Archive for the ‘critical’ Category

Republicans Tounge Tied? Can’t Be Critical of Obama

December 23, 2008

After losing the presidential race — and big — and facing a charming winner adored by the media, Republicans are finding it next to impossible to be critical of Barack Obama…

 Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Getty Images

 Above: A rarely tongue tied Democrat…


Two months after Barack Obama’s election, Republicans are struggling to figure out how — or even whether —to challenge or criticize him as he prepares to assume the presidency.

The president-elect is proving to be an elusive and frustrating target. He has defied attempts to be framed ideologically. His cabinet picks have won wide praise. An effort by the Republican National Committee to link Mr. Obama to the unfolding scandal involving Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and the accusations that he tried to sell Mr. Obama’s Senate seat was dismissed by no less a figure than Senator John McCain, the Republican whom Mr. Obama beat for the presidency.

The toughest criticism of Mr. Obama during this period — in fact, the only real criticism of Mr. Obama during this period — has come not from the right but from the left, primarily over his selection of Rick Warren, a leading opponent of gay marriage, to deliver the invocation on Inauguration Day.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a press ... 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — tongue tied and trying not to fall — speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Brendan Smialowski)

There are plenty of battles ahead that may provide Republicans an opportunity to find their footing. They will no doubt find arguments to use against Mr. Obama when he starts to lay out the details of his economic stimulus plans, or signals how aggressively he wants to fulfill a pledge to labor to back a bill that would take away employers’ right to demand a secret ballot-election to determine if workers wanted to unionize. And Mr. Obama is the beneficiary of the kind of post-election honeymoon Washington hasn’t seen in 16 years. (Bill Clinton, considering his own rocky introduction to Washington in 1992, might argue it has in fact been even longer than that).

By Adam Nagourney

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