Three months after their Election Day drubbing, Republican leaders see glimmers of rebirth in the party's liberation from an unpopular president, its selection of its first African American chairman and, most of all, its stand against a stimulus package that they are increasingly confident will provide little economic jolt but will pay off politically for those who oppose it.Look, I fixed your computer! Yeah, but you're the one who broke it. But I fixed it! Uh, okay, thanks, but I really wish you just wouldn't have taken a sledgehammer to it in the first place. I admit, that was dumb. It really was. But it made me feel so good at the time. I, however, was pretty unhappy about it. I know. But I fixed it! You keep saying you fixed it, but it looks like it's just being held together with duct tape, and it, well, it isn't really working and smells of burnt toast. I've got excellent principles! That's why I fixed it. It looks like now you're kicking it. I am kicking it—that will make it work even better! No, it really won't. I mean, look at it. It's falling apart again. I probably just need to kick it harder. You're making it worse! PRINCIPLES! ME! I'M THE ONE! Okay, I'm going to need you to stop kicking my computer now. Obstructionist. Excuse me? I win!
After giving the package zero votes in the House, and with their counterparts in the Senate likely to provide in a crucial procedural vote today only the handful of votes needed to avoid a filibuster, Republicans are relishing the opportunity to make a big statement.
…"We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time," said Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), one of several younger congressmen seeking to lead the party's renewal. "It's not a sign that we're back to where we need to be, but it's a sign that we're beginning to find our voice. We're standing on our core principles, and the core principle that suffered the most in recent years was fiscal conservatism and economic liberty. That was the tallest pole in our tent, and we took an ax to it, but now we're building it back."
The party, these Republicans say, need only hold true to its small-government principles for a center-right electorate to gravitate back. That means rejecting the stimulus package and offering in its place an alternative package centered mostly on tax cuts, as House Republicans did last week."Objective Journalism" = dismissively framing a woman's right to control her reproduction as an old culture war, like funding the NEA. No more important than that, really. Not a fundamental disagreement over whether woman are autonomous and equal human beings who should be afforded the same freedom, and respect for their choices, as men. Nope. Just a spending issue.
It also means focusing the stimulus critique on relatively small slivers of the package that echo old culture wars, such as spending for contraceptives and for the National Endowment for the Arts.
It's pretty easy to get back on top when the ref is in your corner, never calling foul.