With all the noise over the Cordoba House, I read with sad resignation this letter sent to David Kurtz at TalkingPointsMemo . The Republicans run the symbolic issues every time, because they know they’ll lose on substance. So they use whatever symbolic wedge issues they can find — Swift Boats, gay marriage, elitism, “family values,” etc. — to win.
The key paragraph for me, though, came at the end:
I appreciate what you are doing in terms of bearing witness to conservative anti-Muslim bigotry, but really, we need to drag the political conversation back to the important issues. The real problems our county faces are too important to once again have ourselves get dragged down into a six month long fight on some manufactured non-issue that Frank Luntz thinks polls well.
I agree wholeheartedly. With about 3 months left until the election, it’s worth considering what’s at stake in this election. Sometimes, we need a reminder of exactly what a Republican Congress might mean.
Pretty much everyone agrees that the Republicans are going to run right over the Democrats, and the fragile economy is looking worse, which means more fodder for Republicans and more dissatisfaction with Democrats. It’s a tough break, but that’s just how it goes.
But I would point out that the Republicans will make the economy much worse, particularly if a double-dip recession occurs. Consider the words of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the “moderate, reasonable” Republican on new legislation in Congress, such as the health care reform bill:
“The best thing we can do is calm down,” he told ABC’s “This Week,” adding, “I sat down with a business this week — I’ll give you an example — and they’re looking at the healthcare bill, and they’re trying to decide, should they keep people under 30 hours? Smaller businesses are saying, should we stay under 25?”
OK, first of all, this is clear malarkey. Business was fine right after the passage of the health care reform bill, and banks are pulling in good profit numbers after the passage of the financial reform bill. It’s hard to argue that the reform bills “caused” “economic uncertainty.”
The solution the Republicans have? Reinstate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy!
As many have pointed out, this is so ludicrous as to border on the pathological.
If Republicans win big in the fall, any chance for real stimulus in the event of a double-dip recession will be impossible. Republicans will spend their energy blocking all legislation that Democrats try to pass, and the logjam in the Senate will grow even worse. Even mild stimulus will likely meet with vociferous opposition, and we’ll have even worse political gridlock, preventing any and all action to deal with the deepening economic crisis.
With a Republican Congress, there would have been no stimulus package, no Cash for Clunkers, no auto industry rescue, no financial reform after the collapse of the banks, no attempt to rein in health care costs, no bailout for the states to keep hundreds of thousands of workers employed, no unemployment benefits for those out of work and still searching. Millions more Americans would be out of work, with nowhere to find work and no income. And that’s the future Republicans promise if they get into office.
The Republicans will play the distraction game all day, but it’s up to Democrats to change the conversation back to the issues that matter. The economy is in shaky shape, with mixed reports (increased industrial output here, decreasing home prices there, etc.) of health, but a push in the wrong direction and we could be looking at a new Long Recession.