Republicans are hatching a political comeback by dusting off a strategic playbook written nearly two decades ago.
Its themes: Unite against Democrats’ economic policy, block and counter health care reform and tar them with spending scandals.
Those represent the political trifecta that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich bet on in 1994 to produce a historic Republican takeover of Congress.
Those of us who watch the modern conservative movement and RNC closely have understood that their response to the Obama administration (quite regardless of what it did or proposed) would be precisely as above, to a probability of about 95%.
The reasons we got this right are simple; first, the party and movement are now nearly totally dominated by the extremism of people like Kristol, Norquist and Gingrich and, second, the purposeful oustering of moderate people and ideas over such an extended period has had the consequence that there now exists no viable mechanism wherebye moderate ideas might be cultivated or even seriously considered within the movement/party. What we see above, and what we will now have to bear with for the next two or four years, was and is inevitable.
Tied into the above is a fundamental notion and strategy which this movement holds dear and which marks their behavior and rhetroric always – never give up, never give in, never say sorry, never say you had it wrong, never do anything but attack. This is not a matter of ‘principle’, it is a matter of ‘optics’.
Fortunately for sane people everywhere, the Obama team (much smarter than I) understand these things and are operating accordingly. Being able to predict accurately what the Republicans will do is a definite advantage. As the Politico piece points out (you should read it all) Obama is, in a number of important respects, in quite a different position than Clinton was and one of those differences is being able to look back and see what they did to Clinton that set him back on his heels.