Posted by: mutantpoodle | February 2, 2009

Taking Directions from the lost

lostAs I was watching the Super Bowl yesterday, blissful in my ability to ignore the Republican Party for a day, it occurred to me that there was, in NBC’s traditionally overblown coverage, a lesson for the media.

As the elite collection of former NFL Head Coaches – Mike Holmgren, Tony Dungy, & Bill Belichik – (Super Bowl winners all) expound on elements of the game, I noticed that they weren’t talking to, say, Rod Marinelli. Or Romeo Crennel. Or Eric Mangini.

Maybe that’s because all three of them were fired this year – Marinelli after leading the Detroit Lions to the worst losing season ever: 0-16. And even though Mangini was hired to replace Crennel in Cleveland, he still didn’t make it onto the panel o’ experts NBC assembled.

Which seems about right. Generally, if you want insight into something, you go to people who have demonstrated some, you know, expertise about that thing in the past.

So – why are there so many Republicans on my TeeVee spouting nonsense?

I get the whole opposition party thing, and I’m always interested in a healthy debate, but when you interview people who are, as Steve Benen pointed out fairly directly, wrong about everything, maybe you ought to push back, or, at the very least, talk to people who know what they’re talking about. So far, I haven’t seen much evidence of that characteristic among the GOP leadership. That’s not to say there aren’t reasons to oppose the stimulus bill as it stands, but shouldn’t there be some penalty for the kind of stupidity that causes Republican Senator Jim DeMint to say that the Stimulus is not “…a stimulus bill. It’s just a spending bill.”

I await his introduction of a stimulus bill that doesn’t have spending.

I think the Republicans have decided to be the party that says no (even while they say they can’t just be that) and hope (betting against the country) that Obama fails. As a political calculus, it’s probably the best they have. But that clearly emerging strategy should allow the Democrats to do what they think is right.

Because while bipartisanship may make some people feel all warm and fuzzy, Republicans have it confused with capitulation, and sometimes the middle ground is worse than either extreme. Even assuming that the GOP had a workable stimulus plan (they don’t), mixing theirs and the Democrats would create two cups of weak tea instead of one strong one. From my house to Downtown LA is about 22 miles – there are two freeway routes that will take me there, and, depending on the time of day, one or the other might be faster. What isn’t faster is going between them on surface streets, no matter what the traffic. And yet that, in many DC insiders’ minds, would be a bipartisan solution to a disagreement on which route I should take to get downtown.

I don’t have much hope for the folks on cable TV – apparently, the GOP is still close to all the news networks’ bookers – but perhaps the Democrats will learn something as we move forward.

The Republican Party has screwed this country up in every way, and, in looking back, thinks their mistake was not doing more of the stuff that got us in trouble. They either are uninterested in helping fix the disaster they have created, or ignorant of how one might do that.

In any event, the Republican party should be treated with the same deference as a failed – and fired – coach. Just as Rod Marinelli wasn’t asked to pontificate on the Super Bowl yesterday (and won’t be a head coach in the NFL for a while), it’s time for Republicans to be treated with the respect and deference on economic issues that they have earned over the least decade.

But I’m not holding my breath.

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