February 10th, 2009
12:30 PM ET

Begala: GOP strategy of deny, delay, do nothing

Paul Begala
CNN Contributor

As the fight over President Obama's economic recovery package heats up, the two sides are beginning to define themselves with admirable clarity.

The president says we have a crisis that is heading toward a catastrophe.

In announcing his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board, President Obama declared, "The situation could not be more serious. These [new unemployment] numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay, or politics as usual, while millions of Americans are being put out of work."

The Republicans, on the other hand, have honed their economic message: Denial, Delay, Do Nothing.


Filed under: Economy • Paul Begala • Raw Politics • Republicans
soundoff (26 Responses)

    Steele is nothing more than an Uncle Tom. I'll bet the Rush Limbaugh's and the Glenn Beck's of the far right have more in common with a turnip than Michael Steele. What a disgrace.

    February 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  2. Paul Robinson

    Are reporters being tough enough on Obama? Maybe so, maybe no. But clearly, reporters are not tough enough on Republicans, who get away every day with false, outrageous statements, such as:

    Statement: "Tax reduction is the fastest way to solve the problem." Truth: Tax reductions act slowly. They can help long-term, as they did under Reagan. But they don't give relief to those who don't have jobs.

    Statement: History shows that spending doesn't mitigate recessions. Truth: During the Great Depression, under each of Hoover's three years of tight money, the Great Depression got worse. Under Roosevelt, the creation of infrastructure jobs turned things around.

    Paul Robinson
    Katy, Texas

    February 11, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  3. Abz

    Plain simple, the rep. should stop complaining and assist in coming up with a bail out that would help out...the past is the past, its time to move on, and hopefully to a future when most of the nightmares that shadow our past are gone...we all need to work together for that change...I believe that is what Prez. Obama campaigned for, why he got elected and why he is ready to work across party lines....HOPE. The world is changing, and we all need to be ready for it...TOGETHER

    February 11, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  4. Patience - Canada

    earle,florida @ February 10th, 2009 1:36 pm ET...

    Thanks for that math. I don't want to take sides, but that was great research (assuming its correct). I don't understand what the repubs hold on to their ideologies for. They need to update what they beleive. Instead of going back to the basics, they need ideological overhaul and I mean that respectfully. We all know their ideologies has not worked for decades (according to your earle's research). So, it seems Obama ought to veto everything they say and just save the country.

    Bipartisanship? From GOP? That'll happen when you can catch a falling star and put it in your pocket. The party needs help! If they knew how what they stood (notice this is in past tense) for affected everyday American, then maybe, it would be easier for them to cooperate with a progressive party. And now they have a new chairman who wants to make the tent bigger. Enough of this 'make the tent (GOP party) bigger'. They need a new tent with new a new name (revised ideologies) and then maybe they can make their tent bigger. Anyway, that was a little off topic...

    ...I love Paul Begala. I think I have a crush on him too...LOL

    February 11, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  5. William of Iowa

    As compared to recognition, solution and recovery. Fear, anger, blame, pride – like some oversize 12-Step meeting made very public.

    February 11, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  6. Pat M

    Paul, Great Contribution. Denial, Delay and Do Nothing is not only the Republican's message but their decided mission to block any and every move by the President no matter what cost or to whom! The Repubs jeuvenile brand of politics as usual to gain what they stupidly believe will be tax payer's accolades for their wisdom and stamina! In truth their childish mentality will force upon America's Middle Class a slow, painful, economic death igniting flames of contempt and wrath upon themselves. This party not only initiated the problem but has and is still blocking the chance of a positive solution! Is there no way of stopping this narcisstic political wrecking ball before it's too late? Even Canada can see through the Repubs smoke screen!

    February 10, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    The GOP has been delaying, denying and doing nothing for a while now and its not working. Maybe now would be a good time for them to show they can work with their fellow congresspeople to get something done that will help and show that they can earn their overlarge salaries after all.

    February 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  8. Karen- Alabama

    It's so sad to see the Republicans only interested in promoting their own agenda at any cost. To continue to push failed policies ones that they have lived through is very sad. People are hurting out here and looking for some kind of real support from their goverment. Rebuplicans are sore losers who will become even bigger loser in 2010.

