Commentary: Don't Believe the GOP Hype in 2015

Commentary: Don't Believe the GOP Hype in 2015

Republicans were wrong about so many things in 2014. Be wary of their predictions this year.

Published January 2, 2015

Around this time last year, I predicted Democrats would retain control of the Senate, Tiger Woods would win the Masters, LeBron James would win another NBA championship and New York City would be too cold for the Super Bowl.

Boy, was I wrong.

At least my predictions were harmless. Meanwhile, Judd Legum at Think Progress put together a list of some of the horrible things that were supposed to happen by now if President Obama was re-elected. The list is comical, at least in the sense that respectable people once took those predictions seriously.

If you listened to Republicans, gas prices were supposed to rise to nearly $6 a gallon, unemployment was supposed to be stuck at 8 percent and the stock market was supposed to crash. None of that happened. Instead, gas prices have fallen below $2 a gallon in some places, unemployment has dropped to 5.8 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average skyrocketed past the 18,000 mark last month after starting at 7949 when Obama took office.

The GOP predictions got worse last year. Donald Trump predicted Ebola would spread across America if President Obama didn't impose a travel embargo on all flights from West Africa. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) predicted we would "all get killed" (yes, killed) by ISIS because of Obama's weak foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sen. John McCain predicted Obama's policies in Ukraine were making America weak against Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Once again, none of that happened. Ebola didn't spread across America, ISIS didn't kill us all and Putin has been seriously weakened by a combination of U.S. sanctions and falling oil prices.

But all that pales in comparison to the most wildly inaccurate Republican prediction: that Obamacare would collapse in 2014. "I don't think it's ever going to work," House Speaker John Boehner predicted. Sen. Orrin Hatch predicted Obamacare would never meet its enrollment numbers. "Obamacare is failing and will fail," conservative commentator Bill Kristol declared.

Turns out they were wrong. After some initial website glitches in October 2013, the Affordable Care Act turned out to be quite successful, as New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman notes. The law has helped to slow the rise of health care costs, provide millions of Americans with new coverage and lower the deficit to boot. And it accomplished that while meeting its target goals for enrollment.

Why were so many of the Republican predictions wrong? Because they were based on the fear-based notion that any temporary setback in policy implementation could be exploited to prove their theory of government incompetence, and more directly, President Obama's incompetence.

President Obama often says that government can, and should, work to help ordinary Americans. I suspect most Republican elected officials already know that government can work, but to admit this is to contradict their philosophical underpinnings, most prominently articulated by President Reagan, "that government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

To admit that Obama has been successful as president is to admit that government can work, and to admit that government can work is to admit that it should be properly funded to accomplish its tasks.

I don't expect Republicans to change in the next few weeks as they take control of both houses of Congress. But there is an opportunity for the rest of us to change in 2015. The next time a Republican Senator or Congressman or conservative commentator predicts that Obama's policies will destroy the economy or weaken America, don't believe the hype. 

Keith Boykin is a New York Times best-selling author and former White House aide to President Clinton. He attended Harvard Law School with President Barack Obama and currently serves as a TV political commentator. He writes commentary for BET.com each week.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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Written by Keith Boykin

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