Why fronting like they’re the opposition could help Republicans after November
I agree with Atrios that the possibility of “bipartisanship” after a Republican victory in November is not exactly something to hope for. All that really means is that the Republicans will be able to get more concessions out of Obama than they already have, so really there’s no reason to think there’s a bright side. Bipartisanship is basically code for “conservatives pull the nation rightward”.
That said, I think that Atrios is probably wrong about this:
They’d have some power to set the agenda and therefore take credit for things unlike now where they aren’t in charge, don’t get credit, and therefore have a rational interest in just opposing everything.
The notion that they’re going to stop milking the position of being in the opposition just because they technically have the majority depends on believing Republicans are beholden to reality or truth in any way, shape, or form. And they’re simply not. If they perceive being the party of no as their main source of power, they will continue to do that when they have power. They depend on a base that isn’t particularly nuanced in its thinking, but is currently focused single-mindedly on hating Obama. And Republicans like to keep their base well-fed.
In theory, it should be in their own best interests not to orchestrate a government shutdown by basically refusing to work with the White House on anything. But I suspect that they think this is the best idea in the world, because they’re pretty convinced that the nation will blame Obama. So while they should, in a rational world, be the ones who suffer the consequences in 2012 by shutting down the government, the hope is that the voters won’t act rationally. I’m pretty sure this strategy is going to play out exactly how they want it to. Step 1: turn the nation into even more a shithole than it is. Step 2: blame Obama. Step 3: reap the electoral benefits, especially in light of a mainstream media eager to play along with their narratives.
But hey, maybe I’m too cynical about this. I’m just not really convinced most voters pay enough attention to hand out blame to those who deserve it the most.