Friday, January 30, 2009


The L.A. Times really doesn't understand how Republicans see the current struggle:

Republicans lack a party line on economy

...As Republicans fight President Obama's gargantuan economic plan, they have plenty of ideas. What they don't have is a party-wide consensus: They can't agree among themselves on the best alternative, or on whether government action is even needed to pull the economy from its nose dive.

... "There is not a coherent Republican message at this moment," conceded lobbyist Vin Weber, a former GOP House member.

... how does the GOP oppose Obama without seeming heedlessly partisan, or ignoring the voters' desire for quick action to ease the economic hurt?

It doesn't. The GOP does what it always does: It embraces heedless partisanship, which rallies the base, and it concentrates on painting Democrats as evil, which, if everything goes according to plan, rallies the right-center sooner or later. That's all Republicans have got, but often enough in the past thirty years it's been all they needed to get to 50% + one vote.

... [Republican strategist Rich] Galen and others suggested Republicans could not merely wait for Obama to fail of his own accord or, worse, offer nothing beyond reflexive criticism of the president and his proposals.

"When your message is you're better than the alternative, you have to have ideas," said Brian Darling, director of Senate relations for the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank that has long been an incubator of conservative policy.

Yes, but Republicans' message isn't that they're better than the alternative -- not exactly. Republicans' message is that the alternative is unspeakably evil and unless we drive them from power we're all gonna go broke and/or die horribly at the hands of evil supervillains!!!!

Republicans can't just kvetch and wait for failure? Sure they can. Look -- even the perfect stimulus plan would take a while to work, and we know that what we're actually going to get will be far from perfect. However soon the recovery arrives, Republicans are counting on a period of national disillusionment that will be long enough for them to say convincingly to that magic 50% + 1 of the electorate, "See? Democrats are the Antichrist, just like we always told you."


Oh, and here's some obnoxiousness from the LAT story:

Small-government stalwarts such as [Governors] Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Mark Sanford of South Carolina -- who face their own budget headaches -- have nevertheless expressed opposition, saying Obama's plan would only throw good money after the funds wasted in the massive financial bailout bill. "I'm not sure a stimulus package is going to do much good after all the money the federal government has popped into the economy," Barbour told the Wall Street Journal.

Funny -- Barbour wasn't complaining a couple of years ago about federal money popped into his state's economy:

... Barbour's ability to steer a lopsided share of Katrina money to Mississippi has touched off a firestorm of outrage in Louisiana, which suffered considerably more destruction from the storm.

... More than 75 percent of the housing damage from the storm was in Louisiana, but Mississippi has received 70 percent of the funds through FEMA's Alternative Housing Pilot Program. Of the $388 million available, FEMA gave a Mississippi program offering upgraded trailers more than $275 million. Meanwhile, the agency awarded Louisiana's "Katrina Cottage" program, which features more permanent modular homes for storm victims, a mere $75 million.

It's not just housing. Mississippi is also slated to get 38 percent of federal hospital recovery funds, even though it lost just 79 beds compared to 2,600 lost in southern Louisiana, which will get 45 percent of the funds. Mississippi and Louisiana both received $95 million to offset losses in higher education, even though Louisiana was home to 75 percent of displaced students. The states also received $100 million each for K-12 students affected by the storms, despite the fact that 69 percent resided in Louisiana....

Your newfound interest in fiscal rectitude is duly noted, Governor.

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