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Posted at 3:25 PM ET, 12/23/2010

Congressional GOP accomplished a great deal, too

By Greg Sargent

Okay, since I just spent some time hailing the achievements of Congressional Democrats, it's only fair to devote a post to what Congressional Republicans have accomplished.

A number of you will balk at that last sentence. Surely Congressional Republicans didn't accomplish anything, you'll say; all they did was obstruct and delay and do their best to destroy the Obama presidency. In fact, Congressional Republicans have a major accomplishment under their belts: They played a key role in revitalizing the conservative movement far more quickly than anyone thought possible.

Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer explains:

Since Democrats took over Congress in 2006, Republicans have remained generally united in Congress even as their programs remained unpopular and the enthusiasm of voters moved toward the Democrats. Sen. Mitch McConnell has been one of the silent architects of the conservative resurgence through his ability to keep Republicans in line. At the height of Obama's popularity shortly after his election, almost all of the Republicans stood firm in voting against Obama's economic stimulus.

While most experts thought that 2008 would usher in a new era of progressive politics, the reality has been that conservatism has seemed to enjoy the greatest boost. With all the comparisons to Presidents Roosevelt and Johnson, Obama has struggled through a similar experience as Jimmy Carter, who witnessed the rise of a conservative movement during his time in Washington.

Zelizer concludes that "most on the right and left agree that conservatives are in much better shape than anyone would have imagined two years ago," and gives much of the credit to the GOP's "mastery of the legislative process."

If you think back to what the atmosphere was like only two short years ago, you'll remember how unlikely this seemed at the time. The script many Dems were reading from had it that Obama's election was likely to be transformative. Talk about the GOP being reduced to a regional rump party was widespread among even nonpartisan commentators. From the perspective of Republicans, the landscape must have looked very dark indeed.

Yet Republicans fought their way back far more quickly than anyone expected -- and while the Tea Party deserves a lot of credit for rebranding and energizing the GOP, the party's Congressional strategy also played a huge role in engineering its comeback. Recall that for a time some Republicans flirted with the idea that the only way out of the wilderness was to work with Obama. If Republicans had opted for this course, things might look very different today.

They didn't. Instead, the hated stimulus led Republicans to settle on a strategy that has worked brilliantly. Republicans calculated -- counterintuitively, at the time -- that if they cast themselves as an across-the-board check against runaway Dem spending, the electorate would over time forgive their past failings and overlook their unwillingness to compromise as voters turned on Dems. Republicans also calculated that if Dems got drawn into a long, bruising fight over health care and the economy didn't improve, Dems would bear the brunt of the electorate's fury with Washington's dysfunction. That's exactly what happened, and the rest is history.

Sure, Obama had a great lame duck session, and for Dems this has been the most productive Congress in memory. Tea Partyers and conservative Republicans still view the Dem expansion of government as armageddon and it's unlikely that much will be done to undo it. But from the point of view of Republican officials who were staring into the abyss only two short years ago, the 111th Congress -- and its unexpected role in revitalizing conservatism -- has in many ways been a success story, too.

By Greg Sargent  | December 23, 2010; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, Tea Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The forgotten accomplishments of the 111th Congress
Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

Yay, we killed the economy and then prevented a robust recovery!

*high fives*

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 23, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I just posted this on the last thread, and posting it here, too. Maybe the new GOP House Foreign Affrairs committee can take this up in 2011.

It seems a bit "through the looking glass" ...Mujaheddin redux anyone?
----

Giuliani, Tom Ridge Go To Paris To Support Iranian Marxist Terrorist Group

This Wednesday, a group of prominent Bush-era Republicans, including former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris to speak in support of an Iranian exile group there -- one that's been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.

"The United States should not just be on your side," Giuliani told the group, the Washington Post reported. "It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want."

The group, known as Mujaheddin-e Khalq or MEK, is a militant group that's been violently fighting the Iranian government since the 1960s. It has ties to the regime of Saddam Hussein, which trained and outfitted the MEK and for whom the MEK fought in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. According to the State Department, which declared the group a terrorist organization in 1997, the group's philosophy is a combination of "Marxism, Islam, and feminism."

