Gary Markstein

Grand Obstructionist Party

| William Kristol's column in today's Washington Post (25-Feb-2009) would be a real howler if it weren't so pathetic. In a piece titled "Republicans' Day of Reckoning" Kristol urged Republicans to do anything they can, "try in any way possible to break Obama's momentum."

Republicans and the neo-conservatives ran the show for the last eight years and made a colossal mess of things: two wars, mind-boggling deficits, tax goodies for the rich, torture, shredding of the Constitution, and now the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

America voted the rascals out and elected a Democratic who ran promising Change. The Right should be licking its wounds, begging for forgiveness, and trying to learn from their failures. Instead they have committed themselves to making those who are trying to solve the problem fail.

Kristol writes:

Obama's aim is not merely to "revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity." Obama outlined much of this new foundation in the most unabashedly liberal and big-government speech a president has delivered to Congress since Lyndon Baines Johnson. Obama intends to use his big three issues -- energy, health care and education -- to transform the role of the federal government as fundamentally as did the New Deal and the Great Society.

And what's wrong with "a new foundation for lasting prosperity"? Sounds pretty good to me. Although Conservatives would like to repeal the New Deal and roll-back the Great Society, most people see those a good things, things that changed our society in profound and beneficial ways. We do want new policies for energy, health care and education. This is why we elected Obama. Let's hope for another such transformation!

Kristol actually recognizes this:

Conservatives can't win politically right now. But they can raise doubts, they can point out other issues that we can't ignore (especially in national security and foreign policy), they can pick other fights -- and they can try in any way possible to break Obama's momentum. Only if this happens will conservatives be able to get a hearing for their (compelling, in my view) arguments against big-government, liberal-nanny-state social engineering -- and for their preferred alternatives.

In other words, "Don't let him succeed." There are such gaping holes in Kristol's argument. First, if the arguments were so compelling, Obama wouldn't have won. He did. Second, nobody is proposing a "liberal-nanny-state" — what we all want is a government that works, that will "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Kristol has been drinking too much of his own Kool-Aid:

There is much more of a record of liberal failures to look back on now than when the New Deal and the Great Society were being rushed through. Conservatism is more sophisticated than it was back then. So there is no reason to despair.

It's pretty rich for one of the head cheerleaders for the Bush regime to be talking about "liberal failures"! Look in the mirror Mr Kristol. He claims that Conservatism is more sophisticated now. The stark record of failure belies that claim. In the 1920s and 1930s we had the Robber Barons. In the 1990s and 2000s we have the Bankers. Same thinking, same failure.

Kristol exhorts Republicans:

Republicans need to show a tactical agility and political toughness far greater than their predecessors did in the 1960s and the 1930s ... [or they will be] reduced to the unpleasant role of bystanders or the unattractive status of complainers, as Barack Obama makes history.

Sorry, Kristol. Your advice comes too late. Republicans are already bystanders and complainers. Instead of bewailing the fact that Obama may make history (actually he already has), you should be hoping he does and trying to help him!

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Last updated on Jul 15, 2016

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