Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pointing Out the Obvious

Andrew Sullivan pretty much wraps up what a lot of people have been saying since, oh, January 2009: Republicans are dicks.

What we’ve observed these past two years is a political party that knows nothing but scorched earth tactics, cannot begin to see any merits in the other party’s arguments, refuses to compromise one inch on anything, and has sought from the very beginning to do nothing but destroy the Obama presidency. I see no other coherent message or strategy since 2008. Just opposition to everything, zero support for a president grappling with a recession their own party did much to precipitate, and facing a fiscal crisis the GOP alone made far worse with their spending in the Bush-Cheney years. There is not a scintilla of responsibility for their past; not a sliver of good will for a duly elected president. Worse, figures like Cantor and McCain actively seek to back foreign governments against the duly elected president of their own country, and seek to repeal the signature policy achievement of Obama’s first two years, universal healthcare.

The problem is not just the Republicans being recalcitrant and thuggish about their view that only they are the legitimate rulers of the world. This has been enabled by a news media that has let them get away with it and an administration that has shown far too much good will or naivete in the mistaken belief that no organized political party in a civilized country could be actively intent in bringing down their opposition in such a way.

The way to deal with both bullies and misbehaving children is to stand up to them and not tolerate their behavior. Giving in to them just encourages them, and the GOP has gotten a lot of encouragement lately. The point is not to win them over — that will never happen — but to show them that you will not put up with it and that there are consequences for their actions. The problem is that the Democrats have not shown that they have the will or the resources to fight back, or, at the very least, not go along with the GOP’s demands because they’re afraid they won’t be nice to them anymore. Well, here’s a news flash: they never will.

The simple solution is to stop enabling them. Stop negotiating with them. Do what you have to do to get the job done without them, or in the case of the Bush tax cuts, don’t do anything. They are going to expire in thirty days. Let them expire. Then let the new Congress try and come up with new tax cuts for the rich and the ways to pay for them. This is a case where gridlock is actually a good thing.

The problem with that is, of course, the Republicans will then blame the Democrats and there will be the usual suspects among the Democrats who will nod and say they have a point, at which point we want to gouge out our eyes with rusty spoons. And the beat will go on as the unemployed lose their jobless benefits, the New Start treaty languishes, and the real work of the country slowly grinds to a halt.