Giuliani and the others told the cheering crowd that the Obama administration should take a stronger hand against Iranian leaders. Townsend scoffed at the use of negotiations and sanctions, without suggesting a tactic that she believes could work.

"Appeasement of dictators leads to war, destruction and the loss of human lives," Giuliani said. "For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace."

The four are not lone wolves in their support for MEK. Last Friday, at a symposium organized by a group called ExecutiveAction and moderated by erstwhile Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo (R), a group of current and former officials called for the U.S. to lift MEK's terrorist designation and get tougher on Iran.

"The problem is not that a tough approach has failed," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the incoming Foreign Affairs Committee chair, said at the forum, "but that it has yet to be fully tried."

Likewise, a resolution surfaced in the House this year to urge the administration to drop MEK from the terror list. It garnered 112 sponsors, including some Democrats, but died in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Britain and the European Union have dropped terrorist designations for the group, and a U.S. federal court in July ordered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to review the designation.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/giulianitomridgespeakouttosupportiranianma.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 23, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"Talk about the GOP being reduced to a regional rump party was widespread among even nonpartisan commentators."

I'm not sure what media you were watching these past few years, but I hardly saw the argument that the GOP was more of a regional party on anything other than liberal blogs and maybe a couple of left-leaning shows, such as Ed, KO, or Maddow. Even then, it was more of a "Are they?" statement than a declaration.

Even beyond that, the vast majority of the media never TREATED the GOP like a regional party, or even like a party who's ideas weren't popular.

Instead, they allowed the GOP to air their ideas as if they were legitimate views from the other side. Things like "Death Panels" were not dismissed as total nonsense, as they should have been, but rather covered as if it was only a hyperbolic version of a legimate concern. This tactic by the GOP, and the media's inability to do it's job, was repeated over and over again for the entire cycle.

The media, if they had covered the two sides fairly over the past 2 years, would have ended up forcing the GOP to start acting like a responsible governing party. They didn't, and so the GOP was able to get away with record-breaking obstruction. And using the public's unawareness against them, were able to make this massive comeback.

I'm not saying it isn't impressive. It is. But I'm saying that you shouldn't be so quick to give all the credit to the GOP...there was a massive assist coming from the major media outlets without which the GOP would likely either still be floundering or would have had to break their obstruction some time ago.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"the electorate would over time forgive their past failings and overlook their unwillingness to compromise"

Republican voters don't know anything about the past, failings or otherwise; all they want is an unwillingness to compromise.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"Talk about the GOP being reduced to a regional rump party was widespread among even nonpartisan commentators."

I'm not sure what media you were watching these past few years, but I hardly saw the argument that the GOP was more of a regional party on anything other than liberal blogs and maybe a couple of left-leaning shows, such as Ed, KO, or Maddow. Even then, it was more of a "Are they?" statement than a declaration.

Even beyond that, the vast majority of the media never TREATED the GOP like a regional party, or even like a party who's ideas weren't popular.

Instead, they allowed the GOP to air their ideas as if they were legitimate views from the other side. Things like "Death Panels" were not dismissed as total nonsense, as they should have been, but rather covered as if it was only a hyperbolic version of a legimate concern. This tactic by the GOP, and the media's inability to do it's job, was repeated over and over again for the entire cycle.

The media, if they had covered the two sides fairly over the past 2 years, would have ended up forcing the GOP to start acting like a responsible governing party. They didn't, and so the GOP was able to get away with record-breaking obstruction. And using the public's unawareness against them, were able to make this massive comeback.

I'm not saying it isn't impressive. It is. But I'm saying that you shouldn't be so quick to give all the credit to the GOP...there was a massive assist coming from the major media outlets without which the GOP would likely either still be floundering or would have had to break their obstruction some time ago.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 23, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Professor Julian couldn't mention The Tea Party or anything so actually real-world from his insulated Ivory Tower. He's up for tenure and that wouldn't go down well...!

