07 January 2010

The Republican strategy

One benefit of the Senate battle over health-care reform is that it shed light on the Republican strategy to win back power in this year's elections and beyond.

Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct -- block whatever the Democrats are trying to do, or at least force them to compromise it as much as possible. Limit the Democrats' achievements as much as possible.

To what purpose? To fuel cynicism and pessimism -- the most destructive forces that can take root in any movement -- within our side. To get people moaning that the Democrats can't get anything done, that they are sellouts. To get people talking about staying home in November or voting third-candidate. That's the Republicans' goal. Because all of that, no matter what motivations underlie it or what message it is intended to send, will have the practical effect of empowering Republicans.

Would any of us really punish candidates who share 80%-90% of our philosophy and empower the very people whose relentless obstruction prevented getting much of what we wanted enacted? Relatively few, I think, but that's all the Republicans need. In a close race, just 5% of the base staying home or voting for a third candidate could be enough to tip a seat from blue to red. And after that, all that matters is that the seat is red instead of blue. It makes no difference how or why it happened.

For the record, I don't think it will work. Obama seems to have suffered very little loss of popularity with the liberal base from January to December, and elections are won or lost in the center, which (unless something major and unexpected happens) will vote mostly on the basis of whether unemployment has improved by November or not. But be alert for the effects of the Republican strategy, and be ready to recognize them when you see them.


Blogger One Fly said...

I think Obama has lost quite a bit of support and it seems to me the tactics of the right are working as well. Not because they are good tactics they are not but because their base agrees with it. But what do I know?

07 January, 2010 05:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

There's been some loss of support in the center -- not surprisingly since the health-reform bill was stripped of the two features (the public option and the Medicare expansion) which polls showed were most broadly popular. But what I'm talking about here is the Republicans' strategy to undermine support from the Democratic base (the left) specifically. That doesn't seem to be working -- according to the one poll I've seen (which unfortunately I didn't keep a link to) Obama's popularity among committed liberals dropped only from 90% to 89% between January and December 2009. Pessimistic and cynical talk on the left seems to be subsiding compared with last month, while determination to minimize Republican gains in November seems to be gaining ground. My point is, the Republicans will keep using obstructionist tactics, trying to make us discouraged and divided.

07 January, 2010 05:45  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Obama has tried to be bipartisan and that has given the Republicans a lot to feed on. When in power they have little time for the minority party, when in the minority they have even less time for the majority party. The only thing they have supported is the troop surge in Afghanistan. The Republicans hit the ground running the day after Obama won and was heaping bile on him before his inauguration. Fear and cynicism is their calling card, their success depends on how influenced the swing voters are and by their very nature, swing voters are very easily influenced.

07 January, 2010 07:21  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Great Summation of the Punk Ass Bitch Republican Party Grand Platform.

Of course, they will block the Democratic Efforts, the Republican Party prizes Possessions over People and loves to see Americans die because then they can fearmonger and lie to their vegetative supporters.

Like your comments over at TRUTH101, as well.

09 January, 2010 13:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

HE: We'll be on the look-out for them to try to influence swing voters -- my concern is that they're trying to manipulate Democrats who may not understand how they're being manipulated.

GeG: As you point out on your blog, they're even claiming that 9/11 didn't happen on Bush's watch or was somehow "inherited" from Clinton, so they're certainly capable of blocking reforms and then claiming that the Democrats failed to get anything done.

10 January, 2010 06:32  

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