First Time as Tragedy, Second Time as Farce

John Berry thinks–along with everybody else–that Republicans are following an old playbook: oppose everything a Democratic president does in the hope of convincing voters that he is in some sense a failure, and then ride opposition to him to congressional majorities. Newt Gingrich did this in 1993-1994, and it was a tragedy for the nation.Now John Berry thinks that this time it will be a farce:>**‘No Deal’ Republicans Map Disaster of Own Making:** March 4 (Bloomberg) — Republicans are headed for a political disaster of their own making. As bad news about the economy gets ever worse, the party of growth, markets and business is opposing every effort by President Barack Obama to shorten the recession and put people back to work. Congressional Republicans have crowed about their almost-unanimous nay vote against Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package…. There’s every reason to think the added spending and tax cuts will slow the sharp contraction in economic growth and then speed the ensuing recovery. The claim that governments can’t boost growth — because, as this theory goes, anything they spend reduces resources available to the private sector — is bogus. Some officials in the British Treasury made the same claim during the Great Depression to counter John Maynard Keynes’s argument that added government spending was needed to fill the gap left by the big drop in private consumption and investment. The U.S. economic boom produced by World War II spending buried this view. You have to wonder why Republicans exhumed this discredited theory.>Now that they have, all that’s needed for a spectacular Republican failure is for a solid recovery to start before the mid-term elections in November 2010 — a highly likely prospect. By then, after two years of opposition to Obama’s efforts to make the lives of most Americans better, it shouldn’t be hard to convince voters that Republicans are an uncaring lot. Polls show that almost two-thirds of Americans believe the Republican opposition is nothing more than an attempt to gain political advantage. If those feelings persist, the Republican minorities in the House and Senate will be even smaller after the next elections than they are today….>During the 1990-1991 recession, conditions weren’t close to as bad as they are today…. Still, there was a widespread perception that Bush didn’t understand or care about the suffering of Americans….>Republicans weren’t able to block the Obama-backed stimulus bill. Still, their obstinacy in the Senate limited its effectiveness…

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