I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Party of Whiners

From Alberto Gonzales to Rush Limbaugh and everyone in between, the Republican Party is whining as Obama prepares to move into the White House. So, Bush just had bad luck with bad things happening on his watch? Or maybe the GOP’s bad luck just happened to send Bush to the White House in the first place???

But according to Paul Krugman, click here to read his entire column; and I agree, the fault lies with the Republican party itself. Forty years ago the GOP decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as their champion, to the pervasive incompetence of his administration, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision. The conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new 2000 team to make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.

There was contempt for expertise and it in turn rested on contempt for government in general. Ronald Reagan declared that “Government is not the solution to our problem, Government IS the problem. So why worry about governing well?

The Republicans back in the 80s began to take advantage of the situation in the south which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” Or, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.

Krugman says the racial element isn’t all that abstract, even now: Chip Saltsman, currently a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” and according to some reports, the controversy over his action has actually helped his chances! Is that outrageous or what!

Still there are some commentators warning President-elect Obama against bold action and have held up Clinton’s political failures in his first two years as a cautionary tale.

But America today is very different country from what it was in 1993 – not just a country that had yet to see what happens when conservatives control all three branches of government, but also a country in which Democratic control of Congress depended on the votes of Southern conservatives. Today, Republicans have taken away almost all those Southern votes – and lost the rest of the country. It was, indeed, a grand ride for a while, but in the end the Southern strategy led the GOP into a cul-de-sac.

Krugman believes that Obama has room to be bold. If Republicans try a 1992-style strategy of attacking him for promoting big government, they’ll learn two things: not only has the financial crisis discredited their economic theories, the racial subtext of anti-government rhetoric doesn’t play the way it used to.

Of course Republicans will make a comeback, that’s a given. But barring some huge missteps by Obama, that's not likely to happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. When and if they do that they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.

Obama has an enormous task ahead of him and while I surely wouldn’t want to be in his shoes, I do have total confidence that he has the wisdom, the courage, the foresight and the determination to lead this country out of the incredible mess we find ourselves in today due to the contempt that the Republicans have had for government in general.


Lin said...

let's all pull for president elect obama's success because it is our success as a struggling nation also. prayers and good will coming his way are needed from all of us.

Kallen305 said...

Being an independent swing voter I hope the Republicans do learn their lesson because I am a strong believer in a two party system. In fact, I would like to see a third party that is more middle of the road, but I won't see it in my life time I am afraid.

I too am hoping for success for Obama. This country has been divided for too long on party loyalties and special interests from both sides and Obama may be able to heal some of that and put the people first instead of the special interests.

My big issue this year are environmental issues and I am hoping he can undo some of the damage that has been done over the past eight years.

Judy said...

The Republicans sure to need a reorganization of their party. I have full confidence in our new president.

Joy said...

Excellent post! I remember when it was the Solid South for the Democratic Party, and now that horrible Saltsman guy is from TN on the other side of Nashville from where I live. It's beyond embarrassing and horrifying! The vote is close in TN but always votes Republican now except for the urban areas.

This revisionist spin the Bush people are putting on his administration as if it all "happened to him" instead of his role and responsibility for it is typical. Their incompetence has almost ruined the country.

Obama has some well-qualified advisers and cabinet memebers. What lies ahead of them is huge, but it feels good to have hope.

TropiGal said...

A CD such as Saltzman's seems more suitable for junior high school than party leadership. I was disappointed to see a tabloid with a headline and photo claiming that Obama was not born in the USA and, therefore, not eligible for office. It is sad.

Kay said...

I'm hoping that people don't expect President-Elect Obama to be magical and fix everything in the first 100 days. What the Republicans led by Bush and equally Cheney (Is he hiding?) did was done in several years. The tragedy of what's happened to our country is too terrible to fix right away. I'm hoping people will give him their support as well as time to sort through this all.

What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

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