Chastising opposition to his economic stimulus bill last week, President Obama said Republicans “come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis.” Americans, he said, “did not vote for the false theories of the past, and they didn’t vote for phony arguments and petty politics.”
When arguing what’s best for America, sound bites seem to always overshadow the big picture. When the Bush military surge in Iraq was successful in temporarily stabilizing the country, Republicans campaigned as if the war was won. The creation of a democratic Iraq was closer than ever, said Republicans, criticizing Democrats who had tried to obstruct their efforts. When it was pointed out that the Middle East was more unstable today than when Saddam Hussein was in power, that the invasion of Iraq had dramatically increased the Al-Quada threat and their numbers, that temporarily quelling a civil war between Sunni and Shia had absolutely nothing to do with any War on Terror and that countless lives and billions of dollars later, the U.S. had paid an astronomical price for little reward, Republicans had only one response – “the surge worked.”
But what if the economy improves after Obama’s stimulus package is implemented? Will Republicans be faced with similar declarations by Democrats, who will claim that their economic “surge worked” while ignoring the larger, catastrophic picture?