Republicans stand by principles. Those principles are strong, those principles are patriotic, those principles are what the American people want, but it's a little hard to pin down what, exactly, those principles are. We can't ever appease terrorists, for example -- that is, until we must appease terrorists. Big government must stay out of our lives, unless big government is wiretapping us without a warrant, forcing women to remain pregnant against their will, or keeping the Homosexual Menace in its place. Government must practice fiscal responsibility, but only after a Republican president spent years pouring money down a rathole in the desert. Underneath all of this flip-flopping and these temporary beliefs is one real and true idea; that Republicans must always be in power. So one principle is a great thing, until it becomes a political liability -- then they've always been against it. Political nihilists to the core, Republicans believe what it's good strategy to believe.
Which goes a long way toward explaining this story:
[Talking Points Memo:]
After slamming the Obama administration for "secret deliberations" and going back on his campaign promise to televise the health care debate, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) criticized the President yesterday for televising the bipartisan health care summit on Feb. 25, asking "is this a political event or is this going to be a real conversation?"
Boehner had been a rather vocal supporter of C-SPAN's request to televise the earlier negotiations, writing to the network in January that "House Republicans strongly endorse your proposal and stand ready to work with you to make it a reality."
Well now, it seems, the idea of televising the health care summit has Boehner a bit squeamish.
See, transparency was once considered a great idea, because people seeing how the sausage was made seemed like it would be bad for Obama and the Democrats. Turns out that's not true, though. Recent experience showed them that it'd be bad for Republicans.
It goes back to the end of last month, when Republicans made the mistake of inviting the president to answer questions at their House GOP retreat. Obama asked that it be televised and Republicans said, "Sure!" They were going to beat up Obama on national teevee and it was going to be awesome...
"Republicans immediately agreed to the request," Politico reported at the time, "but they may be regretting it now."
President Obama ate their lunch. What Republicans failed to consider was that all their arguments against Obama's ideas were stupid and that the president -- who won the election largely on his debating skills -- could leave all those arguments in a smoking heap without breaking a sweat. So, of course, he did. As a result, Republicans were left looking like idiots armed only with empty-headed talking points.
"It was a mistake that we allowed the cameras to roll like that," one GOPer told MSNBC's Luke Russert. "We should not have done that."
So now they're all gun-shy. They haven't come up with any good arguments in the meantime -- mostly because there aren't any -- and they're heading into a battle of wits completely unarmed. A battle that'll be televised.
Just as they've demanded.
Republicans are so afraid of this event that they initially threatened not to show up for it. But then they realized that empty chairs at a healthcare summit would be worse than empty talking points, so they caved. One way or another, it's going to happen.
So here we are. The GOP has painted themselves in a corner with idiotic talking points and BS arguments.
Maybe it might be a good time to cook up some sort of principles to stand for.
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