Q: How Do You Know When Republicans Don't Have Any Clout? A: When the Taliban Has Some.

By ObamaNerd March 12, 2009

obama-a-muslimAbout 4 weeks ago—when the shrieking from the GOPs was at its highest point over the stimulus bill—I was convinced the Democrats were in real trouble. The O-team had lost the reins of messaging, I said, and had surrendered to the minority party barely three months after the election that swept them to power. We were cutting family planning, the news networks were repeating those tired Republican "small government, no spending" messages, and we were stumbling all over ourselves to reach some sort of bi-partisan rapture over the stimulus package.  Couple that headache with the embarassing tax-related gaffes of a few (it felt like a hundred) O-appointees and you had one bleak beginning for the O-admin. 

Or so it seemed.

Boy, was I over-reacting. O-approval ratings stayed high in the 60s throughout the stimulus drama, Republican approvals have dropped to the lowest points ever, three Republicans voted in favor of the stimulus bill, and then intra-party fighting ensued over who's the prettiest Republican in the party. 

The net result of the last few weeks is this: The Republicans really are a dead party. For now. They don't have it together and they are struggling to find their way, much in the same way Democrats were after the 2004 elections. Great. Could it get any clearer that the Republicans don't have their shit together? 

Yes. Indeed it can. They can't even spin the mortifying NYT headline that Obama is willing to talk to the Taliban (brilliant policy, but p.r. fiasco) to their advantage. 

Check it: Last weekend Obama pushed a not-so-new idea that the US should do outreach to the more moderate elements of the Taliban in an effort to advance our front in Afghanistan. Nice idea. Smart idea, even ... let's turn Taliban against itself. It began working in Iraq (Republicans will credit solely the insurgency, of course) when the Sunnis started turning against al-Qaeda. It worked there, Obama posits, and it can work in Afghanistan. This new Afghan policy has historically been met with some skepticism and now Obama's push for it is met with "some raised eyebrows."  

Truth be told: Mai tais and snorting cocaine off young, nubile male models is way more my thing than deconstructing our Middle East foreign policy. But remember the "We Don't Negotiate with Terrorists" mantra the Republicans chanted over and over in years past? Where is it now? Raised eyebrows? Where is the blowback?  Isn't this precisely what Republicans (and Hillary) warned us about on the campaign trail? 

Are the Republicans really so disorganized, so unenthusiastic about their own party that they can't even hit Democrats where they are supposed to the softest: The war on terrorism?

A Democratic President named Barack Obama is going to talk to the Taliban? This, by the way, is the exact opposite of the "Nixon in China" phenomenon, which holds that only a hawk can sell the public on negotiations with commie symps. This is a black, Socialist, Harvard-educated liberal named Barack. Obama. And the GOP can't get traction on that? They are dead.
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