I don’t know whether to praise the Republicans or pity them.
On one hand, they’ve been given chance after chance to “bring it,” in term of ideas to address the crises we face — an act of astounding generosity, if you ask me, extended to a party that worked very hard for a very long time to bring us to this point — and they’ve consistently shown up empty-handed. I muster some admiration for someone who brings the best survival knife to a fight, because at least he brought something. But to show up empty-handed is, well, pitiful.
On the other hand,I have to give them credit. In the face of current political and economic realities, it takes work — hard, grueling work — to not “get it.” Their “(Dead End) Road to Recovery” shows that when it comes to not “getting it,” Republicans are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and plunge in.
Take a minute and read it yourself. (It’s 19 pages. So, it won’t take long.)
I won’t repeat what’s already been said, and said very well, about the utter lack of details, the compete absence of numbers (something even George W. Bush knew a budget is supposed have), or the omission of so much as a hint of how their plan would reduce the deficit, because … well … some conservatives have already done that for me.
Staffers assured me after yesterday’s press conference that alternative budgets are always presented this way — with details coming only at the last minute. But the document that’s currently available to the public here, while it contains a lot of very broad ideas that most of our readers would agree with, does not even give a ballpark idea of where the GOP budget would leave us. Would it leave us with deficits half as large as the president’s? Twice as large? Would they balance the budget?
I can only add that the Republicans’ (numberless, detail-free) “budget” proposal achieves new depths in what a favorite college professor of mine used to call “self-evasion of the mind”, something I’ve come to define as the act of contorting the mind so as not to have to see or acknowledge what is obvious to anyone who looks.
Put bluntly, it means working very had at having no idea.
In the face of an economic downturn that reveals new depths every day — an economy that continues to shrink, where disappearing jobs are becoming the norm, and the only growth is in the ranks of the unemployed — Republicans started out blaming minorities for the economic crash (just for fun, someone should put invite Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the next GOP caucus meeting), and then moved on to suggesting that government “Let the markets crash!” and recommending the remaining remnant of our industrial sector “drop dead.”
Now, their “Road to Recovery” shows that the party has reached a dead end, and inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) told Americans the truth: When it comes meeting the challenges America faces, and relieving the increasing economic pain visited upon our families and communities, they have no ideas.
The question is what their arrival at this dead end signifies. Are they just out of gas? Or have they — and we — finally arrived at the destination they had in mind all along?
After all, thirty years of their best thinking, and policy making paved the road we travelled to get here.