The 111th Congress will be remembered as the WORST in US history since the 1870's. Do its poll ratings of 13% ring a bell that can be heard inside the asylum in the Beltway? How about 63 Republican pick-ups in the House? Did that happen because of Mitch McConnell?

This is a great forum to see caterpillars sucking on bongs and blowing very much smoke...!

Hey, fiona, your Senate graph doesn't say what you say it does!

Posted by: djman1141 | December 23, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Instead, they allowed the GOP to air their ideas as if they were legitimate views from the other side." This is hilarious coming from a terminal case of Chicken Little hysterics. Nobody except Fox and occasionally CNN ever gave the GOP to get more than a word in edgewise, and all that MessNBC ever did was ridicule the GOP---not that it mattered, as no one watches that cable outlet.

Posted by: djman1141 | December 23, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is whistling past the graveyard of 2008.

Who are you going to run against Obama?
Sharron Angle's Doppelgänger, Sarah Palin?

How about, another cranky old man?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Who are you going to run against Obama?
--------------------------------------------------
If this blog is populated by activists, I find it interesting the answers that you get whenever you ask this question. The answers I've seen (from potential GOP voters) are 1) outliers who have no chance or 2) silence.

This lack of response seems to validate your premise.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 23, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The GOP's "comeback" has almost nothing to do with "mastery of the leglislative process" and everything to do with a lousy economy. If Americans were so impressed with GOP "mastery of the legislative process" then why are Republicans in Congress held in such low regard?

The results of the midterms reflect the usual midterm reaction to "the party in power" coupled with extraordinary frustration at the economy. Notably, polls indicate that voters, even at the time of the midterm election, express very little confidence that those supposedly "masterful" Republicans will do any better at fixing the economy.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 23, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes, interesting. In the past, we would have heard full throated support for Palin, now, a deafening silence. And nobody like Mitt.
But to hear them talk, you'd swear the White House changed hands last month, not the lower House.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Greg writes
"Congressional Republicans have a major accomplishment under their belts: They played a key role in revitalizing the conservative movement far more quickly than anyone thought possible."


How are you defining the conservative movement? The so-called Tea party crowd is vitalized. Republican party leadership is revitalized, though they are seemingly severing their ties to the TEA types. But among the electorate, it is not at all clear that there's any buy-in to conservatism.

Currently conservatism seems to be focused on 1) making the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent; 2) rolling back regulatations on wall street and corporate behavior, generally; and 3) repealing or neutering the health care reform act. Yet none of those things are supported by a majority of the electorate.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 23, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

President Obama didn't have any "victories", with the possible exception of a victory over Democrats for Obama Care. President Obama has had successes. And he has achieved these successes because the Republicans allowed him to. He achieved nothing until the last month of this congress. The Republicans have been in controll all along and will have greater control after January 1. President Obama won't have any real fights with Republicans until after he is reelected. Until then he will compromise with the Republicans to maintain his ties to the moderate voters.

Posted by: wredner | December 23, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I think that's a fair question. But conservatives never expect their program to have majority support. Never have.

and bearclaw, the economy played a huge role, but the GOP Congressional strategy ensured that Dems paid the price for the economy -- even though the stim made things better than they otherwise might have been. That's a major strategic achievement, in the end.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 23, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, interesting. In the past, we would have heard full throated support for Palin, now, a deafening silence. And nobody like Mitt.
But to hear them talk, you'd swear the White House changed hands last month, not the lower House.
-----------------------------------------------------
Shows there is no obvious frontrunner and that there is little enthusiasm for any of them. That is exactly your point.

That's rather how McCain was viewed as he came to his candidacy, eh?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 23, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

But to hear them talk, you'd swear the White House changed hands last month, not the lower House.

Posted by: shrink2
++++++++++++

I think Obama's success with the lame duck session has probably quelled any notion of a primary challenge in 2012. And if Harry Reid can use the Senate to block what the GOP House does, Obama can stay above the partisan legislative fray.

