The right needs to lay off Obama

The Republican right is starting to screw up election 2012 now. They’re already endangering November.

They’re doing this because they’re behaving like the entitlement fat-cats they claim to deplore. Entitlement fat-cats take advantage of privileged positions.

Republicans right now have a golden opportunity, which is that a highly popular Democratic president is failing.

Instead of behaving like gentlemen, Republicans are behaving like boors — continuing to pick on the guy for things that are not his fault, and are not of consequence.

“Liberals are like children and they believe in Obama in the way children believed in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus and he can’t stop this spill and they’re enraged. It would be like me finding out Jesus isn’t divine, they don’t know Jesus that’s why I used the tooth fairy as an example instead,” columnist Ann Coulter said on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

“They [liberals] lost Katrina as an argument,” Coulter added. – RCP

While Coulter is normally well-spoken, she makes two good points here and then a stupid one:

Good Points

  1. The liberals lost Katrina as an argument. Bush didn’t screw it up. Obama didn’t do any better.
  2. Liberals are like children and they believe in Obama like a sacred figure of deliverance. This is true, but overstated: liberals are people suffering from excessive domestication and neoteny, and the worship of Obama was disgusting even to him, but he’s not nonexistent like the tooth fairy.

Stupid Points

  1. Obama screwed up the BP spill. He didn’t; it wasn’t his job, and his job is to let the system already in place take care of the disaster. Oil spills are not like fires in small communities where we all grab buckets and run down to the disaster; they require a disciplined, professional response. Of course he can’t stop this spill — no one can, and the people who have the potential to do so are giving it their best shot.

Using her own logic, if Bush wasn’t at fault for Katrina, Obama isn’t at fault for this spill. And it’s true: we have set up an infrastructure that handles this kind of thing, and the president should call up the person in charge and make sure they’re on the case, but not much else.

But the oil spill isn’t the only case where the right is behaving like a ninny. Obama’s not trying to take over the Internet, he hasn’t taken your guns, he’s not a Muslim and we can stop bashing him for not waving the American flag everywhere he goes or bowing to a foreign leader. That’s the small change.

What Republicans need to do is start showing America where Republicans differ from Democrats. Most people still don’t know and quite honestly, it’s nebulous. What exactly is a conservative? Is it defined by economics or social policy? What’s the root idea of conservatism?

These are questions left in the air.

In the meantime, bashing Obama now has some high costs:

  • If you attack a faltering president, everyone knows that’s easy work — it’s like a big bully kicking a wimpy thin kid when he’s down. Yeah, he’s failing — so what? You didn’t make it happen. Even more, we need to hear from you how your policies are different and won’t fail just like his.
  • Let him fail on his own. If you keep kicking him, when he does fail, he’ll turn around and blame you — and most people will see that as plausible, even if they did see through his original Bush-bashing. Don’t make the same mistake he did.
  • Stop being lazy. The easy lazy fat entitlement bureaucrat living off the government needle way is to to bash Obama. The unlazy way is to go out there, design new policy, and fix problems at the local level so you prove yourselves ready to recapture the national.
  • Partisan sniping is not convincing anyone you deserve office. If you care about the future of the country, you care about beating back the other side, who are wrong and misguided — you need to show that, and show how you’re different — but until that glorious day, you need to find a way to make effective policy working with them. Not all issues are going to be divisive because much of government should involve common sense, not ideology. What’s the difference between a Republican parking meter and a Democratic one?

It makes sense for you to keep the fire to his feet where (a) his policies are bad and (b) you have better policies to suggest. That’s sensible politics and good behavior.

It makes sense to rehabilitate George W. Bush, who was on the wrong end of the largest media slander campaign in history. Hollywood decided to hate him, and then whipped up a public image of him as a Nazi and other horrible things, when none of this was true. Take those accountable to task. They were wrong and you need to show they were wrong, or they’re going to do it again successfully and then elect another hopey-changey type.

But whatever you do, don’t take the easy path. We all know it’s easier to be a defender than an attacker, and that now that you feel wronged that the nation elected this guy instead of you, you can snipe passively at him and point out that he wears the wrong tie to go to China, or whatever. But that’s without substance. If you want the voters back, stop acting like petulant children and start acting like leaders.

4 Comments

  1. Doug Vance says:

    This the same thing we saw in 2005, 2006. Except then it was the conservative base quietly abandoning the GWB ship, even as the far right had shunned him early in the first term.

    The 2008 result? Mackdaddy-O gets elected. But now two years in, the extremist left is in mutiny and the moderates are dropping into the lifeboats.

    It is almost as if another interest is at work, one that doesn’t reveal itself.

  2. [...] Stevens: The Right Needs to Lay Off Obama and Brett Stevens [...]

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  4. coldequation says:

    Katrina was much easier to handle than the oil spill. There’s nothing a president can do about an oil spill, but Katrina could have been handled better by doing what they eventually did sooner.

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