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May 29, 2009

What’s Happened To Little Green Footballs Part II

You may remember Part I from Wednesday night.

In a post entitled, “What The Hell Happened To Me?” Charles was kind enough to reply. I think his arguments deserve the courtesy of being taken seriously (my apologies for not getting to this in a more timely fashion yesterday).

The heart of his argument seems to me to be summed up by this statement...

Criticize policies all you like, and work to defeat politicians you don’t agree with. But wishing out loud for Obama or his Supreme Court nominees to “fail” is mean-spirited, negative, and hands ammunition to your political enemies that they will gladly use.

Again I would remind Charles that Obama wanted both of President Bush’s nominees for the Supreme Court to fail. He may not have used the word “fail” but he attacked their judicial philosophy, supported a filibuster against now Justice Alito and voted no on the floor of the Senate when their nominations came up.

That didn’t seem to hurt his electoral prospects.

I think Republicans should use this opportunity to layout their philosophy on the role of judges and the courts in our system but I do so in the context of hoping Sotomayor fails to win confirmation (though I don't doubt she will be confirmed).

If our disagreement on this point is simply linguistic then it is rather small. Charles simply wishes for conservatives to forswear using the word ‘fail’. If that is the case then what word shall we use? There’s a whole host of synonyms to select from.

However, I think the disagreement is a larger one. Look at this post Charles linked to in his response. It says in part,

The Republican Party is in reactionary denial mode, refusing to look at the real problems that cost them the last two major elections. Unless the party can find a positive message and articulate it clearly, we’re going to have Democratic presidents for the foreseeable future.

First, on one of the larger issues of the day, the so-called “stimulus”, Republicans did offer a positive message and alternative. They got rolled. You see, as the President will tell you, he won. He also won huge majorities in both the House and the Senate. The Democrats own the government. As the opposition party, the Republican party has no leverage, especially at this point in the election cycle. It is their job to point out the flaws in the Democrats' programs (which Charles agrees is okay).

Do I wish that Specter, Snowe and Collins had stuck with the rest of the Republican caucus and caused the 'stimulus' to fail? Yes because it was and is bad policy that will do damage to the country. I have no regrets about that position at all.

History shows that minority parties that lay down markers of opposition and hope their opponents fail can parlay that into later success (see the Republican opposition to the Clinton tax increases in ’92. Yes, the Contract With America was a positive values statement but it came after initial opposition and yes, hopes of failure for Clinton).

Why is it so awful to say that they hope the programs and nominees they oppose ‘fail’ to pass (wishing the for the best outcome should they pass is a separate matter).

Saying we hope that Obama’s policies fail to be enacted and his nominees don’t win confirmation is simply the logical conclusion to the role the opposition party finds itself in at times like these. To not say so is dishonest and leaves us only with the alternative of seeming to acquiesce to Obama and the Democrats’ program. That simply is bad politics and it’s bad for the country.

The people have a right to know where Republicans stand. We hope that policies and laws we think are damaging to the nation fail to be enacted. I’m not sure how that’s controversial.

Politics can be a tough game and sometimes tough words like fail are used. That brings me to my second point.

In my original post, I questioned Charles’ statement that,

Barack Obama ran on a platform of sheer positive messages. Not once did he wish for the other side to fail. You're just wrong to claim that negativity is winning strategy. One of the big reasons why Obama won was because he did NOT go negative -- ever.

I provided several links from sources not known to be friendly to Republicans such as the Washington Post and NY Times documenting several instances where Obama ‘went negative’. Unfortunately, Charles did not elect to address that in his reply.

Again, these are just a few examples of a definite change in direction at LGF over the last few months or years that lead me to no longer follow as closely a blog I once valued so much.

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posted by DrewM. at 09:28 AM

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