Andrew Sullivan – who has been pretty brutal on today’s Republican party and, in particular, the intellectual vacuousness of the Tea Party (more on them later) suggested yesterday that Obama’s unwillingness to get deep into the partisan muck is his long-game strategy – that his opponents, invariably, destroy themselves in frustration at his Spock-like calm.
On that point he’s right, although I’d point out that Obama’s almost comical talk about bipartisanship hasn’t earned him any points from Republicans, and it doesn’t seem to be doing much good with independents, either. My guess is that if he were a voracious partisan and the economy was booming, no one would be worried about whether he was being nice to Republicans or whether his rhetoric was turning off folks in the middle. They’d be talking, instead, about how the GOP was circling the drain.
Sadly, the economy isn’t booming, and whether Obama could have done more given the hand he was dealt isn’t clear. What is clear is that the GOP has acted like spoiled five year olds since he was inaugurated, opposing – reflexively, virtually anything he proposed. Today’s Republican party is not, to put it mildly, populated by adults.
So when Sullivan, in this post defending Obama, says this…
I think we will see his true mettle if the current GOP wins the House, which in many respects, I hope they will – if the GOP is to grow up, and take some responsibility for fixing the appalling mess they largely made at home and abroad.
…all I can think of is, WTF?
What evidence does Sullivan have that the GOP is capable of growing up? Forget their past behavior – given the pressure on Republicans internally from what is in the broader electorate a fringe movement but is, to most Republicans in a primary, a solid plurality, if not majority, of anti-Obama zealots, how does a Republican who hopes for electoral survival do anything but channel the crazy?
Now, maybe the burden of leadership will inject some gravitas into John Boehner should the GOP take over the House, but given that what folks in the GOP are salivating over in that case is investigating serious issues like Bo’s Christmas card list and shutting down the Government, I remind you of this handy maxim from Damon Runyan:
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.
If the GOP wins the house, they’ll still be the crazy and childish loons they are today. Perhaps we should expect them to act like grownups before giving them a lot of power?