks who saw their incomes rise when Republicans were in charge.
Despite ongoing economic blight and the failure to reduce record unemployment, health care reform remains the most contentious issue of Barack Obama’s presidency. The bill embodies everything conservatives despise about big government, and resulted in angry demands for repeal while drafts were still being committed to paper. Republicans promised that one of their first priorities, should they retake control of Congress, would be to wipe this hated piece of legislation off the books forever.
Part I: What’s The Story on Small Business?
Out-of-touch and unable to sell his agenda in the face of near-double-digit unemployment, President Obama is resorting to partisan attacks, rather than working with Republicans to help the American people, who are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’
John Boehner, July 24, 2010
Mr. Boehner’s remark could just as easily be turned around and applied to the GOP.
Politics is an unpredictable beast. One moment, Scott Brown’s election to the Senate looks like the death blow to health care reform. Now, scant weeks later, Brown has defected to support Harry Reid’s jobs bill instead of seizing the opportunity to chastise the majority leader for wasting our money while refusing to include extensions of unemployment and COBRA benefits in the legislation.