Friday, October 23, 2009

The Republican overreach.

There's nothing quite like a good "politician vs. the media" story to make the populace go 'yawn'. When the opposition party gets involved things really get entertaining.

[Charles Krauthammer, Real Clear Politics]
Factions should compete, but also recognize the legitimacy of other factions and, indeed, their necessity for a vigorous self-regulating democracy. Seeking to deliberately undermine, delegitimize(sic) and destroy is not Madisonian. It is Nixonian.

Not really. All the Obama White House is doing is following a long tradition of Presidents striking out against critical media, as outlined in this historical review by Michael Nelson.

An additional problem, for Republicans, is that they are turning into the very thing they claimed to despise about the Democrats during the Bush years, campaigning against Obama instead of offering up an opposing plan for voters to embrace. The problem with this theory of campaigning is, as the Democrats are now discovering, it makes the actual act of governing difficult. Without public understanding and buy-in to large-scale programs, public approval is fleeting. It's easy to campaign, harder to actually govern.

During the Clinton years, the Republicans sold Americans on the "Contract with America". Unfortunately, for them, they then allowed the Bush administration to tear up the contract and go off in a totally different direction. The Republican challenge now is to convince Americans that they still have a viable plan, all while convincing them that they won't crock it up this time. If the Tea Party movement is any indication, the base ain't buying what the Party is selling.

One positive that could come from an issues focused Republican Party could be a renewal of focus on Democratic plans. There's a risk that, if the plans were fully developed, that the public would accept them, thus damaging the Republican brand further. (A risk that many progressives say is sure to happen, feeling that Americans will pay higher taxes if the benefits are there.)

Either way, it's better than the half-baked policy mess that we have now. Of course, most anything would be better than the deficit-fueled spending spree that America currently finds itself in, even a revamped tax-code that funds what's being promised.

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