Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GOP Rep. McHenry Puts Republican Interests Over National Interests

Republican Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina was unusually direct in describing his party's strategy. No, it's not offering constructive alternatives to the issues of most concern to the American people during this time of crisis. Instead, it's all a numbers game:

“We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Keith Olbermann of "Countdown" considered the implications of McHenry's comments: “Did he just give away the secrets in the Republican vault? I mean, can we accept from here on out that nothing the Republicans might do or say is meant to be constructive, but literally, it is meant to be destructive?”

Olbermann's guest on "Countdown," Richard Wolffe of "Newsweek," posed a pertinent analogy: “Had Democrats tried to do something similar in the wake of 9/11 and said our focus is going to be on the midterms, well, you can only imagine what the debate and the reaction would have been.”

Writing on his blog The Plum Line, Greg Sargent reports, "McHenry’s description of his party’s goal–to 'bring down approval numbers' for Nancy Pelosi and House Dems–is being much talked about today among Congressional Dems. It’s likely that Dems will grab on to the quote today to bolster their charge that Congressional Republicans aren’t interested in playing a constructive role in governing and see their hope for political revival in the eventual failure of the Democratic majority’s policies."

Steve Benen also commented in The Washington Monthly on the Republicans' cynical tactics:

Most of the time, Republican leaders will maintain the fiction, at least in public, that they're serious about good-faith negotiations with the majority party. They'll say how willing they are to engage in a constructive debate, with the goal being improved public policy.

But once in a while, they'll drop the facade. We hear one GOP lawmaker say the party will emulate the insurgency tactics of the
Taliban. We hear another say the party should position itself as "freedom fighters" taking on the "slide toward socialism." We hear another say the party's principal "goal" is to bring down Democrats' poll numbers.

...it's a reminder of why Democratic leaders are making a mistake if they plan on looking to the minority party as credible and sincere governing partners. As Joe Klein recently
argued, the president "should have no illusions about the good faith of his opponents."

No comments: