Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Republican strategy is not new

Prof. DeLong writes of his experience in 1993 within the Clinton Administration:
The gossip in the Treasury Department then was that Republican Senate Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) had explained what was going on to our boss Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen more-or-less like this:
Look: Clinton is not a legitimate president. 57% of the voters voted for a more conservative Texan. Only the fact that Perot really does not like Bush and did not drop out once he had made his policy point got your guy in. Minority presidents don't get to impose their policy priorities on the country. Our task now is not to help govern, but to demonstrate that a minority president like Clinton cannot legitimately govern--and when we demonstrate that Clinton cannot govern, we will get our majorities in 1994 and our majorities and the presidency in 1996 and things will be back to normal.
And come 2009 the Republican Party adopted the same unified position--that their task was to show that Obama was not a legitimate president and could not govern. But why wasn't Obama a legitimate president? There was no Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, or William Rehnquist to put someone with minority support into the Oval Office. Well, they say, Obama is not a legitimate president because--CLANG!!!!
In my opinion, the puzzlement in the last sentence goes away if you repeat after Bob Dole the Republican credo:
Minority presidents don't get to impose their policy priorities on the country.
For those who missed it, this dailykos diary talks about the 1992 elections that brought Clinton to the Presidency as a "minority" President.