Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Credibility Gap

Republican Whip Eric Cantor's appearance on "Meet The Press" very clearly underscored the major hurdle that the GOP must overcome to regain national prominence. Rep. Cantor was in the midst of complaining about the reckless spending habits of the current Democratic Administration when the host, David Gregory, reminded him of his personal participation in the Bush Administration's eight year spending orgy. Mr. Gregory questioned how Representative Cantor and his Party leaders could criticize the Democrats for overspending after their abysmal fiscal record in recent years. Representative Cantor's answer was as self destructive as it was dishonest and insincere. He implied that the massive GOP budgets during the Bush years were mainly to support the troops, ignoring the fact that the money to run the wars was intentionally left out of every Bush budget and had to be appropriated through emergency spending measures. He also made the shocking argument that the Democrats should not make the same mistakes that the GOP had made during the Bush years.

Representative Cantor's argument was, to some extent, reasonable although not as he meant it. His argument, as I see it, is that his Party is fighting to insure that the Democrats are not as fiscally irresponsible as the Republicans. Though the premise is quite reasonable, it certainly is not one that would influence voters to abandon the Democratic Party and vote Republican. The 2009 GOP is modern day proof of the age old saying, "you can't talk yourself out of something that you have behaved yourself into." Eight years of bad behavior has destroyed the credibility of the Republican Party. There isn't much left that they can complain about without facing charges of hypocrisy. Other than right wing radio talk shows and Fox News, there are few media outlets on which they can attack the Democrats and go unchallenged.

The hapless leadership of Michael Steele coupled with an argument that accents their own disastrous fiscal record is setting the GOP up for a third consecutive drubbing in the 2010 elections and complete political irrelevancy. If their misfortunes continue unchecked, their Congressional power will be so insignificant that they will go from the Party of "NO" to the Party of "PLEASE DON'T."

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