GOP's Short And Long Game
by Josh Orton, Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 01:48:27 PM EST
Atrios makes both points about this weekend's GOP leadership sketch on SNL: it wasn't all that funny, but it did nail the the big points of the Republican message strategy in a way that most pundits don't.
Smear opposition short-term, proclaim failure long-term.
That long-term strategy tells us why Republicans have no motivation to support Democratic policies today: they want to proclaim them a failure tomorrow.
Few in the traditional political media get it. When liberals describe Washington as a town fixed in favor of Republicans, we're not talking about all the hard-core conservative journalists filing stories for major newspapers. We're talking about the fact-and-policy-agnostic stance most journalists take: give both sides of a debate equal credibility, no matter what they say. And knowing that, Republicans will say whatever they want and enjoy legitimacy regardless of merit.
So Democrats argue that tax cuts are a bad choice to create jobs while Republicans say they're great. But facts always face the uphill battle in a world where journalists think there's actually a difference between spending and stimulus.
Three total Republicans voted for Obama's stimulus, because just six months from now (if that long), they'll declare the legislation a failure, months before any evaluation is reasonable. Their declaration will be treated as legitimate.
Meanwhile, the traditional media dutifully reports Obama's supposed failure at bipartisanship.
Too bad most political reporters aren't funny. We might fix some problems if they traded jobs with comedy writers.