With the perspective of just a few days' time, Noonan's words ring true, but for a different reason. It's still a game. And GOP is still treating it as such.
Continuing a pattern that put the final bullet in McCain's presidential campaign in the fall, Republicans sense the fiscal crisis, and jump in with a gimmick. McCain himself suspending his campaign to rush to Washington on the eve of the first debate, then reversing his course. John Thune's stack of dollar bills. Eric Cantor's use of Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle" (subsequently revoked by the band.)
And finally, a roll call on the stimulus that found just three Republican Senators -- moderates all -- against 176 Members of Congress and 38 Senators all voting "No."
The result: a GOP that is in favor, at least institutionally, of continued bad news on the economy. Newly-elected RNC Chair Michale Steele said:
“I’m telling the party leadership around the country, don’t believe the hype,” he said. “There will be a slight uptick, it will flat-line, and it will continue to go down.”That's great, Mr. Chairman. Welcome to the Great Depression II.
And to think that Pres. Obama was criticized for talking down the economy last week.
But once upon a time, the GOP was all for supporting the U.S.A., right or wrong. In 2007 (and perhaps unfairly), then-candidate John McCain did not pull any punches when he criticized those Democrats who opposed the Surge:
"I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating."Unless, of course, GOP seats are at risk.
And the Game Goes On.