GOP Ramps Up Attacks
"Emboldened by divided Democrats and polls that show rising public anxiety about President Obama's handling of health care and the economy, Republicans on Monday launched an aggressive effort to link the two, comparing the health-care bills moving through Congress to what they labeled as a failed economic stimulus bill," The Washington Post reports. "And the news Monday that the Obama administration would delay release of a congressionally mandated report on the nation's economic conditions only stoked the rhetoric, spawning GOP speculation that the White House is trying to avoid bad news amid the health-care debate. 'The last time the president made grand promises and demanded passage of a bill before it could be reviewed, we ended up with the colossal stimulus failure and unemployment near 10 percent,' Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said. 'Now the president wants Americans to trust him again, but he can't back up the utopian promises he's making.'"
In a speech on Monday, Michael S. Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said that Obama is "conducting a dangerous experiment with our health care. He's conducting a reckless experiment with our economy. Obama responded by resuming his public campaign for health-care reform, stumping on the issue for the third time in four days," but later "hinted for the first time that he would not let the August deadline become a deal-breaker."
"Lacking unity on an alternative agenda to Obama's health-care plans, Republicans have instead focused on a strategy of rallying public opposition and wooing the conservative Democrats in Congress, whose votes will ultimately determine the fate of any health-care bill. That plan depends in large part on Congress going on break before it votes on a bill. On Monday, though, Republicans made clear that they see an opportunity to derail the legislation now," and launched an ad campaign (Bacon and Fletcher, 7/21).
Meanwhile, in a blog of the Weekly Standard, conservative commentator William Kristol advised opponents to "resist the temptation" to "let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible," The Washington Post reports in a separate article. Instead, Kristol admonishes them that "this is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill." He continues: "This is the week to highlight every problem, every terrible provision, in the Democratic bills. Throw the kitchen sink at the legislation now on the table, drive a stake through its heart (I apologize for the mixed metaphors), and kill it" (Bacon, 7/20).