The Twitter Fallacy

A recent Politico Story on John Boehner includes this comment:

In a speech to his rank and file down at the Homestead resort this weekend, Boehner will encourage them to use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and any other electronic tool to communicate with constituents.

This reminds me of a friend's comment on "communication" as a cure-all in relationships. He said that most of his relationships fell apart as soon as he and his girlfriend started communicating, because both of them realized they had nothing in common.

Boehner needs a new message, not a new way to distribute it.


"Boehner needs a new message, not a new way to distribute it"

I think you have become too complacent. The first black presidential candidate, running against a failed presidency, a screwed up campaign by his adversary and a opposing vice presidential candidate constantly run down by the media only received 53% of the vote.

Any screw ups by the Obama administration and/or by congress could turn the tide in 2010 or 2012.

I definitely think the pendulum will swing back at some point. I don't think Obama 2012 is a foregone conclusion, that's for sure.

But it will take more than screw-ups to defeat Obama and re-take Congress. The Republicans need to present a positive alternative. That's my point about Boehner. He can twitter all he wants, but what is he selling other than saying "No" to Democrats?

There's an opening for a party of conservative fiscal policy in the US, and the Republicans could be that party. But who's going to believe them after 8 years of Bush budgets? They need a new tune.

You're right they haven't got anything to offer. Even the public is aware that tax cuts aren't the solution to every problem. The Republicans may think that they have no alternative but to try and convince everyone that the Obama presidency is a failure. They controlled congress in the 90's and still couldn't make that stick with Clinton. If the Senate comes up with a watered down and ineffective stimulus bill, he may be put in the position of having to veto it, or accept a bill that his administration will ultimately be blamed for when it fails to get the economy moving. Clinton called their bluff by allowing the government shutdown. I don't know if Obama could do that.

Spending money thats just printed isn't a very good solution either. As for convincing the public that an administration is a failure, the democrats were masters at it. Hard times makes people want change, even if they have no idea of what the change is.

Your comment is a pretty good example of the current state of Republican rhetoric.

First, there's usually a criticism of government spending without any acknowledgement that the last 8 years of Republican rule involved the most massive spending increases our country has ever seen.

Second, there's the view that people were somehow hoodwinked into thinking that the Bush administration had something to do with our current "hard times". It's as if we were so intoxicated by the charisma of Obama that we voted for Democrats in some kind of an ignorant haze, rather than making a conscious decision to reject 8 years of Republican rule.

I'm the first to admit that Democrats were complicit with a lot of the screwups that have gotten us to the mess we're in. But the bottom line is that Republicans led the charge into the weeds. If Republicans would acknowledge that and decide to re-focus their party as a consistent voice of fiscal responsibility, I think they'd have a chance for a fairly speedy comeback. But, as it stands, all I hear from the leadership is a bunch of b.s. about the magic of tax cuts, and denial about their role in the current catastrophe.

Of course you realize that the democrats were in control of the purse strings the last two years. Couple that with one of the biggest spending republican presidents ever and what you have is a fiscal mess.

>>If Republicans would acknowledge that and decide to re-focus their party as a consistent voice of fiscal responsibility

Thats exactly what they did. Every single one of them thinks the stimulous is irresponsible. As a party they are betting on it. You need to make up your mind whether they are doing it for political advantage or being fiscally responsible.

>>denial about their role in the current catastrophe.
I would expect John Boehner to stand up and say I caused the catastrophy as soon as Barney Frank does the same thing

Democrats were not in control of the purse strings. Bush was able to veto any spending measure he didn't like, if it made it through the Senate, which had the most filibusters in history.

Thats exactly what they did. Every single one of them thinks the stimulous is irresponsible. As a party they are betting on it. You need to make up your mind whether they are doing it for political advantage or being fiscally responsible.

Saying the stimulus is irresponsible without offering an alternative is not being responsible. It's easy to say "No", but when every economist (including the conservative ones like Martin Feldstein) are saying that a stimulus package is necessary, then the responsible thing to do is to work to make the stimulus package more fiscally prudent. That's not what Boehner did. He was determined to vote No without making a serious attempt at compromise. You can link to Boehner's detailed alternative if you disagree.

I would expect John Boehner to stand up and say I caused the catastrophy as soon as Barney Frank does the same thing

Barney's not the one whose party is on the outs at the moment. When you've been rejected by voters, you need to give them a reason to reconsider. An honest assessment of the mistakes that the voters are attributing to you is a good start.

Convincing anyone that the last administration was a failure didn't require a vast left wing conspiracy. An IQ of 80, absent a wing nut mentality, was sufficient.

Vdomeras, I thought this was obvious, but apparently it isn't to a lot of hard-core "conservatives".

