Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Washington’s conventional wisdom for explaining the intensity of Republican obstructionism toward President Barack Obama breaks down one of two ways: either it’s a philosophical disagreement over the role of government or a desperate need to stay in line with a radicalized right-wing base.As Parry notes, they undermined Johnson's Vietnam peace talks in 1968—and thereby helped to put Nixon in office.
But there is another way to view the GOP political strategy, as neither principled nor reactive to the rantings of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Partiers. It is that the Republicans are following a playbook that has evolved over more than four decades, to regain power by sabotaging Democratic presidents.
They undermined Carter's attempts to get the hostages out of Iran in 1980—and thereby helped put Reagan in office.
They undermined Clinton with a talk-radio delegitimation campaign, relentless scandal-mongering (not that Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky helped), a sudden wave of black-helicopter-fearing militia madness, etc. Funny how that militia madness pretty much vanished for eight years under Bush the Younger, huh?
And now here we are with another Democrat in the White House and an even freakier delegitimation campaign, revamped militia madness, a "tea party movement" that seems to have come out of nowhere, etc. (I mean, really: the economic issues that supposedly motivate many of the tea partiers—corporate bailouts, deficit spending, etc.—trace back to well before Obama took office; where were these hordes of concerned Americans when the Bush tax-cuts-for-the-wealthiest first started destroying the Clinton surplus?)
There is nothing new under this sun. More.