The Next Nexter Right

This should be fun (via Sullivan):

I just got off the phone with a very plugged-in Republican strategist who told me that Republican reaction to President Obama’s speech, which the party will roll out in the next few days, will mark the beginning of a new GOP approach to opposing the president’s initiatives. (No, Bobby Jindal’s ineffective response was not part of that new approach — everyone seems a little embarrassed about that.) The Republican leadership in the House has concluded that in the stimulus debate, the GOP succeeded in dominating a number of news cycles but failed to score any points on actual policy. That, the leaders believe, has got to change.

“You’re seeing a major doctrinal shift in how Republicans are going to focus all these debates,” the strategist told me. “The key is to focus on winning the issue as opposed to winning the political moment. If you win the issue, people will think you are ready to govern.”

I asked him to elaborate a little. “With the political moment, it’s how can you find the one thing that gives you the momentary upper hand in terms of the coverage for the next six hours — as opposed to engaging the electorate in creating a structural change in their opinion on which party is better able to handle an issue.”

During the stimulus debate, the strategist argued, Republicans had an actual alternative but were unable to direct much attention to it — in part because they were focusing so much of their rhetoric on the massive and unnecessary spending in the bill. The debate became a question of an up-or-down decision on the Obama/Democratic plan — not a choice between the Obama/Democratic plan and a Republican plan. “The coverage of the stimulus bill focused on the difference between the House and Senate versions,” the strategist told me, “which were basically two sides of the same coin.” The Republican role was limited to a) saying no to the Obama/Democratic bill, and b) having three moderates in the Senate approve of the bill as long as it offered a little less than what Democrats proposed. The idea that Republicans, mostly in the House, had an actual full-scale alternative, was lost. “On the Sunday talk shows, right after it passed, find me one person who mentioned the Republican alternative,” the strategist said.

Look, big points for finally starting to figure this out after spending millions of dollars on tire gauges and fake press credentials and celebrity ads and “Drill, baby, drill” t-shirts. Quite frankly, you’ve been a bit of a joke lately (so much so that you were openly mocked by Paris Hilton). Props for recognizing that the key to the GOP future is not through youtube masturbatory fantasies about being back in the saddle again, but you still aren’t there yet, folks.

Repeat after me: You had no alternative. You had no alternative. You had no alternative. The reason no one on the Sunday shows could point to the Republican alternative WAS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT HAVE ONE.

You had a mantra- tax cuts. And you had something proposed by DeMint that you all supported. And you had more tax cuts in a house bill. Technically, I guess you could pretend that those were an alternative, but considering it was more of the same, it wasn’t really an alternative, since all we did over the past eight years was cut taxes. In fact, a good way to judge whether you had a real alternative is the fact that none of you could go on one of the hundreds of television shows that just love to have Republicans on and explain why after a decade of tax cuts got us into this mess, more tax cuts was the solution. Pretending this slate of more tax cuts was an alternative is akin to the Rolling Stones re-releasing Sympathy For the Devil, but this time with a banjo instead of guitars, and calling it a fresh new song. Most of us would recognize the tune, but we would still think they were crazy. And in fairness to the Rolling Stones, they are still a touch more popular than you and your ideas and might be able to pull it off. Say it again- you had no alternative. You had tax cuts, and you had sneering derision for anything the Democrats proposed. Even the libertarians at Reason had an alternative (albeit #2 on a list of four was, you guessed it… tax cuts and #3 was tinkering around the margins of Roth funds). You had nothing.

But I am happy with the baby steps you are making. Considering in the general election, your candidate had no clue what the difference was between tactics and strategy as it applied to Iraq, this is real progress. Some day soon you all may actually have an idea that requires more than the room on a bumper sticker to describe in full.

56 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    Some day soon you all may actually have an idea that requires more than the room on a bumper sticker to describe in full.

    May that day be on the far side of never.

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    Even the libertarians at Reason had an alternative (albeit #2 on a list of four was, you guessed it… tax cuts and #3 was tinkering around the margins of Roth funds).

    Fucking with ROTH?

    That’s not just a third rail in politics, that’s being strapped to the tracks in front of the incoming freight train.

  3. 3
    Martin says:

    What’s the over/under that in spite of all that, the new strategy is ‘Cut, baby, cut’ t-shirts?

