As the Obama Administration shepherded a stimulus package through the Congress and then followed up with a budget plan identifying priorities for the next few years, I have to confess that I've been shocked at the degree to which Republicans seem to actively wish for him to fail.
I understand the idea of being a loyal opposition; of supporting an alternative solution to our national problems and advocating for that view. I can certainly respect Republicans who cast a vote against the stimulus package because it does not represent their preferred solution to the recession. But that is not what the GOP is doing. They are opposed to the Obama plan primarily because it's not their plan. But they have offered little in the form of an alternative solution, instead trotting out tired and failed policies.
On top of that, more than one Republican in Congress and the chattering classes has actively expressed the desire to see Obama's plan fail. As if that failure would have no costs. As if that failure doesn't represent the failure of our nation. It's one thing to believe that Obama's plan is not a solution; to believe that there are better options to explore. But to actively wish for his plan to fail? That's just perverse.
And it's not just perverse. It's wrong. As President Obama is reminding Americans of their strength and their durability, as he is busy reminding us that we can succeed; that we can overcome this challenge, the GOP is hoping that we don't.
They aren't offering any actual solutions to the recession; they are just saying no to the ideas on the table. Memo to the GOP: more of the same failed policies (I'm talking to you, tax cuts for the rich, off-budget wars, and stimulus checks) is NOT a solution. It's just recycling of failed ideas. The kind of recycling we must reject.
I am loath to invoke 9/11 because I am tired of the many ways that George W. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress beat us down with that idea anytime we dared to question them. But in the aftermath of September 11, we came together as a nation and we sought to support one another through the darkness. Democrats didn't actively wish for George Bush to fail as our commander in chief because they knew that if he failed, we failed as a nation.
And I wish that Republicans would understand that lesson today. If President Obama's solutions to our problems fail, our nation will suffer. And that suffering isn't abstract: its effects will be seen in real people's lives. The same real people who voted for Obama because they found something profoundly meaningful in the idea of hope.
Failure will not bring redemption to the Republican party. It will bring disaster to the nation. And I hope that's something that none of us wants.