GOP, 'Party of No' No More?

Republicans struggle to maintain unified obstruction

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As Democrats pass health care reform without a single Republican vote, the GOP strategy of being the "party of no" may be in trouble. Republicans have worked hard to obstruct the Democratic majorities under President Obama, and they have indeed succeeded in thwarting a great deal. But is the tactic still working? Or might it be time to reevaluate?

  • The Unintended Consequence of 'Unified No'  Liberal blogger John Quiggin points out that when the only GOP idea is "no," it eliminates intra-party diversity of opinion and exchange of ideas. The result? "The Republicans have become the Party of No in another sense. Having been the party of initiative since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, they are back to their more accustomed role as the party of reaction."
  • Why Health Care Obstructionism Can't Work  The New York Times' Adam Nagourney explains that Republicans face "crosscurrents" in whether to continue obstructing in the name of opposing health care reform. On the one hand, the reform bill overall is unpopular. But on the other, its most popular provisions go into effect immediately, while the contentious cost-control measures do not go into effect for years. "Republicans also face the question of what happens if the health care bill does not create the cataclysm that they warned of during the many months of debate." It would not look good.
  • Conservative Dems Aid GOP Obstruction  The Washington Post's Ezra Klein says right-leaning Democrats made the Republican strategy possible. "As it turned out, conservative Democrats were willing to do a lot of the Republicans' policy work for them: They removed the public option and cut down the subsidies and killed the employer mandate. And the administration began with a proposal that was broadly centrist anyway. So though Republicans convinced themselves they hated this bill, most of their specific concerns were addressed." He sighs, "I doubt you'll see much cooperation on issue so long the odds remain on the side of obstructionism and inaction."
  • Will Media Call Them Out?  Liberal blogger John Cole, reacting to Sen. John McCain's pledge of unified opposition, makes the liberal blogger rallying cry: the media is accountable. "Oh no! Not obstructionism! They wouldn’t dare try that! What is amazing is that a Senator is openly saying '**** the nation’s business, we’re a bunch of kids,' and no one in the media will point out how worthless and childish the Republicans are. Even worse, no one is even surprised."
  • We Should Embrace 'Party of No'  So advises conservative blogger Erick Erickson, pushing fellow Republicans to repeal health care. "So fearful of being labeled the 'Party of No', the Senate Republicans cannot bring themselves to give a full throated defense of the proposition that this monstrosity should be repealed. They will instead go with nibbling at the edges."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.