When it comes to governing, there are two basic aspects under consideration; the practical and the political. The practical aspect is considering how legislation or appropriation of funds or tax policy will affect the citizens. The political aspect is considering how it makes the politician, their party or their opponents party look to the voters.
The Republican Party lost control of Congress in 2006, with further losses in 2008. Of course they also lost the White House. They’ve selected a new Chairman for the National Party and have started developing a strategy for winning in 2010.
This may sound cynical, but I believe many politicians are more concerned with staying in office (the political aspect) then accomplishing much (the practical aspect). Nowhere is this more evident than in the Recovery & Reinvestment package currently being debated.The House of Representatives passed the Presidents version of the package without a single Republican vote. Are we to believe not one individual Repbulican Congressman thought the package should pass? The Senate passed their own version with three Republican votes. Two of the three are moderate Maine Senators and the other was Arlen Spector of PA. All three are very safe politically. So what gives?
Certainly there are some who are ideologically opposed to government intervention in markets. But what I think is happening is a strategic bet, and it’s a political one, not a practical one.
The President has approximately 18 months to show that his stimulus package has helped jump start the economy. If it hasn’t happened at that point, Republican candidates in every House race in the country will use the “See, I told you so” campaign strategy. Knowing that there’s a lot in the stimulus that kicks in during years two & three, and that the economic issues are so broad and so deep that there’s a good chance we’re still in the economic crapper, the Republicans look to win with this approach. And it might work.
So while the President tries for civil discourse, the Republicans will dig in their heels. Mr. Obama may be very popular, but they’re not worried about him. They’re looking at House seats, and are banking on failure to win big. If they can take the House in 2010, Mr. Obama will get nothing passed before the 2012 campaign kicks off. Then the failed stimulus becomes the political punching bag with Mr. Obama’s face on it.
Banking on Failure; I believe that may very well be the Republican Strategy.