The unanimity that the Republicans in the House have shown in opposition to the stimulus bill just signed by President Obama is really amazing. Just what does that House Republican leadership have to whip anyone with? Keys to the GOP-only washroom? Dinner dates with Newt Gingrich and Bill Kristol? Promises of ambassadorships in the next Republican administration? Ha! Who would believe there is ever going to be one? Whatever the reason, all the House Republicans have decided to make a bad bed and sleep in it, satisfied only with themselves and accomplished of nothing.
Good. Hoist them on their own petard, I say. In a short 20 months, they will be facing another election with the tangible benefits of the stimulus bill all around them as they tour their districts. It should provide some interesting constituent interactions: See that road-building over there? I voted against it. Those cranes around that new green building being rehabbed in the middle of town? I voted against it. You got laid off and got more weeks of coverage and got $25 more per week while you tried to get back on your feet? I voted against it. Now, can I count on your vote? Hey, where’d ya go?
You wonder, really, about all those congresspeople in swing districts and why they would throw in with their increasingly overheated and hyper-partisan brethren. What about Wisconsin’s own Tom Petri, whose 6th District is just north and west of here? Unlike GOP glamor-puss Paul Ryan and North Shore neanderthal Jim Sensenbrenner, Petri often votes with the Dems on issues important to his district or to good government. What’s his problem on the stimulus bill? "...it simply was not focused enough on short-term stimulation," he says on his web site. Well, "not enough" is not nothing and there should be enough going on in his district in a year to make people wonder what he was thinking. Not to mention the increased strength of any Democratic challenger he will certainly draw next year.
Republican governors, on the other hand, are smartly and desperately embracing the stimulus bill. Their eyes closer to the ground in their states and free from the dark hands of people like the new dweeb in town, GOP House Whip Tom Cantor, the governors are playing the role of grown-ups to the children in the GOP House. They have one thing in common with President Obama – they are responsible for getting things going in their states and are less likely to participate in cheap posturing.
But, posture they have in the House, putting the very survival of the Republican party on the line and in deep jeopardy. The Washington elite in the GOP are betting they will be able to do the same thing they tried to do to Bill Clinton – prevent him from being a success. Despite their best efforts, a pack of lying Arkansans and Clinton’s own temporary personal weakness, Clinton's administration was still broadly successful and popular. Obama is even more likely to succeed, if only because only the hapless GOP doesn’t want him to.
The tireless and tiresome radio squawkers that so dominate what passes for Republican "thought" have been talking since early last year that the party’s cratering fortunes were as a result of their candidates not being nut-right enough. Unfortunately for them, the House Republicans and the RNC -- with the ludicrous choice of hyper-partisan Michael Steele as chairman -- appear to have drunk that Kool Aid.
The NoBama Republicans are hoping they can use their useful idiots on mainstream radio to make enough noise about the inevitable small failures of the stimulus package to make people forget the bigger picture of more confidence in an inspiring president and a brighter future through cash infusion into the economy. They’ll lose that bet, big time, in 2010. What will be the margin in the Senate in 2011 – 65-35? How many of the lemmings in the House will be pushed off the cliff as a price of their ridiculous unity -- 20 more seats? The Blue-ing of America continues and the long slide of Republicans into irrelevancy continues and, in fact, through their own arrogant ineptitude, accelerates.