Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Unintended

(Unintended Consequences, Lee Roy Beach) Everyone knows various versions of the tale where one obtains what one has long desired, but instead of the anticipated fulfillment, the results are unforeseen and sometimes disastrous. Remember Terry Jones, the minister who announced plans to burn the Qur'an? He got the attention he wanted, with unintended consequences.

Many in the GOP have been screaming for the last two years about what they would like to burn. Their takeover of the House has already generated seismic shifts in national sentiments and the electricity in the network of the nation's political discourse. John Boehner is Speaker of the House, a house with a considerable number of tea party candidates.

Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann are making proposals. Paul's include eliminating the Affordable Housing Program, the Commission on Fine Arts, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State Justice Institute. He would also eliminate the Consumer Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, and slash others as follows:

Legislative branch -- 23%
Federal courts -- 32%
Agriculture Department -- 30%
Commerce Department -- 54%
Health and Human Services -- 26%
Homeland Security -- 43%
Interior Department -- 78%

Oh, and eliminate food stamps.

Bachmann's ideas add: cap Veterans Affairs health care spending, privatize the Transportation Safety Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and Amtrak, repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing.

The ideas of these new representatives don't feel the same as they did when spoken at tea party rallies.

Obama's numbers are climbing (1/13-17/2011 NBC-WSJ poll), but this occurred before the State of the Union, which has only fortified his numbers. What initiated the jump? The tragedy in Tucson? Without question the horrific violence shed the hateful rhetoric in a different light, but his eulogy at the University of Arizona, even with the country's tendency to come together after a tragedy, seems insufficient to shift his approval numbers so dramatically.

The GOP's victory in the House replaced its bash Pelosi privileges with a job. It also installs President Obama as the most visible and reliable line of defense against people who apparently want to return this country to the Stone Age. Unlike Jones, Speaker Boehner doesn't have the option to proclaim, "Never mind!" and tell his folks to take the signs down and go home.

Now seen as a voice of reason and intellect protecting a center against extremism, Obama becomes the face of progress so hard won over two centuries. This will continue to fuel approval of his presidency and dramatically enhances his re-election bid in 2012.


Blogger Sirocco said...

Hmmmm ... it's easy to portray Obama as "the last line of defense" and people supposedly getting worried about Republican plans now that they are, you know, actually in position to implement them ... yet, given the set of seats being contested in the Senate in 2012 it's very likely Republicans will gain control of that chamber as well, which would seem to contradict the whole "people are getting worried about Republican plans" argument.

I hope I am wrong, of course, and Dems gain Senate seats, but it's not the way I would bet right now.

1/27/2011 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen other articles suggesting that a Republican capture of the House would strengthen Obama in 2012 for reasons like x4mr describes, except not with the specific proposals he mentions.

I like what x4mr wrote about how the victory replaced its bash Pelosi privileges with a job.

Regarding what you said about the Senate, I think what happens there will depend a great deal on what Republicans actually do in the next 20 months.

If in 20 months, all they've done is bash Obama with petty Palin style jabs and thwart any efforts to accomplish anything, well, I think the country is losing its patience.

1/27/2011 12:50 PM  

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