Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The GOP, full of bad ideas

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I love this headline from the generally Republican-friendly Politico:

Uh-huh. Ideas.

It's the brainchild of the whippish Eric Cantor, one of the leaders of the right-wing mob in the House.

Cantor, who has personal aspirations to go along with his partisan agenda, is setting up a so-called "Solutions Center" on the Internet to "address simple questions Americans are asking themselves in the face of economic calamity... The goal is to answer the questions with Republican proposals that contrast starkly with legislation offered by President Barack Obama and his congressional allies."

In other words, the goal is to score political points by getting the GOP's "message" out -- to show that it, too, and not just Obama and the Democrats, has a plan to deal with the economic crisis, that it, too, is relevant and ought to be taken seriously, that it has a viable alternative.

Fine. Whatever.

The problem, though, isn't that Republicans don't have any ideas but rather that the ideas they do have are bad and have been soundly rejected by the American people. Take some of the questions that the "Solutions Center" will answer:

-- How will I keep my job?

-- How will I keep my house?

-- How will I grow my savings?

We already know the answers, don't we? How, how, how? By electing Republicans, of course. Isn't that what the "message" will be, along with predictably anti-Obama and anti-Democratic rhetoric?

In policy terms, we know the answers, too. How, how, how? By the Republicans getting back into power and slashing taxes, gutting the regulatory state, and imposing their neo-liberal extremism on America.

These are the core Republican ideas, along with various elements of moral theocracy. There won't be anything new on the website, just more of the same old tired policies thrown up with a smile.

The Republicans are desperate. I get that. And they'll try anything, I suppose. But, again, the problem isn't getting the message out, it's the message itself. What Republicans need to do is change the message, that is, change their core values, change what they're all about. They're not about to do that, though, not with the extremists they have running the show both in and out of office, and, without such change, some voter-friendly engagement on the 'Net won't do much to overcome their stink of failure.

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