Misunderestimating the Asinine
Steven Benen got me on this one (emphasis mine):
Just a few months ago, the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein, not exactly a raging leftist, said House GOP leaders “are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious.”
Ornstein may have thought of that as a throwaway line, but I’ve considered it rather devastating. He didn’t just say Republicans aren’t serious; he said they can’t get serious and don’t even want to try. That’s not only a powerful critique, it has the added benefit of being true.
Early last year, as the GOP’s descent into nonsense picked up steam, there was some rejoicing on the left, and I understood why. As Republicans took on the collective persona of angry, over-medicated children, it seemed highly unlikely American voters would reward them with power. The GOP was becoming a national embarrassment, progressives assumed, and would need to come to its senses before it could return to the big kids’ table.
But that satisfaction was misplaced. Sure, Republicans abandoned the pretense of credibility, seriousness, reason, and thoughtful policymaking, but they’re nevertheless poised to make significant gains anyway. Voters care less about the GOP’s radical recklessness and more about a struggling national economy.
He’s right. Looking back at my posts from about 18 months ago, it’s almost painful how naive I was, smugly certain that people would see through the most transparent of political plays, and that the GOP would marginalize itself to obscurity. Of course, that was before the Obama and the Democrats truly revealed how weak-kneed and surrendering they could be with the GOP, but it’s not as if Democrats had never acted that way before. It’s also not as if demagoguery never worked before. But seriously: I had a much higher opinion and expectation from the centrist American voter a year and a half ago than I have now.
However bad the economy might be, it should be clear to any idiot that:
- It was primarily Republican policies that got us into this mess;
- While the economy is still bad, it is far, far better than it would have been thanks to the stimulus;
- Democrats, for all their failings, have had better and more responsible policies;
- Republicans are acting like deranged, idiotic maniacs who are mostly incapable of telling the truth;
- Unless you’re wealthy, the Republicans are not on your side; and
- Republicans don’t have any ideas worth listening to, certainly none that hold up to close inspection.
So, naturally, voters are set to sweep them into office–because with the massive damage left by Bush and the GOP, and the Republicans going all-out, balls-to-the-wall in obstructing every move the Democrats try to make, the Dems have only been able to partly undo the damage the GOP has done.
If campaign slogans had to be truthful, then the GOP would have to run with: “We’re Crazy and Destructive, but the Other Guys Are Ineffective at Stopping Us.”