Beltway pundits like horseraces more than policy. So GOP control of the House will quickly be overshadowed by speculation about who is running for the GOP nomination in 2012, and then by the politics of fundraising, endorsements, and all the rest. Which means the GOP 2012 Clusterf**k will be front and center while Obama gets to be Presidential. Love it.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 23, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Greg, the #1 achievement of the Republican message machine was convincing people that Obama is responsible for everything wrong with America, especially if they don't have enough money for a lot of Xmas presents.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

That's rather how McCain was viewed as he came to his candidacy, eh?

Yup. ;-}

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Tagging the Democrats with the bad economy doesn't reflect "mastery of the legislative process." It isn't even difficult to accomplish, given that Democrats control Congress and the White House. It is "message discipline," which I will admit Republicans are good at.

Now the GOP House will be expected to propose solutions. Do they have anything other than (1) repeal of HCR, and (2) tax cuts for the wealthy?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 23, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Bearclaw : I think Obama's success with the lame duck session has probably quelled any notion of a primary challenge in 2012.

----------------

Among the establishment, I'd agree with you. I don't think anyone in the party was every serious about that, not even Howard Dean. But among the blogosphere and Netroots? Ummmm...they are still quite torqued off.

Jane Hamsher was on Lawrence O'Donnell's show last night crediting the passing of DADT repeal first and foremost to the activists who chained themselves to the WH fence! (Yeah, no kidding....) She basically said the issue was really not all that important to Obama.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 23, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

OT:

EPA moving forward on GHG regs

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/science/earth/24epa.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 23, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The liberals here remain mired deeply in denial. they will point to everything but the core reasons for the shellacking.

Our resident mad chicken blames the media for actually allowing Republicans and conservatives to speak at all. Imagine how much better our kentuck fried friend would be if there were no voices in opposition to his sacred dogma. yeah, the caliphate at its finest.

Others blame the deft legislative moves of the good old boys in DC on the Republican side. yeah, right.

My goodness, what a great way to avoid the obvious. The gathering storm should have been clear to liberals after the first few raucous town hall meetings. When Democrat congresscritters were greeted with anger and derision the problem was obvious: the people believed that the government was going to far.

The Democrats ignored the people and paid the price. That huge rally in DC against Obamacare was the last straw. Pelosi derided us and the CBC slandered us and thus were the seats lost.

The nation rose against the Democrats and the liberal agenda they were advancing.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 23, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Now the GOP House will be expected to propose solutions. Do they have anything other than (1) repeal of HCR, and (2) tax cuts for the wealthy?
---------------------------------------------------
To the degree that the GOP pushes for repeal, this will work against them in the polls. Their base are breathing down their necks for repeal, but most Americans will not view this positively. That would imply that people want to return to 2008, and few do.

According to polls earlier this year, Democrats and the President were being dinged for the failure to "get things done". Most people seem to see the political arena like a football game. The team that wins is revered. The team that tries hard, but gets blocked, is just the loser. IMO, that's why the President's approval rating has improved so much, because he's seen as getting things done.

The GOP is now in the position of being a team who will be evaluated on the same basis. They can blame the Democrats, but that won't work, as it didn't when the Democrats blamed the GOP as obstructionists. They can try the "repeal" route, but I'll predict that repeal will not be seen as "getting something done".

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 23, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo,

I accept that Jane Hamsher hates Obama every bit as much as some of our local righties do -- her opinion is not exactly a bellweather of Democratic sentiment as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 23, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with 12barblues. Working toward repeal of HCR will appeal to most Americans.

And the Republicans in the house have plenty of solutions to offer. The ryan road map is perfect example. I'm also hearing about things like enhanced oversight and improved scheduling so that congress can be more productive.

The main thrust of the next house has to be bringing the government to heel. One example, the EPA seeking to impose by fiat what Obama could not accomplish by legislation. that's a usurpation and it must be stopped. We have to get the government off our backs yet again.

And at the same time we have to marginalize those people who believe that more and more government, more regulation and higher taxes are the only solutions to our problems. As long as that dynamic exists in America we will face a threat to our freedom from DC and the state capitals.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 23, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw,

Agreed on Hamsher's sway over Dems. Same with Kos. They do hold a lot of influence with young activist-types, though, who were significantly missing from the mid-terms. I'm not sure if that was just because young people usually don't vote in the mid-terms, or if there is something else at play.

