Free Markets, Free People
Why Should Republicans Cooperate With Obama?
Take a gander at that chart. James Joyner put it together to illustrate why the Republicans might not be that concerned with cooperating with Democrats right now.
It’s certainly nothing particularly new in politics. When Republicans were the majority party in both houses of Congress and had a Republican President, it was much the same for Democrats at the time. And we watched Tom Daschle and the boys in the Senate act just like one would expect a minority party with the above choices to act. That is, they mostly said “no” to almost everything the Republican administration wanted.
The difference at the time was there were much closer numbers on both sides in the Senate so that luring Democrats to pass anything was a necessary thing. Then “bi-partisanship”, like it or not, was a necessity. Then flavoring the bill enough to attract Democrats was something which had to be done.
Now that’s not necessary at all.
Now, with the possibility of a 58th Democratic Senator (if Republican Sen. Gregg accepts the Commerce post, the Democratic Governor of NH will surely name a Democrat to that seat) and two “independents” who have and always will caucus with the Senate Democrats, they don’t need Republicans at all. The Republican minority in this session doesn’t even enjoy the power it had in the last session of Congress or that was enjoyed by the Democrats when they were last in the minority. It is a completely different game.
That reality actually makes it a little easier for Republicans to vote “no”. They know the inevitable consequences of voting”yes” for anything the administration wants will leave them out in the cold when credit is due or holding the bag when the policy fails. It’s a lose-lose situation. Why voluntarily put your party in that position in the name of some nebulous goal of the other party – namely bi-partisanship?
Instead, become the adamant (although mostly powerless), principled opposition, become a shadow government and offer alternatives to what is being rammed through by Democrats in Congress without your wanted or needed participation. Solidarity of purpose (principled opposition) is now the Republican’s most effective weapon.
Oh, and Republicans – for a change, make sure the public understands your alternatives and why you’re against what you’re against. Hire a PR firm if you have too, but get the word out – effectively – before the other side paints you as nothing more than petty obstructionists (remember it is hard to be either petty or an obstructionist when you don’t have the power to defeat the vote in either house of Congress if the Democrats stick together).