Archive for December 2nd, 2008

But First, The Republican Party Really Has To Want To Change…

Charlie Cook has some very interesting advice to the Republican Party from a couple of Republican consultants who really really want to remain anonymous.  Cook’s belief is that they have a good handle on what’s wrong with the GOP and how to fix it, but that the party establishment doesn’t want to listen.

Anonymous Consultant #1 believes that the Republicans want to continue telling themselves that the last election was just some kind of flukey perfect storm of Dubya’s unpopularity and the economy cratering, and they don’t have to change a thing, other than to move farther to the right.  I think he’s completely right about this, and equally right that it’s a really bad stupid idea.

AC#1’s thesis is that the Republicans lost because they’ve trashed their brand through corruption and incompetence, and a complete lack of any meaningful policy ideas beyond tax cuts and tax credits.  I personally think this is a bit simplistic and unfair – sometimes they propose deregulation instead.

One comment where I thought he was going to have a revelation and failed:

Here is another point from the post-election data: People really don’t want to pay higher taxes. So, on the one hand, they want to have government address their problems and on the other hand they don’t want to pay for it.

Yes, it’s true that the small-government mantra has lost its appeal – mainly because Katrina and the multiple tainted food episodes viscerally reminded people of the value of competent government – but the point about people not wanting to pay higher taxes is one of those where Republicans have willfully missed the boat.  It’s true that people don’t want to pay higher taxes, but “not wanting to pay higher taxes” is not the same as “wanting billionaires and multimillionaires to get ginormous tax cuts.”

The Republican promise to lower taxes loses a lot of its appeal when you realize that they’re not talking about yours.  Which is what makes Obama’s tax plan so brilliant, at least from a purely political perspective.  It completely explodes the Republican promise that “The Democrats will raise your taxes, but we’ll cut them.”  If the Republicans had used that tax plan, we might never have gotten rid of them.

Anonymous Consultant #2 also makes a couple of intriguing and insightful comments:

Republicans ought to be the ones really starting to get creative on the energy issue. We ought to be putting our best thinking into coming up with strategies and new ideas on this issue. It isn’t going away, and we have to get out in front on it.

I know Republicans could care less about the environment or global warming, but our dependency on Middle Eastern oil puts us in a tremendously difficult economic and foreign policy position.  If the GOP were not totally in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, is there any ideological reason for them to not be all over alternative energy?  You’ve got job creation, entrepreneurship, American know-how, and a chance for the US to become energy-independent, and perhaps even a net exporter of profitable energy technologies.

I know it’ll never happen, but it really is a huge missed opportunity.

And finally, again from AC#2:

[S]top being [misguided] on immigration. We are alienating huge parts of the electorate, we are turning our primaries into single issue ‘hate’ contests and ignoring the single fastest growing bloc of voters in the country.

This is very true, but immigration is not the only area in which Republicans campaign on hate.  They also rely on racism, sexism, and homophobia, which turn off a large chunk of the younger generation, which also happens to be rather large and is not dying.  Assuming they stay tolerant as they get older, and that the generation after them is at least equally tolerant, that kind of Rove/Nixon/McCarthy campaigning is going to hurt Republicans more than it helps them.  I think this election may have actually been the tipping point.

My advice for the Republicans is simple, and probably impossible: Get with the times, stop trying to hate your way to victory, and stop always placing wealthy, corporate, and fundamentalist interests over those of ordinary people and the health of the planet.  If you can do all that, you might just be able to make a comeback.  Of course, you probably won’t be Republicans anymore, but that’s just nitpicking, innit?

(h/t dakine)

December 2nd, 2008 at 07:35pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

B&W Giant Philly Gamepiece Photoblogging

Dunno if there’s a story behind it, but Philly has this plaza full of giant gamepieces…

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December 2nd, 2008 at 11:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

This Surprises… No-One.

How is this different from any of BushCo’s other schemes?

Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of the oversight panel, said in an interview Monday that the government instead seemed to be lurching from one tactic to the next without clarifying how each step fits into an overall plan.

“You can’t just say, ‘Credit isn’t moving through the system,’ ” she said in her first public comments since being named to the panel. “You have to ask why.”

If the answer is that banks do not have money to lend, it would make sense to push capital into their hands, as the Treasury has been doing over the last two months, she continued. But if the answer is that their potential borrowers are getting less creditworthy with each passing day, “pouring money into banks isn’t going to fix that problem,” she said.


Meetings with Treasury officials so far have made her question whether they understand that “household financial health is profoundly tied to the economic health of the nation,” she said. “You cannot repair this economy if you can’t repair those families, and I’m not sure the people directing the bailout see that as their job.”

In her view, the government should be trying to create more reliable customers for those banks by shoring up the fragile finances of the millions of American families that could not save, borrow or spend even if their banks were flush with capital.

“Any effective policy has to start with the households,” she said. “Years of flat wages, low savings and high debt have left America’s households extremely vulnerable.”

Gee, the Bushies have no coherent plan, so they flail around aimlessly, throwing money at their cronies at the expense of everyone else?  When have we ever seen that before?

(h/t Stoller)

1 comment December 2nd, 2008 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Economy

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