Posted by: mutantpoodle | November 28, 2008

Ah, the holiday spirit…

whinyI didn’t post yesterday – a Thanksgiving present to myself – but did see this article in yesterday’s New York Times, with the highly humorous headline, “Republican Committee Keeps the Heat on Obama.” A snippet:

With each day’s announcement of another cabinet or White House appointment, the Republican National Committee has been blitzing out critical statements that look no different from the blasts issued throughout the campaign. Mr. Obama’s selections so far, the Republican committee says, have been tax-raising, partisan Washington insiders, hardly the agents of change he promised….

Some Republicans said Mr. Obama is getting kid glove treatment so far, especially compared with what Mr. Bush endured during his shortened transition period after the Supreme Court decision that effectively sealed his victory. The country was so polarized by the Florida recount and Democrats felt so aggrieved that goodwill was in shorter supply than it seems to be today.

The reception given to Mr. Bush in late 2000 “was the mirror opposite of what President-elect Obama is now enjoying,” recalled Ari Fleischer, who became Mr. Bush’s White House press secretary. “Bush never had a honeymoon.”

Mr. Fleischer recalled that some Democrats refused to consider Mr. Bush a legitimate president and boycotted a meeting at the White House. Mr. Bush’s nomination of John Ashcroft for attorney general generated a Democratic backlash. And some Democrats accused Mr. Bush of talking down the economy by forecasting the looming recession.

“If that’s what a honeymoon was supposed to feel like, then no one would ever want to get married,” Mr. Fleischer said.

Where to start. First, I doubt Barack Obama is losing a nanosecond of sleep over what the Republican National Committee is sending out in their fax blasts. So while the RNC may be keeping the heat somewhere, it doesn’t seem to have made it to Chicago.

Second, there are actually serious and critical problems facing this country right now, and while an honest argument about policy is certainly always welcome, this kind of criticism is irrelevant. It’s being done because they don’t know how to do anything else.

Third (and this means you, Ari), comparing this transition to the Bush transition is silly. Bush hadn’t started his transition by this time in 2000 – he was busy getting the Supreme Court to give him the election, while simultaneously accusing Al Gore of trying to win in the courts. Furthermore, Gore actually won Florida (and thereby the election), and beat Bush by over half a million votes nationally (and yes – I’m still pissed about it, and that’s just too bad). So the argument that Bush wasn’t a legitimate President had more to it than post-election sour grapes.

As of now, Barack Obama has received just shy of 69 million votes (out of over 130 million cast); his margin over John McCain is over 9 million votes, and his margin of victory is now over 7%. Those numbers are all likely to increase before the votes are finally certified.

So: OBAMA WON. He didn’t eke out a victory. He more than doubled John McCain’s electoral vote total. I understand that the RNC is now in the role of the loyal(?) opposition, but might they want to take a couple of months off and then complain about, you know, stuff Obama actually does, instead of who he hires to do it?

In fairness, the article points out that most congressional Republicans have been far more generous towards Obama, which makes sense: they have to work with him, and they realize they’d look petty raining on his parade. Especially because, anecdotally, it seems that it’s Obama’s daily presence that is keeping the markets from melting down completely.

But the RNC? Still harping away. And they seem less like an opposition party than a spurned teenager who claims the girl who spurned him wasn’t that hot anyway.

In other words, it’s just pathetic. So here’s my advice to the RNC: step away from the fax machine. You’ve got four years of Barack Obama – you don’t want to waste all your best material before he even takes office.

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