Jonah Goldberg argued this week that the “party of no” strategy has been a great success for Republicans, but suggested it’s time for the GOP to “call [President] Obama’s bluff and offer a real choice.” By actually presenting a policy agenda, the GOP could achieve “a real mandate to be something more than ‘not-Obama.’” That sounds about right to me.In other words, King and his ideological ilk want American voters to simply trust them that Republican’ts will somehow contrive to “do the right thing”? Don’t ask for any details of an agenda, because those could only become controversial.
So, is there any chance congressional Republicans will take Goldberg’s advice and tell voters what they’d do with power? Not so much.
Yesterday, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) endorsed the notion of the GOP giving “certain specifics” about what the party supports, but he doesn’t want to see his party go into too many details.Heaven forbid.
“ ... I don’t think we have to lay out a complete agenda, from top to bottom, because then we would have the national mainstream media jumping on every point trying to make that a campaign issue.”
As King sees it, Republicans could present an agenda, giving the electorate a sense of how the GOP would govern, but the fear is that the party’s ideas might become “a campaign issue.”
What a load of crap! If the right-wingers are actually convinced they have better ideas than President Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats on how to improve the nation’s economic standing, social-service commitments to its citizenry, and international posture, then they should be required to spell out exactly what those better ideas would be. So far, the GOP (Gridlock and Obstruction Party) has demonstrated a willingness to relax regulatory policies, even at a time when Big Business abuses are in the news; let lobbyists dictate its legislative priorities; repeat Newt Gingrich’s arrogant idiocy of the 1990s by trying to impeach Obama; cut off jobless benefits to out-of-work Americans; undo history-making (and economy-saving) Democratic advances on health-care reform; and choke off the nation’s slow fiscal recovery by curtailing government spending and giving yet more tax breaks to the wealthiest among us (which only traps money in the pockets of the folks who need it the least).
If these are their priorities for 2010, then Republican’ts ought to be forced to state their case without equivocation. But of course that depends on a robust and fair media demanding answers, in order to educate an electorate that’s often too busy to keep up with the minutiae of political policy. And sadly, the U.S. media have been too willing of late to focus on ignorant and screaming Tea Partyers and to swallow right-wing talking points, to be of any use in helping voters distinguish truth and fact from obfuscation. The Republican’ts are counting once more on voters not knowing enough to make informed decisions. They think we’re stupid and persistently gullible, and too often we prove them correct.
READ MORE: “A Likely Scenario in 2011,” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly); “Has the GOP Learned the Lessons of the Newt Era?” by Jonathan Bernstein (Salon); “The Party of No (Ideas)” (The Progress Report).