Arguing that Bush Presidency was a failed presidency and therefore we can now spend what we want to doesn't make sense to me. Remember, most conservatives didn't like Bush because he (and congress) spent way too much money.

I don't think we can spend like drunken sailors because the Bush presidency was a failure.

My point is that the Republicans who want to rehab their party need to acknowledge that nobody believes them anymore when they talk about "fiscal responsibility". And they need to tell us, in detail , why they'll be different than the Bush presidency, which combined responsibility rhetoric with out-of-control spending.

Just to clarify, the reason I put quotes around "conservative" is because the last 8 years of "conservative" rule was anything but. This country needs some real conservatism in the opposition at the moment, and all we're getting is more of the last 8 years.

I agree that any spending that is not going to save money and contribute to long term prosperity and security shouldn't be in the bill. I'm sure that the Democrats are guilty of some of that, and they should be called on it in each specific case. The Republican quote of the day for me is, "The bill pays too much for things we don't need." I guess it depends upon who you mean by "we," but Republicans appear to be rejecting the bill because it was supported by a Democratic president and Democratic majority. The point of the spending should be to repair decaying infrastructure, provide essential services for those who are hurt due to a lack of corporate and governmental diligence and foresight in the past, and to pave the way for an energy independent America that isn't based on carbon. Theoretically this will produce new business opportunities and jobs.

I also agree that true conservatives saw the Bush administration as anathema, unfortunately they weren't able to change its course. Whether they will have better luck with a Democratic administration and congress is an open question I guess.

First off, Boehner most certainly does need a new message. The entire Republican party does. I don't think you'll find many higher ups in the party who would dispute that. But needing a new message doesn't mean you shouldn't think hard about ways to distribute your message, whatever is. Boehner is right on the money to suggest using Twitter etc. would be smart.

On the other hand, there is 0 chance of Republicans regaining the Senate in 2010. I'd put the odds for the house about about 1 in 20. They need 37 seats to do it, and it's very unlikely, in this era of safe districts, that anyone can gain 37 seats in a single election. The Dems gained 30 in 2006 and that was viewed as a lot.

Well I see the ad hominin is entering the discussion
"IQ of 80, absent a wing nut mentality". The fact of the matter was the middle years of the Bush admin were pretty decent for the economy. It was a tough situation with the war, Sadly President Obama now that he is on the seat is learning the difficulty of dealing with Gitmo, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Please people lets stick to arguing the issues.

Today Mitch McConnel had a solid postion on the weekly radio address. He recognizes that the mortgage market started the problem. Would like to focus first on the toxic mortgages by offering a plan with government backed 4% mortgage to keep people in there homes.

There is a lot of green eyeshade arguments we could all make. The fact of the matter is 1 trillion dollars is a lot of money that improperly used could ruin the country. I think such hugely important bill should take a little more than 3 weeks, and should involve the republicans with more than media events. To think that the republicans are all so stupid that none of them can have any input on a trillion dollar package is just plain bloviation. Personally I want to see the country get out of this situation. I am proud to see that the republicans are putting some breaks on this. To think that they are only interested in politics or that they are irrelevant is laughable.

Sorry, for the "ad hominin" I didn't think that anyone fit my criteria. Twenty percent of the country still think Bush was successful, so I was wrong (joke).

It's interesting that during the Republican Reign of the last few years Republicans weren't soliciting much input from Democrats. Probably because the idea that Democrats could have contributed to the discussion was laughable to them. The voters have made it clear that they want to see what the Democrats can do. If the Republicans come up with useful suggestions, I believe that the Obama administration has made it clear that it will listen.

McConnel's idea sounds good on the face of it. I really believe that the bailout money should be used to support customers, rather than bankers. Borrowers haven't been given a fair shake. Banks, incredibly, have been busy raising interest rates at a time when the prime is near zero. It would be cheaper and more effective to subsidize or insure the borrowers than the banks.

As to spending more time on the legislation, we are about to do that in the Senate. At the rate that people are loosing their jobs and health insurance, we can't afford to waste time though.

Tiberius, during the middle of the Bush admin wasn't "pretty decent for the economy." It was decent for bankers who made tremendous bonuses on make believe profits. Everyone else was stuck making less per capita every year, being forced to pay unbelievably high prices for homes on ridiculous terms (which soon tanked and caused incredible levels of foreclosures), and paying 50% more for tuition at Universities. Meanwhile the stock market grew exponentially without any real basis and people made a lot of risky investments they wouldn't have made otherwise (which they then subsequently lost). And to top it all, the nation went from having a $400 billion surplus to owing over $1 trillion while we spent $10 billion a month on a war of choice. The Bush administration was an unmitigated failure in terms of the economy. Yes, people now own bigger TVs but to imply that the economy was in good shape during the Bush Administration is just wrong.