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Republican party strategists hoping to hold on to control of the House, take over the Senate and recapture the White House have a simple plan for 2012: Keep the nation’s economy in chaos and hope the fallout dooms President Barack Obama‘s re-election and takes other Democrats down with him.
GOP strategists tell Capitol Hill Blue that keeping the nation in economic despair helps Republicans and is the best election ploy for the party.
“It’s a risky strategy because some polls show voters blaming Republicans as much as Democrats and in some cases more,” says one GOP operative who asked not to be identified. “If it works, it puts us back in control.”
Party insiders say the GOP is willing to sacrifice any chance of economic recovery over the next year if it helps Republicans win in 2012.
“You have to view it from our perspective,” says one strategist for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “What’s best for the Republican party is best for the nation in the long run even if it means prolonging the recession until after the next election.”
But while political pros are willing to take chances, some GOP members of Congress aren’t so sure and a few are talking compromise on a long-stalled education bill and other economic initiatives.
“There’s still room for negotiation,” says former GOP congressional staff member Harold Weeks. “We may see some progress on bills in the coming weeks.”
Still, Republican political operatives argue that while a continued economic downturn and high unemployment may mean bad news for the economy, it could mean good news for the GOP.
“The goal is to win elections,” says GOP operative Chris Dawson. “How we get there is less important than what we do after the election.”