“We’re already in a gridlock situation, and nothing substantive is going to change. Clearly, a weak economy in 2012 will be very good for whoever the Republican presidential candidate is. It’s hard to see how the Republicans lose by blocking stimulus.”
It’s a telling quote from someone with impeccable conservative credentials (leading advocate of supply-side economics, service in the Reagan and Bush Sr administrations, employed at Heritage and Cato; see Wikipedia for details). This was described on the FM website in the post reprinted below. As the sky darkens over the US economy, it could easily bring the Republicans victory in November 2010 — and 2012.
Republicans have found a sure-fire path to victory in the November elections, 5 February 2010 (with an update from here)
The Republic Party appears to have found an almost sure-fire tactic to sweep the November 2010 elections: the worse, the better. Obstruct everything, good or bad. Offer compromises only to confuse your opponents. The American people will blame Obama and the Democratic Party for the resulting disaster.
This tactical insight was a key part of Lenin’s strategy and is attributed to Nikolay Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky. From Wikipedia:
Chernyshevsky (1828 – 1889) was a Russian revolutionary democrat, materialist philosopher, critic, and socialist. He was the leader of the revolutionary democratic movement of the 1860s, and was an influence on Vladimir Lenin and Emma Goldman and Serbian political writer and socialist Svetozar Marković.
It’s brilliant and probably a winning move, given…
- Obama’s original error of too-small a stimulus in early 2009 (as Krugman and Delong warned),
- Obama’s political inexperience (obviously not ready for the big chair), and
- the successful propaganda about the efficacy of Hoover’s liquidationist economics (all those Econ 101 professors taught in vain).
The Republicans will campaign claiming they have a magic nostrum to bring prosperity. They will spin victory in November as a repudiation of the Democrats, of economics, perhaps of arithmetic (see here and here). This shows rational self-government, just like that in a paleolithic tribe. If the rains come we see this as a sign of God’s favor, so we reward the Chief. Failure of the rains shows the God’s anger, requiring sacrifice.
If the Republicans win on a “stimulus is ineffective” and “deficits are bad” platform, what will they do if the economy has a second leg down (aka double dip recession, which often happens)? Preach austerity? Tactics that win might prevent success once in power.
Other posts about the Republican Party
- What happens to the Republican Party after the election?, 2 November 2008
- R.I.P., G.O.P. – a well-deserved end, 7 November 2008
- The evolution of the Republican Party has shaped America during the past fifty years, 8 May 2010
- Two contrasting views of the Republican Party, 23 May 2010
- Let’s play “Name that Liberal”
- Let’s play round 2 of “Name That Liberal”
- Let’s play round 3 of “Name That Liberal”
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