By Brent Budowsky - 02/23/10 12:56 AM EST
In the worst riverboat gamble in modern political history, the Republican Party is betting that America fails, a bad bet that hands Democrats the narrative to bring a blue comeback in 2010.
Republicans have so poorly positioned their party that they have a huge political interest in the jobless rate rising and the economy falling. Good news for America becomes bad news for Republicans.
Modern Republicanism is Reaganism in reverse. Reagan projected optimism. Republicans today project pessimism. Reagan believed in a big-tent GOP. Republicans today view moderation as the enemy. Ronald Reagan would never have allowed his Republican Party to place the big bet on America failing.
I talked on Monday with Lakshman Achuthan, the managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, which has a long history of correctly forecasting major economic turns based on his idea that the great battleship of the American economy moves upward and downward in powerful waves based on turns in the economic cycle.
Achuthan told me “we are now in the strongest economic recovery since the early 1980s that will continue through 2010.” He calls this “the Rodney Dangerfield recovery” that he first predicted last spring and now believes is strongly underestimated. Achuthan believes the jobless numbers already peaked last October and will improve further before Election Day. The February jobless numbers will be distorted by the weather, but the March numbers, to be reported in early April, could show a significant jobs surge and begin a period of job growth that continues through Election Day.
The worst nightmare for Republicans is the “morning in America” scenario. They run extreme risks if they continue to obstruct positive change and job creation and are tarred as the “hope America fails” party while jobs are created and growth continues in the months going into Election Day.
President Obama and Democratic leaders should offer true bipartisanship, which means both parties make concessions of value to each other. But while extending the olive branch, Democrats under sustained partisan and personal attacks from a Republican Party in the iron grip of an extreme right wing should wield the whip in response.
Today many Republicans await every jobs number with the fear that a jobs surge that is great for America is bad for them. Democrats should run against the “hope America fails” wing of Republicanism and turn antipathy toward Washington against Republicans.
Democrats should run against the abuse of Senate rules that is a direct attack against majority vote in American elections and a direct attack against changes that Americans voted to enforce. Democrats should run against the hugely unpopular Supreme Court campaign finance decision that large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe would further corrupt the capital.
The winning narrative for Democrats attacks the party that hopes America fails, while they fight for policies to make America succeed by creating more jobs, lowering drug prices, ending insurance price-fixing and premium rip-offs and forcing Republicans to vote for the tough deficit commission they pretended to support and proceeded to oppose.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.