Has the Last Month Been Good for the Republicans?
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 08:48:55 AM EST
Politico decides that Judd Gregg's decision to back out his cabinet nomination has "embolden[ed]" the Republican Party. The website also passes on GOP spin saying that Barack Obama struck out in his attempts at bipartisanship, that his outreach to Senate Republicans was "like a bad date." President Obama, the spin explained, "[won] the battle [lost] the war."
I'm not certain what's in the water inside the Beltway, but it's hard to see how this has all been good for the Republicans. Take the stimulus. Barack Obama came into the process indicating that he wanted a $775 billion package on his desk by President's day -- and this looks like exactly what he's getting. He reached out to Republicans, they snubbed him, and he still got the bill passed.
Or take the cabinet. President Obama invited an unprecedented (at least in recent memory) three Republicans to his cabinet, including one to the top cabinet position of Defense Secretary. Just because one nominee decided after he sought out and eventually received a position in the cabinet that he had cold feet doesn't mean that this will swing back and hurt the President. (As I've wondered before, Gregg knew what he was getting into when he made his entreaties to the Obama administration, the stimulus package was already floating around before he was nominated, and Gregg himself flacked for the bill -- but now says he has a serious problem with the legislation?)
In fact, this all seems to play into the meme being accepted by the public, if not the establishment press, that Republicans are going out of their way to snub the very gracious President Obama. Don't believe me? Look at the sheer numbers, which show that Americans support the White House over Congressional Republicans by greater than a 2-to-1 margin.
The chattering class may be itching to declare victory for the Republicans, but I just don't see it. Then again, the pundits also thought that George W. Bush was moments away from a major political comeback for the last four years, and that never panned out, so maybe we should just tune them out.