Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paranoia or Substance?

A lot of people on the left have begun to argue that the key intent of the GOP at this point is to defeat Obama rather than advance the country out of its current mess.    That is nonsense on a couple of levels.

First, while the ultimate objective for any political person is to replace their opponents, the GOP has not been without proposals that are alternatives to the President's plans.  When the "Jobs" plan that the president advanced came up for a vote in the Senate a number of democrat members voted for the GOP alternative.   But not all dems voted for the President's plan.  That would suggest that his approach is not one which is popular.

Second, the President's record on two areas gives little support for the idea that he is trying to compromise on any issue - his speech proposing his most recent plan for improving the economy was not well received but he still said only "pass it now."   Legislative process involves give and take but so far his approach has been more my way or the highway.   If, as many conservatives believe, the President's proposals will continue to harm the economy, why should they support extensions of ideas that have thus far proven to be not helpful and even harmful to recovery.   The first stimulus package did almost nothing to improve employment in the country and indeed actually made state and local government more dependent on federal funds.   But the President presses on.

These guys are amateurs.  Obama's total experience in DC and in Illinois is limited.  His record as a legislator was to be a backbencher.   So one would not expect that he is very skilled at working in a divided political environment.  But does that mean the mean old GOP has as its first goal to defeat him?  NO - the GOP in the House passed a budget proposal which the President has not countered to any serious degree.   They passed a "jobs" proposal - while he has proposed something it looks more like campaign rhetoric than serious policy.   A president has many jobs but as Bill Clinton recognized in 1994, one of his jobs when he has strong opposition in the Congress is to figure out a way to make policy not speeches.

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