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April 30th, 2009
02:57 PM ET

GOP at 100 days

From Bob Ruff, CNN

As the nation focuses this week on the president’s record during his first 100 days in office, Obama’s out-of-the-gate performance seemingly is being analyzed by every major media outlet in the nation. He’s even being compared to the man who virtually invented 100 days, Franklin Roosevelt.

But what about the Republicans? How’ve they done and what have they done since Barack Obama became president on January 20th?

Despite their minority status, they’ve certainly tried to be pro-active.

–In January House Republicans united to vote unanimously against the president’s stimulus package. But it didn’t work. Democrats passed the legislation anyway.

–That next month Rush Limbaugh, the radio host widely popular with conservatives, energized a Republican conference by saying he hopes “Obama fails.” Even some Republicans thought that was over the top.

–Dick Cheney on March 19th appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union”, launching a series of TV appearances that defended former President Bush’s eight years while criticizing President Obama’s performance. At one point he told CNN’s John King that the nation is less safe under the Obama administration. Some critics wondered why Cheney hadn’t been more visible when he was vice president.

–Later in March House Republicans led by Minority Leader John Boehner offered up “The Republican Road to Recovery” as an alternative to the president’s recovery plan. It went no where.

–And on April 15 a series of anti-tax rallies, advertised as non-partisan but attended overwhelmingly by conservatives, fizzled after just one day.

We decided to ask GOP pollster, Whit Ayres, why Republicans are reeling. “This is a center right country,” says Ayres, “and remains so despite President Obama’s election.”

But if that’s the case, what explains low support for Republicans in public opinion polls? And what about the announcement just this week by veteran Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter that he has defected to the Democratic party?

Ayers says Republican woes can be explained by a party leadership that has veered too far to the political right. To get back on track they have to “be a center right party, not just a right party.” They need to adopt Ronald Reagan’s approach, says Ayers, by appealing to groups not currently on the GOP’s radar.

Will it work? Ayres says eventually it will because public support for the parties ebbs and flows over time. He reminds people that Republicans were in the dumps after Watergate, and that the party rebounded nicely to elect Ronald Reagan and eventually majorities in the House and the Senate.

Filed under: National Report Card • Politics
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Bob

    The low public opinion of the GOP, is due to the public recognition that the Republicans see that if Democrat actions are successful, the GOP will be decades trying to recover. They are doing everything they can to prevent that from happening. Their motives are for political survival and not for any concern for what the general public is facing.

    May 1, 2009 at 7:11 am |
  2. Nathan

    So we know that the Republicans are, in fact, the minority. You stated that. So we know that is the reason the Democrats passed their bill, and we also know that the Republican "Road to Recovery" went nowhere because Republicans were, in fact, the Minority.

    If Obama promoted liberty, I would love him. He promotes government dependence and aspiration-stifling policies and programs. Programs and policies that have NOT worked, ever. I want Obama to fail as well. His policies will NOT make America better in 4 years or 8 years. I want AMERICA to succeed. By turning the greatness of America loose, we succeed. By stifling it with government programs and taxes, we get nowhere. Except deeper in debt – which you can explain to your children.

    April 15... "tea-parties".... paying the government less of your own income sounds like it should be a fairly bi-partisan idea. Who wouldn't want that? Right? I'll tell you who... the same people who want to tell you how much you're worth, and how much you should pay. Never mind that the bottom 40 or 50 % of income earners DON'T PAY TAXES. That's what the rich people are for. It's sick, and people from both sides of the aisle can't see that, then liberals are blindly following a power hungry leader and forgetting that this country was founded under small-government ideas with the liberty of the INDIVIDUAL in mind.

    April 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  3. Aaron

    The republican party should be ashamed of themselves for the video released recently. I believe President Obama is trying to restore our image as a great nation to the world, which includes opening doors that have been closed for years. To make progress, our nation has to reach out to all nations to repair friendships and make new ones, but it is a two-way street. By being the first to reach out, the republicans believe this shows weakness, but this is just another fault within their party. I've always been told the only thing that stays the same is that everything changes and republicans learned this last November. If they want to continue the scare tactics they should show videos of what their party has done to our economy.

    April 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  4. JohnWinNC

    The GOP is divided between actual Republicans and what I call the "GOPs from HELL" (You know them by their "fruit"). the GOPs from Hell deserve a failing grade ("F") for being nothing but demonic, to put it kindly. What rescued them during the Reagan years was a group of nmoderates and independents who were worried about the nation leaning too far to one political extreme. These same voters are not going to come to the rescue of a Party that has identified itself with the ideological fanatics from the other extreme!

    April 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |