In an interview with regional newspaper editors, President Barack Obama said that he isn’t impressed with the Republican Party’s strategy of saying no to everything. Obama said it is easy to say no, but it is much harder to solve problems and govern.
According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Obama said, “Opposition is always easy. Saying no to something is easy. Saying yes to something and figuring out how to solve problems and govern, that’s hard. I’m not impressed by just being able to say no,” said Obama. “I think what will be interesting is the degree to which my Republican colleagues start putting forward an affirmative agenda that’s not based on ideology but on the very real struggles and pain that people are feeling right now around the country and how do we get this economy back on its feet.”
The Republicans could stand to learn a lesson from the Democratic position going in to the 2004 election. When the Democrats were the minority, they thought that they could take back the White House if they disagreed with then President Bush on everything. In fact, the unofficial slogan of John Kerry’s presidential campaign seemed to be vote for me, because I’m not Bush. The obvious problem with this strategy is that it is shallow.
Even if voters decide that they don’t care for the incumbent, and they are open to the possibility of change, at some point just saying no isn’t enough. The minority opposition has to come up with an alternative agenda, which is something that Kerry never did, and the current Republican Party is showing no inclination towards pursing. The Republicans are giving Obama nothing to worry about so far, because they are in the unenviable position of going against a very popular president.
Obama’s comments were in essence a challenge to the Republicans. Obama is saying that if his ideas are wrong, he wants to see what the opposition has to offer. He can be comfortable in making this challenge because Republicans are likely to offer the same solutions that have lost them the past two elections. The easiest position in politics is the opposition role. It is easy to say no, when your opponent is the primary decision maker. In less than two months, Obama is setting up a situation where he is going to be tough to beat. He is staying aggressive in challenging his opposition. Republicans are putting themselves in a position to fail in 2010, and possibly 2012 as well.