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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tomasky: GOP Flirts with Economic Sabotage

Michael Tomasky has a well-argued post up at The Daily Beast about the Republicans’ stake in a worsening economy. As Tomasky puts it, “the GOP has more invested in economic failure than any out-party I can remember in my lifetime.” Further, Tomasky adds:

…The GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected. The Republicans have to do this delicately, of course; they can’t be open about it lest it become too obvious that harming the economy is their goal. But they have to be aggressive enough about it for their efforts to bear some actual (rotten) fruit. There are three fronts–gas prices, jobs, and the budget–on which we should keep our eyes open for signs that the Republicans are trying to achieve Mitch McConnell’s No. 1 goal for America.

Tomasky notes that the Republicans are especially heartened by the hike in prices at the pump:

…The gas situation is perfect for the GOP for two reasons. First, there’s very little a president can actually do about gas prices. Second, even though those prices don’t really tell us much about the more general economy, most people have the impression that they do, so for the out-party, it’s just a free whack.
No one can blame Republicans for using Obama as a piñata on the issue. But here’s what they can be blamed for. What is causing these high prices? Not low supply and high demand, which is what they teach you in school. In fact, supply is high–domestic oil production is at its highest point in years, higher under this allegedly business-hating president than under oilmen Bush and Cheney. And demand has been low because of the economy, although it’s now picking up.

Tomasky explains that the heavy layoffs of public sector workers last year have slowed considerably, leading to increasing talk about Boehner and the GOP reneging on the budget deal and calling for deeper cuts in spending and public employment. All of which puts the GOP in a morally indefensible position. As Tomasky concludes:

Every out-party does a little discreet cheering for the economy to be weak. But the GOP has put itself in a unique position. By opposing everything Obama wanted with such ferocity; by saying all those thousands of times that he had no clue about the economy; by sending out a parade of presidential candidates, from the semi-serious to the clown posse, all of whose central criticism of Obama is that he killed the economy–in all of these ways the party has more invested in economic failure than any out-party I can remember in my lifetime. Its best hope for now is gas prices, but even they eventually get lower, usually by late summer. Beyond that, all the GOP has to rely on is Mitt Romney’s unstoppable charisma.

Saber-rattling to jack up gas prices and pushing for lay-offs to slow the recovery — it’s a sad legacy for a once-great political party.

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