Saturday, November 27, 2010
Village Acid Trip: Broder edition
This may be the most absurd column David Broder has ever run. And that's saying something. In fact think it may go beyond anything a pundit has ever written, diving headlong into a fiction so ridiculous you have to wonder if he's joking -- or insane:
What if Barack Obama is telling the truth about his own beliefs when he says that neither party by itself can realistically hope to solve the challenges facing the United States? Evidently Broder really believes that it's Obama who has been the obstinate partisan and the Republicans who have reason to mistrust his intentions when he says that he wants to work with them. The poor Republicans are once bitten twice shy and in order to carry out their mandate must take a leap of faith that he has changed.
Suppose he means it when he says that after the shellacking he and his fellow Democrats received in the midterm elections, he is ready and willing to hear the Republicans' ideas for dealing with jobs, taxes, energy and even nuclear weapons control.
I know that is supposing a lot - so much that it seems impossible. It's more like the script for a Broadway musical than a plausible plotline for Washington. But nonetheless, suppose that he is serious when he says, over and over, as he did on Thanksgiving Day, that if we want to "accelerate this recovery" and attack the backlog of lost jobs, "we won't do it as any one political party. We've got to do it as one people." [...]Suppose there is a chance that he is serious - that after two years of trying to govern through one party, a party that held commanding majorities in the House and Senate but now has lost them, two years with landmark accomplishments but ultimate frustration of his hopes to change Washington, he has reverted to his original philosophy of governing.
What would Republicans do if they thought there was a chance of that being true?
They would do what Ronald Reagan always recommended in dealing with the Russians: Trust but verify.
Meanwhile, here on Planet Earth, this is what those poor put-upon Republicans are saying:
A week later:
MCCONNELL: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.”
NATIONAL JOURNAL: What’s the job?
MCCONNELL: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office, but the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill, to end the bailouts, cut spending and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things," the Kentucky Republican will say. "We can hope the president will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it.”
This seems pretty clear to me. Unless Obama agrees to repeal everything he did in the first two years and govern as a Tea Partier they will use any means necessary to ensure he doesn't get a second term. Even some Republicans are startled by this:
You'd think Broder would at least be taken aback when "grown-ups" like Scowcroft lay the problem at the feet of Republicans. But in his world, it's Obama who can't be trusted.
“It’s not clear to me what it is,” said Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush who noted that this START treaty is not very different from previous ones negotiated and ratified under Republican presidents. “I’ve got to think that it’s the increasingly partisan nature and the desire for the president not to have a foreign policy victory.” In an attempt to rally bipartisan support for the treaty, the White House has enlisted the kind of GOP foreign policy wise men that Lugar exemplifies – among them former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker. But they have had no success with members of their own party, and it has left them scratching their heads over the source of the GOP opposition.
We've seen up-is-downism before, in the run-up to Iraq. But this latest trip down the rabbit hole is one wild ride. Hardcore right wingers are now centrists, the pliable Democrats are the obstructionists, rich people are being oppressed as they get richer and richer, the economy is failing so we have to destroy it. I'm dizzy.
Update: John Danforth is dizzy too:
Not surprisingly, this insubordination has earned Lugar significant scorn within the Republican base, which now seems to value blind obedience over principled independent decision-making. In a New York Times profile of Lugar published today, former GOP Sen. John Danforth feared that the backlash against Lugar from his own party signals that the GOP has gone “far overboard” with no hope of turning back: Drifted to the right? How'd that happen?
“If Dick Lugar,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
Mr. Danforth, who was first elected the same year as Mr. Lugar, added, “I’m glad Lugar’s there and I’m not.”
Danforth’s fears are not unfounded. Lugar, who is up for reelection in 2012, has already been targeted by tea party groups. “If I was Dick Lugar, I would certainly expect a challenge,” noted veteran political analyst Stuart Rothenberg. As Diane Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Tea Party, told the Times, removing Lugar “will be a difficult challenge. But we do believe it’s doable, and we think the climate is right for it and we believe it is a must.”
Indeed, asked about a potential tea party challenge motivated by his breaks with the GOP on START and other issues, Lugar suggested the party has drifted to the right while he has stayed steady, saying, “These are just areas where I’ve had stances for a long time.”
digby 11/27/2010 01:45:00 PM