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Obama Better Hope The GOP Reads Politico

In their latest insightful dispatch from the Village’s conventional wisdom parallel universe, Politico comedy duo VandeHei & Allen explain to us how fortunate the Republicans are that the sober and fiscal-minded tea party grown-ups dragged them kicking and screaming away from irrational Obama hatred to a laser focus on budget cuts, which most Americans want because they stimulate the economy and create jobs.  This savvy change in focus is why they won big last year and will win big again next year.

Seriously, I am not making this up:

Republicans in Congress, key states such as Wisconsin and around the country are all consumed with one thing: cutting spending at the federal, state and local levels. The shouts of most activists have changed from “Show me your birth certificate” in the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency, to “Show me your budget cuts” today.

That has allowed conservatives who are credible in a governing context – Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, and others – to dominate the national debate instead of more flamboyant and controversial figures such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, who hogged the headlines in the spring of 2009. [Remember: This shift in focus is because of the teabaggers]

“The things that Americans are most concerned about are economic growth and job creation — the country can’t spend itself rich,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is likely to challenge Obama, said in an interview….

[T]he tea party, treated at first by the media as exotics, forced Republicans to focus almost exclusively on the size of government. By the time the 2010 elections rolled around, tea party activists and most independent voters were completely aligned on the need to cut, cut, cut.  Midterm election results showed that this approach offers the GOP its best – and maybe only – hope of keeping the interests of independents and tea party activists aligned enough to beat Obama.

Barring an economic turnaround big enough and jobby enough for everyone to notice, this is probably the best chance that Obama and the Democrats have in 2012, that the Republicans decide to campaign on their budget credentials and brag about all the spending they’ve cut, especially if said cuts have failed to create jobs (I know, crazy talk).

I’m picturing an Old Spice Guy-style commercial with lines like “I just slashed spending for that thing you love!  Look again!  Your program is now tax cuts!”… I’m just not sure whether it would be a sarcastic Democratic commercial or a sincere Republican one.  Or, alas, a sincere Democratic one.

For the umpteenth time:

1) Americans are worried about the economy and jobs a whole lot more than they’re worried about the deficit.

2) The Democrats got destroyed last year because Obama’s timid stimulus didn’t produce enough jobs and their base got fed up with President Hopey-Changey governing like a Republican and treating them like garbage. (See also: #1)

3) To the extent that Americans are worried about the deficit, poll after poll shows that they would rather cut defense spending and tax the rich than cut Social Security or government in general.

4) If the Republicans want “shared sacrifice,” then let’s see that sacrifice truly shared by everybody, not just us peons.  Let the corporations and the millionaires chip in – not only can they afford it more than anybody else, but they are, as Willie Sutton would wouldn’t say, where the money is.  If they had to make “sacrifices” comparable to those of teachers and other government workers, we’d probably have enough money to completely overhaul our infrastructure and pay off the national debt.

Of course, Republicans bragging about their government-drowning prowess will only help Obama and the Democrats if they’re offering an alternative to it, and not insisting that they can hurt working people just as effectively as the GOP if we just give them another chance.

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