  4. 4
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    OMG POTUS is going to be HERE on Friday, he is going to be visiting Camp Lejeune. Note to self, tomorrow call in every damn favor I ever had to get an invite to this gig! I am so stoked!

  5. 5

    I just got off the phone with a very plugged-in Republican strategist who told me that Republican reaction to President Obama’s speech, which the party will roll out in the next few days, will mark the beginning of a new GOP approach to opposing the president’s initiatives.

    Thank God he doesn’t give more details viz how the statergerist is plugged in.

    (No, Bobby Jindal’s ineffective response was not part of that new approach—everyone seems a little embarrassed about that.)

    Yeah, they had no idea what he was going to say.

    Look, I hate to be a cynic but "No one had any idea the guy we picked to give the rebuttal would suck so hard," tells me they’ve learned zilch and their newer and improveder plan will be good for many laughs for many days.

  6. 6
    TR says:

    I’ll believe they want to value ideas once the three-clown leadership of Cantor and Boehner and McConnell is no longer in charge.

  7. 7
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Some day, the ideas of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and the corpse of Ronald Reagan may stop being the foundation of the Republican party. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    @jake 4 that 1: this cannot be emphasized enough. They chose what they thought was a Sure Thing(R) and ended up with a disaster. If Jindal’s that bad, I can only imagine who’s riding the pine for that team.

  9. 9
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    First, did they clear this shit with Rush?

    Secondly, not a word about perhaps stop breaking the fucking world. Oh well, maybe that will be a fortuitous upside to the new strategy of.. uh, winning the issue.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    @Punchy: I honestly don’t think Jindal is as bad as he looked last night. He is still unpalatable to most of the country, but last night he was worse than he really is.

    Regardless, that guy Huntsman from Utah sounds reasonably sane. I am sure there are more folks like him out there. And compared to Palin and Cantor, Mitt Romney positively exudes leadership and smarts.

  11. 11
    Comrade Darkness says:

    If we dominate the six hour news cycle we’ll be ready to govern

    "We are so inept and off-track we’re terrifying."

  12. 12
    Comrade Luke says:

    “With the political moment, it’s how can you find the one thing that gives you the momentary upper hand in terms of the coverage for the next six hours—as opposed to engaging the electorate in creating a structural change in their opinion on which party is better able to handle an issue.”

    So: no vision, no plan, no debate, no substantive ideas.

    Just dodge and parry for 6hrs at a time in the hope that you can trick enough of the electorate into your way of thinking.

    That’s just pathetic.

  13. 13
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    You’re supposed to concentrate on the notion that their ideas now bear no resemblance whatsoever to the ideas of those people who broke the world because now those ideas are being expressed by Bobby Jindal, or Sarah Palin or the next rising star du jour.

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    @John Cole:

    Regardless, that guy Huntsman from Utah sounds reasonably sane. I am sure there are more folks like him out there. And compared to Palin and Cantor, Mitt Romney positively exudes leadership and smarts.

    With the GOP base the way it is right now, can a "reasonably sane" Republican survive the primaries? The argument in 2012 is going to go something along the lines of "Well, we tried a moderate in 2008, and look what that got us. Conservative purity!". So the next few years are going to consist of the various contenders trying to out-wingnut each other. Time to invest in popcorn companies.

    On a completely different note, a sign that the times have changed is that Harold Ford is handing Tom DeLay his ass on Hairball. That’s Harold "DLC" Ford.

    -dms

  15. 15
    JL says:

    What exactly can the Repubs roll out? There are some who would like to see a fair tax. The tax is fair to all those folks who earn enough to save a vast amount of money.
    Maybe they will introduce HMO II. That would provide the opportunity for all to purchase health care that would allow you to go to charity hospitals and clinics at CVS pharmacies.
    Possibly they will suggest the abolishment of the pay roll tax. That way they can really say Social Security is insolvent.

  16. 16
    Snail Darter says:

    I used to hunt Grouse with a sawed off (18.5 in barrel) single shot 20 gauge shotgun. Friends use to laugh and I would say I was evening the odds because I was smarter than the bird . I blazed away with no luck and tried all different sorts of strategies to flush the elusive quarry to my advantage. Nothing worked save for making a lot of noise.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    I’ve always wondered what the country would be like if we all ran our lives the way the Republicans want to run the government. We would take on a huge expenditure…in our case buy an $80,000 Mercedes….in the GOP’s case, a huge war in Iraq, then we’d cut our household income by retiring. The GOP would just cut taxes. UMMM….great idea, in both cases.

