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July 22, 2009
Can the Schadenfreude, GOP
One detects the acrid odor of hubris wafting from Republican quarters, the kind of hubris that leaves egg on the face of those arrogant enough to celebrate prematurely a flailing president's political demise.
While pointing out favorable (to Republicans) trends, Republicans need to avoid gloating lest they have their prematurely triumphal blogs and articles thrown back at them if, Clinton-like, Obama's numbers do a complete turnaround, and Obama resumes and even intensifies his egotistical preening, while his supporters gloat, "Hey, GOP, remember when you were publishing smug "analyses" of every decline in Obama's numbers?" Right now, it's fun writing about Obama's falling numbers - but what will I write if, tomorrow, Obama's numbers are soaring? Indeed, in today's Rasmussen poll, Obama's Approval Index has ticked up two points from its low of -8 and his overall approval rating remains above 50% What if those numbers are signaling a trend reversal and Obama recovery?
I still recall, after the GOP won control of Congress in '94, buying a Clinton Countdown Calender, denoting the number of days till the anticipated end of his presidency on January 20, 1997 - which, of course, turned out to be waaaay premature. When Clinton's popularity was in the cellar over the budget impasse, when all the GOP needed to do was stick to their principles and hold on and win, House Republicans caved. Clinton recovered and Republicans lost House and Senate seats in every election from then on. Never, ever underestimate the ability of the Stupid Party to shoot itself in the foot - and hand Obama an undeserved second term on a silver platter.
Much better, in this writer's view, to enjoy today's Rasmussen Poll showing 53% of likely voters now opposed to the Democrats' health care "bill," "reform," "system" or whatever. Or this one giving Republicans a four point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot - a lead, incidentally, that the GOP has, for the first time in Obama's presidency, held for four weeks consecutively.
However improbable it may seem today, it certainly is possible for the economy to tick up and unemployment to tick down, in spite of Obama's policies, for him to take, and get, credit for the recovery and to be comfortably reelected in 2012. The Israelis might also take out Iran's nuclear program, removing it as a threat to us and problem for Obama, at the same time allowing Obama to make harsh anti-Israel speeches to appease his Arab compadres (while inwardly thanking Israel).
So yes, talk about a possible recovery of GOP fortunes. Point out the majority party's present-time difficulties. Note Obama's current stumblings, congressional Democrats' trepidations at voting for his legislation, their inability even to write a coherent healthcare "reform." But don't write Obama and the Democrats off. Don't predict the future.
And above all, can the schadenfreude. It's ugly, unbecoming and worst of all, may come back to haunt -- and taunt us. There will be plenty of time for celebrating if and when the final nail is pounded into Obama's political coffin anda new, Republican, president takes the Oath of Office in 2013. Or as Ogden Nash put it:
Pray, butcher, spare yon tender calf!
Accept my plea on his behalf;
He's but a babe, too young by far
To perish in the abattoir.
Oh, cruel butcher, let him feed
And gambol on the verdant mead;
Let clovertops and grassy banks
Fill out those childish ribs and flanks.
Then may we, at some future meal,
Pitch into beef, instead of veal.