If the GOP wants to win the next round of fiscal debates, maybe they should adopt some of Obama’s tactics

Marc A. Thiessen, writing in the Washington Post, urges the GOP to act more like its chief antagonist, President Obama.  First, the President put forward a questionable stimulus package (which all indicators seem to show, didn’t work).  He did so over a chorus of objections from the minority party.  But he held fast.  Next, the President pushed a massive (and arguably far too costly) health care reform.  At the time, the GOP (and America) was stoutly against

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Obamacare, and offered a high-profile rebuke of his planned policies by electing Scott Brown (in Massachusetts of all places).  What did he do?   He pushed it through anyway.  Eventually, he was rebuffed in 2010 when the house was taken over by the GOP in a history defeat which made 1994 seem mild.  No matter, President Obama pushed forward.  (Perhaps there’s something to that motto of his: “Forward.”)  Whether you agree with his principals or not, Obama sticks to them…come what may.  Marc Thiessen says that this pattern should be followed by the GOP in the looming budgetary fights:

Republicans should take a page from Obama’s playbook, do what they think is right, use all the leverage at their disposal and stop worrying about the electoral consequences. If they learn anything from Obama’s victories, it should be this: Voters reward conviction politicians who fight for what they believe in — even when they disagree with them. Pandering does not work.

The GOP’s next test comes in a few weeks time, when the deadline to raise the debt limit is reached. Democrats are gearing up to demand $1 trillion in new taxes as the price for any spending reductions. Republican leaders have said that they will not accept any more tax increases, [period — and that spending cuts are the price for a debt-limit increase.

Obama will be forgiven if he sees this as a bluff. Let’s hope he is wrong.

In the last debtlimit showdown, Republicans set an important benchmark with the “Boehner rule” — requiring at least one dollar in spending cuts for every dollar in debt limit increase. This is the absolute floor of what the GOP should demand. Unlike the fiscal-cliff standoff, Republicans hold all the leverage in the debt-limit fight — because Obama cannot allow the country to default. Republicans should emulate Obama and use their leverage without hesitation — demanding deep spending cuts and structural reforms to entitlements as the price for any increase in borrowing authority.

Make no mistake: If the roles were reversed, Obama would not hesitate to use the threat of default to break his political opposition. He didn’t flinch from using the threat of a recession to force Republicans to break their no-tax pledge. He didn’t hesitate to use arcane parliamentary strong-arm tactics to pass Obamacare. Obama uses every ounce of political power at his disposal to get what he wants. It’s admirable, really. He has core beliefs and is willing to put everything on the line for them.

It’s time that Republicans did the same. If the GOP wants a path out of the political wilderness, they should start acting more like the current occupant of the Oval Office.

2012 election: good for Pres. Obama, not so good for those down the ticket

Michael Barone has an interesting column where he examines the down ballot races. His focus is on the outcome of the Democratic battles in congress and state houses in light of the shifts due to reapportionment from the 2010 census results. While it is true that Republicans blew up their hopes of gaining a majority in the Senate, the numbers beyond that are not encouraging for the Democrats:

Between 2008 and 2012, they gained seats in only three states: Delaware, where a popular Republican ran for the Senate in 2010; Maryland, thanks to Democratic redistricting; and California, where a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting commission was dominated by Democrats.

The reapportionment process following the 2010 Census cost Democrats some seats because their strong states had relatively little population growth. They have five fewer seats in New York, for example.

The reapportionment effect was strengthened because the 2010 backlash against Democrats gave Republicans control of redistricting in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, all of which lost seats, and North Carolina, which stayed the same.

As a result, in the 113th Congress, as compared to the 111th, there will be three fewer Democrats from Michigan, six fewer from Ohio, seven fewer from Pennsylvania and four fewer from North Carolina.

Democratic losses were greatest in the South, which gained seven seats from reapportionment. There will be 22 fewer Southern Democrats and 29 more Southern Republicans in the House next year than there were in 2009.

Another way to look at it: 123 of 201 House Democrats will be from the Northeast, the West Coast, Hawaii and Illinois. Only 23 are from the Midwest outside of Illinois and only 42 from the South.

Obama was able to build his electoral vote majority thanks to big Democratic majorities from core constituencies concentrated in these states, which gave him 207 electoral votes.

But the concentration of blacks, Hispanics and gentry liberals means there are fewer Democratic votes in the suburbs, the countryside and the geographic heartland. The Obama campaign strategy concentrated on turning out core voters. That left House Democrats short of the votes they needed elsewhere.