    February 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  9. Steve

    Eventually Political Darwinism will prevail. Survival of the public will necessitate the downfall of the (current) two major parties as they exist today. There will be evolution in to the next political "species"

    February 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  10. jabril

    I have no idea how michael steel can be a african american and dare to be a republican. they despise minorities and they are only for the rich and powerful-aka Rush limbaugh

    February 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  11. JC- Los Angeles

    While Willy Wonka showed us what rotten, spoiled, children looked like, it's horrifying for the American people to now be exposed to the political equivalent.

    Whether it's Republicans or Democrats, listening to our worthless politicians is akin to stomaching Violet Beauregard, Verucca Salt, Mike TV or Agustus Gloop.

    All we need now is Nancy Pelosi demanding the goose that laid the golden egg or Ted Kennedy drinking from a chocolate river.

    February 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  12. jabril

    If this was king George W bush asking for another 3- trillion to begin world war 3 on the muslim world the Republicans would hand it to their dear king on hands and knee's . they would kiss his ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  13. Travis


    For pete's sake set the koolaid down and take a deep breath. The survival of the U.S. is not at stake. During the civil war, world war II, yes but not now. Granted, the U.S. will be looking at insolvency in the next 10 – 20 years and no doubt life will be very different. Big brother won't be there to wipe our noses, tie our shoes, or pay for the houses we couldn't afford. Our children will be harnessed to a mountain of debt that our generation is responsible for. Aside from that.....the U.S. will still be here in the same way that France, England, Russia are still here after their empires crumbled.

    Yes Bush was an idiot, yes the republicans spent too much, but no that does not make it right for the democrats to drop almost a trillion$ on pork without so much as a debate.

    Go outside.....the sky is not falling and the sun will rise tomorrow.

    February 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  14. Don

    The Republicans are going to end up looking like obstructionists and are going to end up loosing even more support from the American people if they don't stop their whining and start working to help us get out of this crisis.

    I'm African-American and that token black guy they have leading their party is going to look like nothing but a sellout to the rest of us if the Republicans don't get on board and help to try and find REAL, PRACTICAL, solutions to our problems.

    February 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  15. Roy

    Is it me or does there seem to be no end in sight that every politician puts his or her opportunity to strike out at the "other" party to position themselves for the next elective cycle? The country and the people who occupy it no longer come first. Their re-election or their party's success is first and foremost and to hell with what this country needs. The past election gave just a little hint into the desire for things to change in politics and it will continue to happen until politicians stop assuming they know what is good for the american people. We the People... expect our politicians to work together in times of economic or social unrest and forget the politics and stop trying to get elected. The American people have had some success is sending a message before and we need to get together and send it strongly again. Work together or we will find those that are willing to do it. Don't assume you know what we want or need without talking to us and get busy on doing your job rather than worrying about how to keep it. Both parties, all individuals. We're tired of the same old crap.

    February 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  16. Margaret

    Call a moratorium:

    In the interests of the people who are caught up in this disaster that Mr. Obama inherited from the very people who are so critical of his every move, why not call a moratorium on politicking? There is no point in pulling the country down any further than it is now. No one knows where this is leading, and the Republicans have been in charge for the past eight years that led to all this. There is lots of time for them to jockey into position for the next go-round. How on earth can the people ever regain confidence if the doomsayers–who did nothing to stop this–keep on critiquing every aspect of the plans the experts have devised.

    The country is in a war for its very survival. It's time for everyone to pull together.

    February 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  17. karen-phoenix

    President Obama's press conference was first time in 8 years I could actually understand what the president was say and though maybe this guy is working for the American people!!! CNN did a great job afterwards of reviewing a wonderful presidential press conference!! Would you tell David Gergen he was awsome. I know he worked for several presidents, but he seems to really be behind this one a lot. Maybe the way we ALL should! If not, it is the fall of the US empire!

    February 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  18. Diana

    It is refreshing to see our government led by a president who
    accepts responsibility for his actions and who speaks with
    clarity about the issues facing our country. We have a lot to
    do and must get to it. I support President Obama wholeheartedly
    for being willing to try any reasonable idea to save our country.