  19. 19
    Ned R. says:

    I’m trying to imagine the next GOP Congressional caucus meeting:

    LEADERSHIP: "Okay guys, we have to act smart now."

    THE REST: "But we *can’t!*"

    End of meeting.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    @John Cole: I don’t think I’ll be voting for Huntsman any time soon. He’s still more conservative (read: pro-corp, anti-tax) than I’ve got a taste for. That said, its refreshing to see a saner voice in the argument that I can disagree with.

  21. 21
    mcc says:

    I’m sorry, I’m too distracted by this analogy to respond constructively:

    "Pretending this slate of more tax cuts was an alternative is akin to the Rolling Stones re-releasing Sympathy For the Devil, but this time with a banjo instead of guitars"

    …Sympathy for the devil was performed on a piano

    (To be fair, there is a guitar solo toward the end.)

    Also sympathy for the devil done with banjos sounds kind of awesome. Somebody should get on that.

  22. 22
    JL says:

    John Boehner says he wants to work with President Obama but Nancy Pelosi won’t let it happen

    .
    I found this sentence on the front page of Politico.
    The repubs would like to talk about their ideas but they are afraid of Nancy.

  23. 23
    Francis says:

    You’ll note that the Republican strategist sounded exactly like Democratic strategists around 2002-2003. "We’re going to have a lot of new good ideas!"

    Such as?

    [silence]

    A party is back on track when it stops telling you it’s going to have new ideas, and starts giving you the ideas.

    Which is why Obama is president and HRC is not.

  24. 24
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Zifnab:
    You won’t get a chance to vote for Huntsman because it’s going to be Palin/Jindal or Jindal/Palin in 2012. Palin will get all of the women’s votes, like she did last time, and Jindal will scoop up all of the minority votes. It can’t miss.

  25. 25
    Montysano says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    So: no vision, no plan, no debate, no substantive ideas.

    Actually, they have all of the above……. I guess. Conservative values do exist. These guys just didn’t execute any of them. They were totally incompetent in governance, a word which Obama, to his great credit, used several times last night. So it’s all well and good to have an alternative, but if you’re just a fuckup and everybody knows it, it doesn’t really matter.

    @TR:

    the three-clown leadership of Cantor and Boehner and McConnell is no longer in charge.

    That’s a winner. Mitch looked unwell last night, all shifty and twitchy.

  26. 26
    MikeL says:

    "With the political moment, it’s how can you find the one thing that gives you the momentary upper hand in terms of the coverage for the next six hours—as opposed to engaging the electorate in creating a structural change in their opinion"

    There is a word for this. It’s called a "gimmick". Something devoid of real content, but looks good. Gets the crowd chanting "USA!" for a few minutes. Basically, they want another Palin, but without the baggage. They thought Jindal was it, but he’s not. Joe the plumber is on minute number 35 now, he can’t do it. Fred Thompson will come up again, but he’s trying too hard to be Reagan, when only Reagan can be Reagan.

    I get the impression that relying on gimmickry is what turned John against the Republicans in the first place.

    I don’t think I’ve said this before, but I follow Balloon Juice because John strikes me as a kind of internet Cronkite – if you’ve lost him, you’ve lost middle America. That’s why I said before that they should be trying to appeal to John again, because he’s a good leading indicator of what middle America thinks. What we’re seeing out the Republicans these days is actually counter-productive everywhere but the base.

  27. 27
    AlanM says:

    LEADERSHIP: "Okay guys, we have to act smart now."THE REST: "But we can’t!"

    Loyal oppositin’ is hard work.

  28. 28
    Jon H says:

    Having gone through Steele, Jindal, and Palin, and being out of people-of-color-or-attractive-young-women I suspect I know what the GOP is going to do next.

    Boehner is already into the fake tan thing. I think he’s going to go full Tropic Thunder and become the new African American House minority leader.

