The only reason I mention this, really, is because now I can't help but think of the first half of that quote every single time someone does or says something overwhelmingly stupid. Today it was over the party-line vote for the stimulus package.
House Republicans: listen up. Obama spent significant time and energy (to say nothing of political capital) trying to make this bill more Republican friendly. If one of you, just one, had voted his way on this, then you'd be sending a message that you're open to negotiation. You could have ridden that one vote for months, gotten important concessions on far more controversial issues, by giving Obama hope that by doing so he could win bipartisan support. All it would have taken is for one of you to support a bill that was obviously going to pass anyway.
Instead you showed that you have no interest in compromise, and you've given Obama political cover to ignore you totally the next time around.
Are you dense? Are you goddamn retarded?
Update: Publius has a different take on this:
Frankly, I don’t think it was a completely irrational move considering the circumstances. The House Republicans’ long-term prospects ain’t good – they’re locked into a declining, southern-centric demographic base getting smaller by the year. Plus, it's not like voting for the stimulus will reverse these trends. If it works, Obama will probably get credit regardless of what the GOP does. Accordingly, the GOP decided to do something more drastic, and then hope for the best by hoping for the worst.
And it might work.... Maybe the economy will get even worse in 2 or 4 years. If so, the Republicans can stand up and say, “if only we had cut more taxes, if only we hadn’t wasted all this money…” And who knows? If the economy continues to tank, that might get some traction.
It's a fair point, I guess, though I'm not sure why this strategy required 100% rejection. I think the GOP could have afforded a concession of a vote or two and still made the case later on that they were against the stimulus package.Publius' take does at least suggest there was strategic thinking behind the move, at least. It's just that said strategy is to trust entirely to luck and that that luck be bad for everyone in the country but them. Publius' analogy to a game of poker is a good one, and is made all the more interesting by the fact that under that analogy, the Republicans' are playing directly against the US as a whole.
In other words, by thinking the GOP has no grand plan at all at this point, I may actually have been too kind.