MANAGING THE NARRATIVE: WHAT REPUBLICANS ARE CONCENTRATING ON WHILE ROME BURNS
I think Atrios and Joe Sudbay are misreading this Washington Post article somewhat: it does include a certain amount of skepticism regarding Republicans' claims of a resurgence:
Three months after their Election Day drubbing, Republican leaders see glimmers of rebirth in the party's liberation from an unpopular president, its selection of its first African American chairman and, most of all, its stand against a stimulus package that they are increasingly confident will provide little economic jolt but will pay off politically for those who oppose it.
...The flash of triumphalism ... is not without risk. Voters hungering for a response to hard times may see the GOP's battle against the stimulus package as unsympathetic to their plight,...
"They're talking too much about opposing," Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer said of the House Republicans. "They're talking too much about voting 'no' and not about how they're going to solve these issues. I'm proud the party took a stand on principles, but I also want to hear about how the Republican Party leaders intend to solve problems." ...
But that doesn't really matter to Republicans. What matters is that, on the verge of defeat, they've managed to use the WaPo to inject a "We meant to do this" message into the discussion -- which is meant to be repeated endlessly until pundits, and thus the general public, find themselves saying, Could it have been the right thing to do this? Could Republicans be right on politics and principle? Once that's asked, the alleged "center" moves a little bit more to the right.
Message management: no matter what's crisis faces America or the world, that's the GOP's top priority.
The right has several other message-management projects going. Here's The Washington Times arguing that President Obama is irresponsibly "talking down the economy" -- as if we aren't really in deep trouble. Oh, but that's because we aren't, according to Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute, who's given many column inches by the New York Post to argue that what we're in is "a recession, not a 'catastrophe.'"
And if you get bored with economic message control from the GOP, here's a NewsMax story (helpfully cited by Jennifer Rubin and by a Heritage Foundation blogger) that sees a sinister conspiracy in the works to assert White House political control over the 2010 census. This message-management project probably won't pay off for a while, if ever, but the GOP style is to fine every possible line of attack, because you never know which one will really bear fruit.
We need people to, you know, solve problems -- but that's not what Republicans and right-wingers do. This is what they do.