Posted by: mutantpoodle | February 13, 2009

You had your chance

[Video clip from Talking Points Memo.]

The stimulus passed the house, 246-183. Not a single Republican voted aye.

This, along with Judd Gregg’s withdrawal from consideratrion for Secretary of Commerce, have today’s GOP feeling mighty pleased with themselves. Gregg, in fact, after praising the stimulus 2 weeks ago, plans to vote against it now.

Does everybody feel, to channel Rachel Maddow, all warm and bipartisany?

Today’s Wall Street Journal quoted Rahm Emmanuel today saying that the Obama team had let their desire for bipartisan support get in the way of their message about the need for a stimulus bill.

They will not make that mistake again.

I imagine Barack Obama will continue to make nice with Republicans, inviting them over for drinks and Super Bowl parties. But what he’s learned in three weeks on the job about his loyal opposition is that they are (a) completely irrational, (b) virtually unmovable and (c) he can do better without them.

Republicans actually got more in the stimulus bill than their shrinking minority status would normally warrant, and while I imagine they’ll continue to whine pathetically about how they aren’t consulted about critical legislation, when the people leading the “Obama is a partisan hack” charge are Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Karl Rove, it’s safe to assume that folks in the White House aren’t losing much sleep.

The modern Republican party is marching toward a long period of irrelevance. They can be saved if the economy doesn’t, in the next few years, turn around, but if it does, they are setting themselves up to be the party that was against all the stuff that Obama did that will be seen as helping get us out of the mess Republicans largely created in the first place.

Sure – you might win a campaign or two anyway, but it seems like a deep hole to dig out of.

Watching the GOP flail about these past few weeks makes one wonder if they really believe anything they say. See here for the 411 on the mouse clip above. And there’s the lie about how the bill is anti-religion, and the lie about how it will force doctors to get approval from the government before they can treat their patients.

I am continually amazed (and sometimes forget myself) that Barack Obama is playing a different game than the GOP. He’s playing chess and they’re playing checkers. The thing is, he can beat Republicans at checkers if he needs to, and they have no idea how to play chess.

Almost every kid, when first learning to play chess, learns a four move sequence that, if your opponent is stupid, leads to a very quick checkmate. The problem is, if it doesn’t work, you’re in a bad position going forward, with greatly reduced prospects for long-term success.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to today’s Republican party. It would be better for them – and better for all of us – if they were a serious opposition party.

Right now, they’re the knee-jerk no we can count on for years to come.


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