Wednesday, January 28, 2009


If I didn't know better, I would say that this (from The New York Observer's Steve Kornacki) was an excellent question:

Why Won't the Republicans Clean House?

As we have been reminded 11 times in the past few weeks, when a football team completes a disastrous regular season or two, the ownership's reaction is almost always the same: clean house and start fresh.

National Republican leaders should be thankful their party isn't an NFL franchise. Since 2006, they've presided over almost nothing but failure, but the cries for the scalps have been remarkably muted.

Consider the case of Robert "Mike" Duncan, who was installed as chairman of the Republican National Committee two Januarys ago, just after his party suffered a thorough drubbing in the 2006 midterm elections.

In the two years since, ... his party lost the White House, eight Senate seats, 21 House seats and a governorship in the 2008 election. If there's an equivalent to a 2-14 season in politics, this is surely it.

For some reason, Duncan decided to run for a second term as R.N.C. chairman -- and even more astonishingly, he may just get it.

The same resistance to change is evident in Congress.

... [John Boehner] faced only nominal opposition for his [House] leadership slot after both the '06 and '08 elections.

In the Senate, [Mitch] McConnell took charge two years ago, and has since seen his party's ranks thinned by eight members....

And this, from The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, would also seem reasonable:

The Political Case For The Stimulus, If You're A Vulernable Republican

... President Obama's approval rating is about 70%;

Congressional approval is still around 20%;

The public approves of the stimulus plan by a very large margin....

Obama is the most talented political figure of our generation -- Boehner and McConnell are, uh, less talented....

Republicans' ... economic prescription is more Bush economics.

... The public is clamoring for Washington to do something, anything. How'd you like to be a Republican member from Michigan or Indiana or Ohio?

The problem is, if I were a swing-state Republican -- at least in the House -- I'd probably like intransigence just fine.

If you're a GOP House member and you survived the last two election cycles with all that Bush failure hung around your neck, I'd say you're golden. And why not? Obviously, there's still a throwback remnant in this country, fed daily on Fox News and talk radio, that believes (a) that George W. Bush was a great defender of America and Christianity or (b) that George W. Bush failed only because he wasn't conservative enough. That third isn't evenly distributed; in some districts (and some states), it's an effective majority.

Those are the districts and states where the Republican officeholders are. At this point, those officeholders don't even seem to care that they're in the minority.

Beyond that, you need to recognize that the origin myth of the modern GOP goes like this: The party died in 1974; a mere six years later, Ronald Reagan emerged bodily from the funeral pyre.

Substitute Sarah Palin for Ronnie (and Obama, Republicans fervently hope, for Jimmy Carter -- yes, obviously they're hoping for failure) and you have the belief system that keeps party members from cooperating with Obama, keeps a dwindling voter core loyal, and keeps the party leadership from cleaning house.

If there are ashes, Republicans believe, surely a phoenix is inevitable.

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