This new web ad by the Democratic National Committee is representative of the tack that national Democrats are taking these days, arguing that today’s Republicans are no different than the ones who got us into this mess (Bush, Cheney, etc.). The question is, will it work? According to Chris Cillizza, polling indicates that “the public doesn’t regard Republicans in Congress as synonymous with the former president,” that Congressional Republicans have “decoupled themselves from the unpopular former president over the past 18 months or so.” On the other hand, the polling indicates that “if Democrats can (re)hang Bush around the neck of Republicans, it could greatly improve their chances of minimizing losses this fall.” In short, Democratic success this November could depend on whether the elections are a referendum more on Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid; or more on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Another question regarding this new strategy by the DNC is whether or not it happens to be true — do Republicans really want to go back to the “exact same agenda” of Bush and Cheney? From what I can tell, the answer isn’t exactly “yes” but it’s certainly not “no” either. One reason it’s not clearer is that Congressional Republicans have simply become the “party of no,” with absolutely no positive agenda of their own as far as almost anyone can tell.
Yes, we know they hate the Democrats. Yes, we know they want to “break” Obama. Yes, we know they want Democratic policies to “fail” (even if that means the economy goes down the tubes in the process). And yes, we know they are playing footsie with these guys. But does that mean they want to go back to the “exact same agenda” – huge tax cuts for the rich, unfunded wars, massive deficits and unfunded expenditures, corporate welfare, “No Child Left Behind,” etc? If not, in what substantive ways do current Republicans want to break with Bush?
So far, other than rhetoric, they haven’t spelled out their differences. In fact, given the opportunity again and again, today’s Republican “leaders” keep punting when asked how their agenda would differ from Bush/Cheney’s. That lack of response appears to be a combination of two factors: utter intellectual bankruptcy under imbeciles like Cantor and Boehner, combined with overall agreement with Bush/Cheney policies.
Does any of this sound like an appealing prospect to run Congress starting in January 2011? Then by all means, vote Republican in November 2010! If not, then vote Democratic, and we won’t have the “exact same agenda,” the “90% same agenda,” or whatever Boehner, Cantor, McConnell et al. have in store for us.