What a tough week for the GOP and supporters on the Right. It seems as if every event brought nothing but bad news:
U.S. Gross Domestic Product Rises for 3rd Consecutive Quarter. This follows 4 consecutive quarters of negative GDP. Could be a possible tipping point towards moderate, sustained future growth. More importantly, consumers are buying, reflecting economic optimism. If you saddle Obama with the economy (“Stop blaming Bush!”), be careful it doesn’t get better in time for November.
Health Insurance Companies Adopt Popular Reform Measures Early. Dozens of carriers have decided to allow adult children (interesting oxymoron – perhaps I qualify) to remain on their parents’ plans, 4 months before it becomes mandatory. The major carriers have stopped their rescission practices (dropping customers who are sick and actually need health services) before required by law to do so. It will be hard to argue for repeal now that carriers have already begun to implement these popular changes.
Arizona Requires Identity Papers to be Presented On Demand. Here’s an interesting no-win political scenario. Side in favor of the law, and you are supporting an overreaching government that cannot be trusted, one that will use any excuse to infringe on personal freedoms. Side against the law, and you’re indifferent to the endless invasion of the undocumented into our country. George W. Bush was successful in encouraging Latinos, the largest ethnic voting group, to consider the family values friendly GOP. Now, the risk exists that a generation of Latinos will reliably vote Democratic.
Gulf Coast Rig Bleeds Oil Towards U.S. Coastline. “Drill, baby, drill!” Oops. Bad timing. The calls from the Right will be…more regulation? “No, we’re anti-government regulation because it hurts our global competitiveness.” Less regulation? Not sure that position will poll well in the coastal states, whose economic livelihood is now threatened. Instead, the early read is that the Right is choosing neither option. At this point, they are blaming Obama for not cleaning it up fast enough.
The problem here for the Republicans in the coming months is photographic. If you thought the photo of Bush looking out the window of Air Force One during his fly over of the Gulf Coast post-Katrina was a PR nightmare, wait until the dead birds and fish covered in oil starting washing ashore. Quick, America – when you think of oil companies, what political party comes to mind first? The images will last well into November midterms, and probably beyond.
Charlie Crist Bolts the GOP to Run for Senate. This guy was on the short list for the VP slot in 2008, and less than 2 years later, he’s a pariah, posed to split the vote and hand the seat to a Democrat. Not good. All it does is inflame the talk about the ideological purity test that is winnowing the ranks of electable Republicans. RHINOs though they may be.
Dow Remains Steady Above 11,000. Under Democratic watch, the stock market has rebounded and retirement accounts are recovering a bit. A few of my personal friends from the Right were betting on the Dow hitting 5,000 last summer. Not quite. It would appear that our nation’s biggest supporters of capitalism are not as afraid of the coming Obama-led Socialist takeover as the Right is.
Goldman Sachs Executive Grilled on Capitol Hill. The greed of Wall Street was on full display, under oath, while the GOP voted 3 straight times NOT to open debate on financial reforms, preferring to negotiate behind the scenes first. Wait, I thought “transparency” was a GOP talking point. Not this month, and not on this issue, I guess. The contrast between Wall Street under investigation and the debate stalling tactics in the Senate was striking, and hard to spin in the GOP’s favor.
We have a long way to go, but so far, based on results, a reasonable argument can be made that the “hope-y, change-y” thing is working out pretty well.