"I want Barack Obama to fail."
This Rush Limbaugh quote has been thrown around quite a bit over the past week or so, and as easy as it may be to dismiss, it is important to understand its proper context.
Limbaugh means that he does not want to see Obama's so-called "socialist" vision of America realized - a statement making it quite clear that Limbaugh's ideals are more important to him than the recovery of America, as he would rather see America continue to suffer than recover under Obama's plans.
Conservative idealists like Limbaugh are in a difficult position right now: They must affirm their ideology even after eight years of their policies having left America in a bad place. If Republicans wish to remain a politically viable party, they must maintain a party platform while simultaneously cooperating to help fix the struggling American economy.
Unfortunately for them, these two goals are currently incompatible. If they wish to maintain their party line, they must sacrifice bipartisanship, and if they wish to save America, they must temporarily set aside their ideology. This is because the Republican Party's principles of personal responsibility, low taxes and small government are completely incongruent with the Democrats' recovery plan of a social safety net, higher taxes for the wealthy and increased government oversight.
Let us examine two variables and the outcomes of each. The variables are the GOP's support or rejection of Obama's policies, and Obama's success or failure as president.
The four outcomes are as follows:
1.Support/Succeed: If the Republicans support Obama and he is a success, then America benefits, but the Republicans fail politically, as their ideology has suffered a major blow by the success of liberal policies.
2.Support/Fail: If the Republicans support Obama but he ultimately fails, then America loses, and so do the Republicans for supporting a failed plan.
3.Reject/Succeed: If the Republicans reject Obama's policies but he ultimately succeeds, then America benefits, but the Republicans suffer their biggest failure from having tried to prevent policies that ended up working.
4.Reject/Fail: If the Republicans reject Obama's policies and his policies end up failing, America loses, but the Republicans win, as they rightfully rejected failed policies.
There is no outcome where both the Republicans and America win. This is where their choice comes into play: do they aim to help America or their own party?
If they were to help America, they would favor the first outcome Support/Succeed; however, the blatant rejection of bipartisanship and the mantra of those like Limbaugh indicate that their ideal result is the fourth outcome, Reject/Fail.
Because of the Republicans' desired end, they are rejecting Obama's policies and are trying to obstruct him at every turn. They want to remain politically viable for the 2012 election, and they need to be right about him failing.
Unfortunately, if they get their ideal outcome America will be in for a bad four years.
Taimur Gibson is a freshman pol-sci major who hopes the Republicans go with Outcome 4, so he can gloat in satisfaction.