Hamsher/Kos etc. would probably not be able to get someone to primary Obama. Where they would do damage is in convincing enough youngsters to vote Green or something like that.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 23, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Really, it was just like the baseball strikes of yesteryear. Start playing ball again and all is forgiven. Ahh...short-term memory.
Wait. What was the question?

Posted by: Rudesan | December 23, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with 12barblues. Working toward repeal of HCR will appeal to most Americans.
----------------------------------------------------
You are part of the base. Of course, as part of the base, you would favor repeal as a primary focus. But, I'll bet you that the American people as a whole will not share that enthusiasm, especially since the devil is in the details. The evidence for that? Polling of the specific subissues (pre-existing conditions etc.) already prove you wrong.

"Bringing to heel" and "marginalizing" is language that appeals to the conservative base, not to Americans as a whole. People like a whole lot of those policies you despise. They like Social Security, Medicare, and the government protections over air and water and food and drugs. Surely you read the polls, so you must know that.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Skip, how do you know beforehand what domestic initiatives are worth spending for and what are not, at any level?

Public libraries? [Ben Franklin]
Public schools? [Ben Franklin]
land grant colleges? [A. Lincoln]
Homestead Act? [Lincoln]
RR ROWs? [1864-1888]
Public Health Service? [evolved from about 1792-1887]
national parks? [TR]
anti-trust enforcement? [TR]
SocSec? [FDR]
GI Bill? [HST]
Interstate Highways? [DDE]
Space Program? [JFK-LBJ]
Head Start? [LBJ]

I could have made the case of too much government and too much cost against all of them, before they occurred. But I would have been wrong, in the end, I think, on all.

OTOH

War on Poverty
War on Drugs
War on Terror

I might have supported all three as they evolved and been largely wrong, in that they were largely wasted $..

I am not suggesting that your fears are unfounded, but I am suggesting that it is too easy to "just say no".

We should be able to reach consensus on what has and has not worked in the past. If we cannot do that about anything we are in deep doodoo.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Trusting the government for nothing (just say "no") is just as bad as trusting the government for everything (just say "yes). Neither position requires any reflection on the problems.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 23, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/happy_hour_roundup_153.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 23, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"I agree with Greg, the #1 achievement of the Republican message machine was convincing people that Obama is responsible for everything wrong with America, especially if they don't have enough money for a lot of Xmas presents."

This is one area where republicans are masterful. They have no interest in governing, only winning office/power/influence, and so have sought to understand disinformation, and how to disseminate it, better than most Democratic officials even comprehend.

Democrats are still living in the era when people paid attention to what they did, rather than they *said.* Republicans live in another dimension altogether -- where their favorite outlet for "news" is a needle into their vein delivering pure propaganda, a satisfying high for those who don't want to hear anything except that which reinforces their programmed belief system.

They have a powerful organizing member in Grover Norquist, who 10+ plus years ago organized the "Wednesday morning meeting" in DC, whose attendees include aides to R congresscreeps and radio and TV hatehosts, corporate lobbyists, presidential aides during Bush's time, rightwing bloggers, Frank Luntz focus group results, etc., where the week's memes/framing/ message are decided, and how they will be disseminated. Repetition in the same words, from many different mouths and sources is remarkably effectively in creating an alternate 'reality' which become more real than provable facts.

It is based on Goebbel's 'principles' but modernized and far more effective and far reaching.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse


This is one area where republicans are masterful. They have no interest in governing, only winning office/power/influence, and so have sought to understand disinformation, and how to disseminate it, better than most Democratic officials even comprehend.
...

It is based on Goebbel's 'principles' but modernized and far more effective and far reaching.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 5:47 PM
-------

Off your meds again? That plane's still waiting.

Posted by: Brigade | December 23, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm absolutely dizzy from the Democratic spin! Nothing would have been accomplished without us Republicans. Where do you people get off thinking this was all about the Democrats? You did absolutely NOTHING for two years. How weird! We are, however, going to undo some of the "things you accomplished" that we Americans don't want.

