Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Strategy Behind Blatant Republican Contradictions

Lets be clear here. Lets tell it like it is. Lets not kid ourselves and lets not be naive.

It does not matter what President Obama does or says on any issue - no mater what position he stakes out - the leadership of the Republican party takes an countering view, even when doing so is in direct contrast with their previous statements.

Perhaps the most obvious example is the situation in Libya.

Newt Gingrich criticized Obama for not taking action, not instituting a no-fly zone and even sending our military into action. Now that Obama has done all those things, Gingrich is criticizing these actions.

Not to be outdone, House Speaker Boehner is demanding a full and clear explanation of the objectives of the actions of the U.S. military in Libya. Mind you, this is a man who - like Gingrich - criticized Obama for not doing enough about Libya earlier this month, as well as criticized him over how he handled the Egyptian uprising.

In this instance and others, it seems the primary goal of the Rs is simply to weaken support for Obama by criticizing anything and everything he does - even if doing so is in direct contradiction to what they were saying just several weeks ago.

Hell, Obama could solve world hunger, cure cancer and balance the budget and his opposition would say he's using the U.S. taxpayer money to solve problems that our not ours, is purposefully condemning victims of other diseases to death and has undermined U.S. financial security by cutting budget and raising taxes to balance the budget. It just doesn't matter what he does or says.

Why would they do this? Electoral politics. They want to win the Presidency in 2012.

This is their short-term game plan to "soften up" the President before the election cycle. Sew doubt about him, generate an ongoing "buzz" of opposition that generally presents a question mark about Obama in the minds of the American public. The issue could be on the issue of Libya, could be the budget, could be - as we've seen - even down to taking issue with the First Lady's initiative to encourage children to eat healthy (how dare "the government" tell your child how to eat!"). It does not matter. What matters is criticize, criticize, criticize. Paint him on on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC and all the networks as weak, indecisive and himself a flip-flopper. It's an ooooooooooooooooooold Republican battle tactic.

Well, OK...but won't these Republicans be easily called out and shamed for their obvious, blatant and ongoing contradictions and thin attacks. No, they will not. Why? When it comes to politics, economy and foreign relations, the American public has the attention span for details and facts of about an hour. Seriously. About an hour. Literally, most Americans don't remember what a politician says between one day to another and they certainly don't remember a politicians track record - contradictory or not. Now, you want to talk about a BJ given to the president by an intern? The American public wants to know about and track ALL the details on that!

No, what we all DO seem to remember is the general "feeling" or vague notions of whether we "like" someone or not. And that's what the Republicans are trying to do - errode Obama's likability by trying to make him out as wishy-washy and inconsistent with a sustained criticism campaign that puts a general negative buzz out there about him that reduces his "like factor."

Ironically, the "like factor" is why Clinton continued to get high approval ratings during his Lewinski scandal. It's also a factor in Obama's favor because most people "like" him and the R candidates tend to come off like bullies.

But in any case, make no mistake, what appear to be obvious contradictions from Republicans are about. It's part of the strategy they are pinning hopes on to win the Presidency and pick up seats in the Senate for a majority. And what an occassion that would be.

I think we all can remember the "glorious" eight years 2001 - 2008 when the Rs held the Congress and White House - economy in the tank, unemployment up, permitted worst attack on U.S. soil ever, financial and real estate market meltdown, creation of the worst Federal budget deficit in U.S. history, rising gas prices, blundered invasion of Iraq, and on and on...but hey, tax cut for the rich!

Get ready for some more of all that if the Rs are successful.

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