By Courting the Republicans, Obama Could Get the Worst of All Worlds

Consensus among the nation’s political elite is a recipe for disaster – just look at Iraq, the war on terror and deregulation.

The following article by Gary Younge which appears in the Gaurdian/UK says it all:
Pity the Republicans. Defeated in the presidential election, depleted in Congress and departing from the White House in disgrace, they are a shell of their previously bullish selves. As much of the country, and indeed the world, celebrated the inauguration two weeks ago, they looked askance. It was unclear how many of them realised that one of the reasons this particular ceremonial theatre was so popular was because they were leaving the stage.

This weekend they held a conference in Washington entitled “Republican for a Reason”, where it rapidly became evident that nobody was entirely clear what that reason was. Having set out as social conservatives, they ended up as conservative socialists – big spenders who made the first moves towards nationalising the banks.

The party elected Michael Steele as its national chairman. Promising outreach and renewal, Steele – the party’s first African-American leader – claimed Republicans have an “image” problem. That’s true. According to a recent Pew survey, the Democrats are enjoying the greatest favourability advantage it has ever recorded. Republicans trail in every demographic group apart from white evangelicals.

The problem with the party’s image is that it is a faithful reflection of its policies and culture. Steele, who once compared stem-cell research to concentration camp experiments, was the moderate in the election. He defeated the South Carolina chairman, Katon Dawson, who became politically active in protest at racial integration of schools and was a member of an all-white country club for 12 years before leaving last year. It was a close run thing. Steele won 91-77 on the sixth and final ballot.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, almost half of Republicans think their problem is not that they have been too rightwing, but too moderate. More than half think the Alaska governor and defeated vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin offers the best model for their party. To the extent that they have learned any lessons from their defeat, they seem to be the wrong ones.

One of the few people prepared to give Republicans the time of day at the moment is President Barack Obama. For the past two weeks, Obama has been desperately trying to persuade them to support his economic stimulus package. After several trips to Congress for negotiations he called on Democrats to strip some elements from the bill that Republicans objected to. He also added more of the tax cuts they wanted…
Read More>>> Here

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Filed under Congress, Economic Stimulus Package, Gary Younge, Michael Steele, President Obama, Republicans, Sarah Palin, tax cuts, the Gaurdian

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