    February 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  19. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    Hi Paul!
    I always LOVE your comments and I always agree!
    The GOP needs to quit stalling and showing their rumps. Honestly, they were all for Bush's bailout of the rich and their behavior just shows how many sour grapes they are sucking on.
    Pres. Obama has reached out for bipartisanship and the republicans still are throwing their childish tantrums. It really IS all about them and their money.
    Why aren't they embarrassed? Geez!
    Thank you for your wonderful input.
    All the best~

    February 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  20. Frank in Nor Cal

    I know the republican strategy is not "do nothing". Perhaps their course of thinking is structured similar to that of one good man named Albert.

    I believe it was a Albert who said "if I had an hour to save the world, I'd spend 55 minutes defining the full scope of the problem".

    The next quote I know is his:
    "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."
    Albert Einstein

    As a registered independent I voted for President Obama. But I disapprove of his scare tatics in rushing to make a multi-billion dollar decision without a full scope of the problem, much less the voter’s assurance of a fruitful outcome.

    February 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  21. earle,florida

    I'd like to go back from 1950 thru 2008 regarding america's "Nat'l (ND)Debt"! The ND from 1950-79 gradually increased from $250bn,to approx.$780bn. Now,for a financial historical lesson of ,"Who (Political Party's) Practice What They Preach"? During the past 28 years,starting with the Republican (GOP) Party under President Reagan(1981-89/8yrs) we added to the ND approx. $2.0tn! Next, we have President (GOP) GHW Bush(#41)(1989-93/4yrs) who continued to add to the Nat'l( ND) Debt approx.$1.5tn! Next we have a change in political administration,under Democratic President Clinton (1993-2001/8yrs) ,and surprisingly he only adds approx. $1.0tn to the ND! Finally, we come to the "Decider",(GOP) President G Bush #43(2001-2009/8yrs) who under his "Fiscally Responsible Stewardship" ,lumped a staggering ,approx. $5.0tn more to our Nat'l Debt! In closing; I'd like to say that in 20, of the past 28 yrs under, "Three Republican Presidents" the Nat'l (ND) Debt rose approx. $8.5tn,versus the $1.0tn for Democrats! The "Grand (approx.) Total" accumulated was $9.5tn to the Nat'l Debt,now hovering around $10.0tn! PS. The Congress was controlled by the Republican Party from 1995-2006,while all other remaining years were split. Great Article, Great Raed , Thanks Mr. Begala(:

    February 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  22. Mari, Salt Lake City

    IF lower taxes for the wealthy & powerful corporations WORKED, then we would not be in the mess we are in! That's what the GOPers do not get! They are in such denial, of their own president's failures that it would be funny, if it wasn't so serious!

    WHAT I want to KNOW IS:

    WHERE were these so-called-fiscal-conservatives when Bush was spending our Nation into oblivion??????????????????

    Where were they when the National debt was being DOUBLED????

    @ Ram Riva......... well said!

    Paul Begala, we just love you! Keep talking and writing, America needs the TRUTH, not more misinformation!

    February 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  23. Stephen J. Holowid

    I wish someone would ask Mr. Castellanos and his friends how they KNOW that lower taxes to middle-class workers would guarantee that they would spend it the next day, as opposed to using it to pay some credit card debt that they had spent months, or years, ago. Does sending these tax savings to your local bank, or to Visa or MC guarantee that these companies will make sure it finds its way back into the economy in the form of jobs? There is no more a guarantee that this will work, vide the past eight years, than what the new administration is trying to do now. Give them a chance, without supposing that you know the eventual outcome.

    February 10, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  24. Ram Riva -- Calexico CA

    Mr Travis, I am sorry to say that you, Sir don't have a clue of the situation this country is in...
    It looks to you that we have time to debate and for you to try to recover your past election losses...
    The time is now!, people are losing everything, and you want to wait and debate...
    Don't want to got to work...then step aside and allow the ones that want to and know how...

    February 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  25. Travis


    YOUR partisanship is so evident that I barely had the stomach to read the article. Just because the republicans (and some democrats) want to actually debate before spending a trillion $ that the government doesn't have means they are being irresponsible?

    IF this was such a horrible crisis that money needs to be spent today then why does much of the money not get spent for over a year!? If the democrats have nothing but the best interest of the country at heart why is there so much pork!?

    Who is playing politics here?

    February 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  26. Ronald-- Peoria IL..

    Denial,Delay and do nothing is a political ploy for failure of America's President. Regaining power is more important than economic recovery. Most only know where MAIN street is when told by their driver!!!

    February 10, 2009 at 12:39 pm |