Bill Murchison

The Republicans have a chance. Not that they deserve it. Not that they won't blow it. Still, a chance who'da thunk it back in those parched and yellow days of November 2008?

The chance the Republicans have, in the winter of 2009, was eminently predictable, stemming from human factors such as -- ahem -- misunderestimation, by the Democratic victors, of the difference between pointing to problems and actually addressing those problems intelligently and usefully.

In politics, no matter how good you say you are, you probably aren't that good: maybe not even half as good. Having learned as much about and from the Republicans, voters have the chance to rediscover the adage applies to both parties.

The Pelosi team in the House, seemingly, isn't one tenth as good and brilliant as they let on during the campaign. Nor -- let us strive to put this charitably -- has the Obama team, including its No. 1 member, moved with the grace and sure-footedness that member led us to expect. Hardly anyone but the House Democrats thinks the -- ha-ha-ho-ho -- "stimulus" bill has more to do with stimulus than with the enactment of boilerplate Democratic goals, chief among these being the distribution of pork. The Democrats shut the Republicans wholly out of the process -- and received not one House Republican vote.

President Obama, without having stepped directly into the kitchen where this gastronomic mess was prepared, gave the concoction his top Michelin rating. Now the Senate is considering a do-over that the Republicans, if they stay united, can force: less spending-for-the-sake-of-spending, more tax cuts aimed at job creation.

We'll see. Meanwhile President Obama, feeling the need to redeem some of his more dicey campaign promises, decides to close Guantanamo Bay's terrorist detention camp, with no plan in hand for dealing with the inmates. He appoints to the Cabinet two top Democrats whose tax policy is to ignore payments they don't care to make. Ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, nominated to head up health and welfare policy, never suspected he owed taxes on a car and driver that a client provided him absolutely free? Ah, the good life in Washington!

If Democrat Tom Daschle's cheerful disdain for the obligation to pay taxes doesn't cancel out Republican Jack Abramoff's freebooting lobbyist career, still it can remind voters that claims of moral superiority from politicians of any cast aren't especially becoming.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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