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The Carletonian

From Outside The Bubble: Politics and the Super Bowl

<esident Obama celebrated the Super Bowl with a bi-partisan party at the White House, ironically, during a time of bitter partisan disagreement. Obama has been pushing for the stimulus plan to be slapped with a “bi-partisan” label while Republicans push back and refuse to support the plan. Despite already having the votes needed to pass his plan, Obama has given-in to Republican demands with the hope of gaining Republican votes for the package. But the Republicans have yet to show any support. Last week, the stimulus plan was passed by the House with zero Republican votes. The question is why, despite the severity of the economic crisis, Republicans refuse to support the stimulus package – especially as economists have continually argued that it is more important that the stimulus happen immediately than it is for it to be perfect. Perhaps Republicans learned something from the Cardinals while watching the Super Bowl – they learned how to play the game as an underdog.

With their lack of support for the current stimulus plan, the Republicans are throwing a Hail Mary.

The tide turned Democrat on November 4. What are the Republicans to do? When the Party lost control of the presidency, it also lost a lot of public support and the ability to implement its chosen policies. The Republican Party became the underdog in a continuous political struggle and they must now reach into their bag of tricks to get back in the game. It seems that the only way to do that right now is by playing games with the stimulus.

By showing zero support for the plan, the Republicans are getting ready to monopolize on the possibility of a failed package. Never mind the fact that there are Republican ideas in the package, such as increasingly larger tax cuts; with zero Republican votes it will still be the Democrats fault if the package fails. The public will blame Democrats for not solving the problem and support will begin to flow to the Republicans. It is from that new public support that Republicans will regain the power they lost on Election Day. From public support comes political capital.

The question is then, what will happen if the stimulus is a success?

Frankly, nothing will happen to the Republicans – the party will be no worse off than it already is. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Furthermore, I predict that we will hear a lot of Republicans claiming that it was those larger tax cuts that Republicans insisted on being in the package that really kicked the economy into gear.

We’ll see if the Hail Mary pass can be completed. As we learned from the Super Bowl, underdogs do not always win; regardless of the tenacity they bring to the game.

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