Monday, May 04, 2009

The GOP Struggles with Coming to Terms with Obama

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan offers Barack Obama this back-handed compliment of his 100 day press conference last week:
His presentation was low-key, authoritative, and had the look and feel of moderation. When you can give this impression while some of your decisions—for instance, on the legitimate cost and reach of government—are not, actually, moderate, you are demonstrating a singular political talent.
He is subtle and likes to kill softly. As such, he is something new on the political scene, which means he will require something new from his opponents, including, first, patience.
I am wondering once again if Republicans in Washington fully understand what they are up against.
Republican efforts to regain their footing in the wake of the defection of Arlen Specter have looked inept at best, and blindly angry at worst. Put Jim DeMint in the blind anger category:
The other day Sen. Jim DeMint said he'd rather have 30 good and reliable conservative senators than 60 unreliable Republicans. Really? Good luck stopping an agenda you call socialist with 30 hardy votes. "Shrink to win": I've never heard of that as a political slogan.
As CNN's Political Ticker reports, you can put Mitt Romney in the inept category:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney compared the GOP to Americans fighting the British during the Revolutionary War. "We are the party of the revolutionaries, they [Democrats] are the party of the monarchists," he told the overwhelmingly Republican crowd, saying the Republicans needed to "once again lead the American Revolution."
Do these guys know how to read polls? Most Americans aren't looking for a revolution; we want our new president to succeed. (Rush Limbaugh had the GOP tying itself in knots over that one earlier this year.) Barack Obama's favorability ratings still lead the pack by a wide margin. The right track-wrong track numbers have rebounded sharply since January, even though most voters don't expect the economy to rebound for two years. Barack Obama is the organizing principle of politics today; he drives conservatives crazy the way Ronald Reagan drove liberals crazy. The sooner Republicans get that, the sooner they can start making themselves relevant again.


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