The GOP: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

We have a President who has proposed no plan for reducing our debt, who has not proposed a valid budget for 18 months, who calls national addresses to create unprecedented class warfare and vilify his opponents, who has spent us into oblivion, and who makes excuses for his failures like a 12 year old boy.  How hard it is to imagine, then, that the Republican party is committing hari-kari and losing the battle for the favor of the American people to this awful President we have.

To read your average newspaper or listen to your average newscast, what you would hear is that the Republicans can’t build a consensus among themselves for how to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the national debt.  The story goes like this:  Tea Party extremists influenced by “no new taxes” pledges signed during campaigns are taking an extreme position that is completely unreasonable.  They refuse not only to raise taxes, but to close loopholes that let rich people dodge their tax obligations, that allow hedge-fund managers to rake in record profits with low taxation, that favor corporate jet owners, and that favor profit-rich oil companies that are destroying our environment.  

The story continues with:  The President and Democrats are willing to compromise, but Republicans are not, or at least a quorum of them are not.  They are influenced by crazy Tea Party members and the likes of Sarah Palin and Grover Nordquist who want to eliminate nearly every Federal agency including the FDA and the EPA.  The Republican party has, in essence, lost its collective mind.  

I won’t elaborate on how false most of the above is, but one thing is for certain.  The majority of the American people are buying it, and an incompetent and political-minded President is destroying them in the public relations arena.  Republicans look like idiots.  They look obstinate, unwilling to compromise, an infighting group that is unable to lead America.  For sure John Boehner’s image as a leader is boosted publicly, “the only adult in the room” from the Republican side.  But his party, my party, is being painted as a party of fools. (And fools there are, such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, who through completely twisted logic believe we should default on our debt.  But they are a fringe minority, no different from the fringe minority on the left save for their impact in this debt debate).

It is time for the Republicans, especially those who lean way right, to see that they are destroying themselves in the realm of public opinion.  Speaker Boenher offered an outstanding compromise last weekend with $800 billion in increased revenues, and $4 trillion in debt reduction achieved mostly through spending reductions.  The Republicans must seize on a version of this (and make sure it scores properly with the Congressional Budget Office), pass the bill immediately, and send it over to the Senate for ratification.

Not only is this the right thing to do for the American people, it is political salvation.  The Republicans are destroying their brand, and unless they get their act together in the next day or two, their prospects for the 2012 elections will be extremely dim.


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