Posted by: georges2 | December 23, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

When I bring up a Bush policy or inaction, conservatives scoff about "still blaming Bush" and me wanting to relitigate the Bush years. Actually, we never litigated the Bush years. Obama made the decision not to look back and to work to move the country out of the ditch.
What has the Republican Party ever done in its recent history to boost the fortunes of the middle class? So many of our regulatory agencies are stocked with industry/corporate toadies. It brought on our Great Recession. Imagine if Bush would have sent enforcers to Wall Street instead of to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now we've got a massive Department of Homeland Security. The CIA is more out of control than ever in our national security state.
Who stands up more than unions for working people?

Posted by: bdunn1 | December 24, 2010 5:13 AM | Report abuse

And who can't look fondly back on the Republican proposal for people priced out of the health insurance market to trade a chicken for a checkup or paint the doctor's house in exchange for medical services.

Posted by: bdunn1 | December 24, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

the dems failed to pass a budget for 2011...
they gave the job to the house Republicans because they could not do it...
I say let the deficit cutting begin...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 24, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The defeat of Iran and North Korea,

must come at the hands of the indigenous

people, not from any outside source like

the United States or other countries.

Posted by: dennishabern1 | December 24, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent "and bearclaw, the economy played a huge role, but the GOP Congressional strategy ensured that Dems paid the price for the economy -- even though the stim made things better than they otherwise might have been. That's a major strategic achievement, in the end."

Keep in mind that the Republicans had help on the economic message from Obama himself by his first releasing a chart that showed what the unemployment rate would be if the stimulus passed that turned out not to be the case at all, referring to 2010 as the "Recovery Summer", and then having no real explanation for why it didn't work because the administration refuses to concede the argument of Paul Krugman and other Keynesians that the original stimulus was too small to begin with.

http://michaelscomments.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/stimulus-vs-unemployment-june2010-dots.gif

Regarding 2011, if you want to see how the Republicans are going to approach this, watch this weeks 60 Minutes interview with Chris Christie.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/19/60minutes/main7166220.shtml?tag=currentVideoInfo;segmentTitle

Basically, we are in the new normal and everyone is going to have to adapt to it.

Lastly, the number one thing Obama could have done to help the economy would have been to push for bankruptcy cramdown legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages. They had a real opportunity to do this when Citigroup said that they would support the legislation, but then the Obama administration, specifically Geithner decided that restoring the banks to financial health was a higher priority than resolving the mortgage crisis quickly.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/30/AR2009043000286.html

As a result, we still have an ongoing mortgage and foreclosure crisis which is hampering the overall economic recovery. The Obama administration's voluntary loan modificaton alternatives to bankruptcy mortgage modification have completely failed to solve the problem, and in many cases have made matters worse.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 24, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

So, the Republican accomplishment is that they did not help the recovery for the economy they led to collapse!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 24, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

GS fails to mention that republicans capitalized on the election of a niggra.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 24, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

GS fails to mention that republicans capitalized on the election of a niggra.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 24, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 posts December 23, 2010 4:17 PM

"I agree with Greg, the #1 achievement of the Republican message machine was convincing people that Obama is responsible for everything wrong with America, especially if they don't have enough money for a lot of Xmas presents."

Soo what happens twelve months from now when 2%'ers do not create good paying jobs for out of work Americans.

How will republicans blame Obama?

Oh, yeah, Romney/Obama care is at fault or financial regulation hampers banks from making loans.

Or defense spending can't be cut ... because OBL's flying carpet air force is waiting off the east coast.

Republicans will have an excuse.
Maybe they finally blame cheney/bush.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 24, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"the dems failed to pass a budget for 2011...
they gave the job to the house Republicans because they could not do it...
I say let the deficit cutting begin..."

Sounds good ... do you think they'll cut defense spending?

Do you think they'll cut Ag subsidies?

Do you think they'll cut oil, gas and coal subsidies?

Of course not, why cut welfare to the military industrial complex and other large donors?

Posted by: knjincvc | December 24, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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