The Republican default setting of passing every buck that can’t be pocketed was in full display at last night’s GOP debate, while their willingness to take credit for every Democratic achievement of the past 50 years increased.
Newt Gingrich continues in his attempt to rewrite history. The Historian Who Isn’t would have us believe that the excellences of the 1990s were the result of his and Tom DeLay’s obstructionist Congress, that President Clinton did not sit competently at the helm during that Golden Age of America.
A Golden Age indeed, at least in contrast to the debacle to come, the nigh collapse caused by the arrogance and ignorance of Bush the Child.
Three of the four Republican nominees are cut from the same cloth as Bush the Younger, and would give us more of his ill-considered policies. All three would continue to slash taxes on the rich, and would continue to explode (in more ways than one) the military’s budget into the stratosphere. Government expansion would continue, and we would waste our blood and resources on the shores of every foreign entanglement we could gin up. (The fourth nominee, Ron Paul, pursues policies that would make him anathema to the power structure should he have a real chance of winning: cut the military’s overseas spending, close our foreign bases, bring our troops home. We would fear for his safety were his polling numbers more consequential.) The budget – balanced during the Clinton Era – would see less revenue and increased spending, and we would continue to be as unsafe as we were during the Bush years. Let us not forget that W.’s incompetence resulted in the World Trade Center attack. Let us never forget that, and let us never let the Republicans forget that.
Newt Gingrich’s sole reference to the 9-11 attacks were to try to blame them for the economic collapse of the Bush Era – again, passing the buck in classic Republican fashion.
The tune the Republicans play wears thin, as serious people continue to clean up the mess of the spoiled child who inhabited the White House for eight years. They continue to let us know what they’re all about: spend spend spend in an attempt to bully the world, refuse to tax enough to pay for their follies, then find some poor sap getting a few hundred a month in food stamps and blame him for it. Their song plays sweetly on the ears of their demented base, but its unharmonious screech will send the rest of America running in the direction of the only grown-up in the room.
Last night’s debate winner was Barack Obama. Of the four standing on the stage, the new front-runner in Florida – Newt Gingrich by nine points in current polls – took some blows for his lobbying work, but he continues to embody that Place of Wrath most sad, discomfited Republicans detect in the depths of their unwell bodies. He can win if he is adequately organized, but there’s the rub – the Romney machine chugs along in all 50 states, while Mr. Gingrich scarcely has a machine. Which matters, frankly – he’s not qualified for the ballot in Virginia, for instance, rendering all 49 delegates of its winner-take-all primary slated for the Romney score column.
Overall, we still would bet on Mr. Romney to win the primary, but Mr. Gingrich has momentum, and in his flesh and jowls and tiny eyes looks so much the external manifestation of the what the GOP is all about, that we cannot count him out. We continue to expect a protracted battle, and we look forward to America getting to know what the Republican Party is all about.