  29. 29

    […] you just admitted you have no ideas and have frittered away a good bit of time focusing on the news cycle rather than policy, why not […]

  30. 30
    DFH no.6 says:

    My college-age son came up with what I think is the perfect Simpsons analogy to the Republicans’ one-trick pony panacea of "tax cuts now, tax cuts tomorrow, tax cuts forever":

    In an episode where the Springfield teachers go on strike, locals are drafted as substitute teachers. One of the substitutes is an old dude (James Beardley, I think) who lives at the old folks home with Grandpa Abe Simpson. Somehow he manages to get his beard stuck in the manual pencil sharpener, so Abe tries to free him by turning the crank. This only serves to get the beard further stuck. The solution? Why, another turn of the crank, of course, while Abe looks quizzical, wondering why it’s not working.

    That’s the Republicans grand "plan" in a nutshell. Just keep turning that tax-cut crank. It’s really all they’ve got.

    And I firmly believe that there is very little in modern life that is not brilliantly demonstrated and explicated in some Simpsons episode somewhere, even if inadvertantly.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    @mcc: I was actually cranking the song while I wrote this.

  32. 32
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jon H:

    Boehner is already into the fake tan thing. I think he’s going to go full Tropic Thunder and become the new African American House minority leader.

    lmfao

  33. 33
    AhabTRuler says:

    @DFH no.6: That’d be Jasper, and for missing his name, well, that’s a paddlin’.

    "Paddling the school canoe…ooh, you better believe that’s a paddling."
    Cracks me up every time.

  34. 34
    ksmiami says:

    MikeL

    That is why I love BJ… I mean Kos is okay, but they overreact; and Sully keeps on thinking that the Republicans can easily get their mojo back if they ever had it… BJ is the place you go when you realize that the pundits and the powers that be are insane – and that as they keep saying that this shit sandwich facing America in 2009 is akin to gold, normal people look at it and say, no it really is a shit sandwich – I am going to read BJ to be with other normal people. I come here because it preserves my sanity and I never want to have to wade through the dreck on Tee Vee ever again

  35. 35
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I’ll believe they want to value ideas once the three-clown leadership stooges of the apocalypse, Cantor and Boehner and McConnell, is are no longer in charge.

    Fix’t.

  36. 36
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Montysano:

    Conservative values do exist.

    Where?

    That’s not being a dick btw. I honestly don’t know who represents conservative values in politics anymore. Can you name a few so I know who you’re talking about & can follow them?

  37. 37
    DFH no.6 says:

    AhabTRuler: That’s what I get for not using The Google before I comment.

    But my larger point still stands.

    There are many apt analogies for the craven insanity of modern movement conservatism/Republicanism, but I particularly love the visual of JASPER Beardley’s beard getting further and further stuck in the pencil sharpener as a perfect representation of the one-size-fits all "solution" of tax cuts.

    Others will have their own favorite analogies, metaphors, and the like. The more the merrier.

  38. 38
    Mike in NC says:

    Some day, the ideas of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and the corpse of Ronald Reagan may stop being the foundation of the Republican party. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Permanent Majority, baby!

    Mitch looked unwell normal last night, all shifty and twitchy.

    Fixed

  39. 39
    TR says:

    There are many apt analogies for the craven insanity of modern movement conservatism/Republicanism, but I particularly love the visual of JASPER Beardley’s beard getting further and further stuck in the pencil sharpener as a perfect representation of the one-size-fits all "solution" of tax cuts.

    Reminded me of Homer Simpson in quicksand.

    Lisa: Dad! You’re sinking.
    Homer: Huh?
    Marge: Get a rope, Bart!
    Homer: Naw, that’s OK. I’m pretty sure I can struggle my way out. First I’ll just reach in and pull my legs out. And now, I’ll pull my arms out with my face!

  40. 40
    AhabTRuler says:

    @DFH no.6: Its all good, I have just spent too much time watching the Simpsons.

  41. 41
    AhabTRuler says:

    @TR: Wasn’t it tar?

    [/pedant]

  42. 42
    Mike in NC says:

    Fred Thompson will come up again, but he’s trying too hard to be Reagan, when only Reagan can be Reagan.

    Fred buried six feet under? Change I can believe in!

  43. 43
    pattonbt says:

    The current R’s are constituted for really good times. Times when people can afford to ignore detail and let political theater dominate.

    Well, times suck hard and people can see who got them there and why. Delay and Gingrinch may be gone, but their dummer spawn are in their place. They simply do not have the makeup of a serious party right now.

    They have no ideas. They have nothing. Nothing.They have joyfully let themselves become a party of juvenile, idealess, soulless and clueless, contrarian frat boys. This is perfectly shown with the tire gauge stunt. That should be the new symbol for their party, a tire gauge.

  44. 44
    Comrade Luke says:

    They have no ideas. They have nothing. Nothing.

    I think the issue is more that they have the same old tripe they’ve had for the last 30yrs.

    When times are good they can take advantage of the zeitgeist and gripe about people not getting their fair share of the riches. It’s b.s. and mainly helps only the richer to get richer, but it resonates with the people that aren’t benefiting as much in boom times.

    When times suck those dogs don’t hunt.

    So they have to wait until the next boom, at which time the same old shtick will work again.

  45. 45
    pattonbt says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    "So they have to wait until the next boom, at which time the same old shtick will work again"

    Thats what I really hate. I know we (humans) never really learn our lessons. I know full well that when good times do come back, this sort of junk will come right back with it.

  46. 46
    Shygetz says:

    The modern Republican Party has an odd case of Tourrette’s Syndrome. Every now and then at entirely inappropriate times, they abruptly shout out "Tax cuts!" It’s not their fault; they just can’t control it.

  47. 47
    TR says:

    Dammit, you’re right — it was tar.

  48. 48

    And now, Mr. John Cole will demonstrate how to damn with faint praise:

    And compared to Palin and Cantor, Mitt Romney positively exudes leadership and smarts.

    There’s something with more leadership and smarts buzzing around the light in the room right now. I’m sitting on something with more leadership and smarts. Two things actually, and neither would do well in elected office.

  49. 49
    AlanDownunder says:

    Some day soon you all may actually have an idea that requires more than the room on a bumper sticker to describe in full.

    What, and lose our base? Become elitists? Commit nuance? No way, RINO.

  50. 50
    Calouste says:

    @JL:

    I found this sentence on the front page of Politico.
    The repubs would like to talk about their ideas but they are afraid of Nancy.

    They should let Larry Craig deal with this. Apparently he is quite adapt at getting what he wants from nancies.

  51. 51
    Steve in Sacto says:

    Some day soon you all may actually have an idea that requires more than the room on a bumper sticker to describe in full.

    They’ll still be constrained to the length of a Twitter post…

  52. 52
    priscianus jr says:

    You know, the Republican Party under Reagan was the party of ideas! Most of them were stupid ideas, wrong ideas, etc., but they were ideas. The GOP today can’t even come up with new stupid ideas.

  53. 53
    JGabriel says:

    priscianus jr:

    The GOP today can’t even come up with new stupid ideas.

    Now, now, let’s not exaggerate. As noted elsewhere, Jindal’s "screw the volcanoes" platform appears to be both stupid and brand new.

    .

  54. 54
    BC says:

    Actually, it has been a long time since the Republican party had any ideas. Bush came close enough in 2000 with his "compassionate conservative" schtick because he knew that the core principles of the GOP are anathema to most Americans. In 2002, they pushed the Patriot Act through just before the Nov elections. In 2004, they played the fear card and used the echo chamber to sissify John Kerry. In 2006, the jig was up – they couldn’t frighten the American people anymore and the Katrina response, Terry Schiavo nonsense, Iraq chaos, etc., had given most Americans a distaste for the GOP. The true core principles of GOP are found in the Colorado state senator, Schulteis from Colorado Springs, who voted against a measure to screen pregnant women for AIDS so the baby could be treated to prevent AIDS and said he did this because he wanted promiscuous women to have babies with AIDS as a warning to other people about the consequences of promiscuity. These are the true core principles of our modern GOP.

  55. 55

    […] in doubt, cut taxes. And send a new face out there to tell the people. Cut taxes.  Repeat. Cut taxes.  In these uncertain times, one thing […]

  56. 56

    Why am I suddenly remind of the McCain campaigns multiple iterations of, "We will have a plan to address this in a couple of days", followed by a roll out of some piece of crap that was soundly ridiculed, even by conservatives.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] in doubt, cut taxes. And send a new face out there to tell the people. Cut taxes.  Repeat. Cut taxes.  In these uncertain times, one thing […]

  2. […] you just admitted you have no ideas and have frittered away a good bit of time focusing on the news cycle rather than policy, why not […]

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