I have a vague memory that two years ago (and for many years before that) Republicans harped quite a bit on the horrors of “uncertainty.” Republicans claimed that “job creators” needed more certainty to put Americans back to work. As Sheri and Allan Rivlin wrote in October 2011, “if you don’t think about it very hard, there is real brilliance to this “ubiquitous Republican talking point“: “each time it is delivered, and it is delivered a lot, it connects three ideas: 1) the economic uncertainty that is dominating the public’s landscape 2) the assertion that it is the policies of President Barack Obama…causing the uncertainty, and 3) the promise that if the uncertainty could be removed business leaders would create more jobs.”
The uncertainty refrain has “powerful emotional appeal,” as the Rivlins noted. I think that is a big part of why observant and clever reactionaries are so upset with current events in Washington. Their party, which had a patent on “certainty,” is well on the way to taking ownership of uncertainty. And even the finest Republican gerrymandering will struggle to find enough voters who are truly pining for the end times.
- Obama to Boehner: ‘Stop The Excuses’ (swampland.time.com)
- Remember When Republicans Were Worried about Uncertainty? (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Remember when Republicans were worried about ‘economic uncertainty’? (washingtonpost.com)