For a shrinking, suicidal minority supposedly relegated to irrelevance, Republicans sure are getting a lot of attention from Democrats these days.
You’ll recall that November’s election culminated a six-year campaign against everything elephant. Beyond surrender in Iraq, Democrats built their entire strategy for regaining majority status around two words: Republicans stink.
From 2000 to 2006, Democrats attacked, delayed and tried to block every policy goal of the Republican majority. If anything bad happened, it was the Republicans’ fault. Heck, if anything good happened, Democrats screamed that it was actually horrible, and that it was the Republicans’ fault. And even if Democrats’ fingerprints were all over said grievances — for example, the invasion of Iraq and the housing meltdown — they denied culpability, claimed they were lied to … and blamed Republicans.
Democrats offered no vision of their own as a selling point to voters, only that Republicans were bad, bad, bad, and that they would be better.
And it worked.
After taking back the House and the Senate in 2006, Democrats continued banging the anti-Republican drum, pushing toward the goal of grabbing the White House and a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the upper chamber. Barack Obama won the presidency, and Arlen Specter’s party switch and Al Franken’s successful recount finally gave Democrats the Senate margin they coveted.
So with the horrible Republicans finally vanquished and everything they stood for finally repudiated, Democrats at last could move beyond belly-aching and begin ignoring the GOP. It was time to cash the blank check voters had provided. On with the revolution!
But now, as President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and their followers try to fast-track radical health care reforms and an economy-crushing cap-and-trade scheme, they’re whining that their agenda is simply too important to be passed by just one party — that they need Republican support to speed passage and help unify and heal the nation.
That’s right, after getting exactly what they wanted from the electorate, Democrats now say they’re reluctant to move forward without the votes of those stinky, stupid, corrupt Republicans.
Because the GOP leadership isn’t going along with this siren song — you guessed it — we have an all new round of Republican condemnation from those Democrats. The GOP is being called “The Party of No.” It’s devoid of ideas and leaders, answering only to deranged “birthers” and hate-mongering talk-radio hosts. And it’s probably behind all those abhorrent acts of free expression against further nationalization of the health care industry.
The Republican Party might be salvageable, the Democrats hint, if its members would just put down Reid’s obstructionist playbook, fall in line and start behaving in a bipartisan manner — which Democrats define as doing exactly what they say.
The gall and cowardice of the Democratic majority is totally predictable.
For starters, the base of “The Party of Having It Both Ways” is dominated by obnoxious, litigious rabble-rousers, from union goons to environmentalists to the MoveOn.org crazies, who use every resource available to them to block and protest anything they disagree with. It’s hilarious to see Democrats wetting themselves over some impassioned public opposition to their radical, budget-busting health care legislation — they’re finally getting a dose of their own medicine.
Or can we expect congressional Democrats to start publicly denouncing the daily instances of progressive bullies shouting down and disrupting conservative speakers and events on college campuses across the country?
But what’s really driving all this nonsense is the fact that the far-left agenda is political poison, and Democrats know it. The 1994 Republican landslide wasn’t exclusively an endorsement of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. HillaryCare scared Americans to death, and voters decided giving complete control of Washington to Democrats for another two years was an invitation for social and economic disaster.
Democrats desperately need a few spineless Republicans to provide them with political cover. In next year’s campaign, Democrats need to be able to tell voters that ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, further deficit spending and huge tax hikes have bipartisan support. When the polls show public disapproval, the programs implode and the economy doesn’t recover, Democrats need to be able to tell Americans that Republicans are to blame.
Democrats need to be able to tell voters that Republicans still stink.
Republicans, meanwhile, are merely demonstrating that they’ve learned a valuable lesson from the Democrats and, perhaps, from the failures of the debt-growing porkfest they oversaw in the first half of this decade.
The lesson is that power corrupts, and the corrupt inevitably are removed from office. Give either party control of the White House and both houses of Congress, and it’s just a matter of time before lawmakers overreach, everything turns to poo and voters turn to the other side.
Voters gave Democrats a mile of rope last year, and the liberal elite are wasting no time wrapping it around their own necks. If Republicans have anything left in their brain trust, they’ll do exactly what the Democrats did throughout the Bush administration: fight like heck to stop the majority’s agenda and vote against everything. Don’t leave the slightest trace of GOP DNA on socialized medicine or global warming baloney. Let the Democrats march themselves to the gallows.
Democrats have everything in place to fulfill their destructive wish list. Republicans aren’t holding them back.
The question is, will they finally shut up and pull the handle?
Glenn Cook (email@example.com) is a Review-Journal editorial writer.