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Commentary: GOP means 'Got 0 Plans'

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  • Paul Begala: Republicans are criticizing president for tackling too many problems
  • Begala says Bush administration left President Obama with severe economic crisis
  • Begala: Americans are counting on Obama to bring change on many fronts
  • He says Republicans haven't produced plans to revive the economy
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By Paul Begala
Special to CNN
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Editor's note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House. For a rival view, click here

Paul Begala says Americans are looking to President Obama to solve problems left by the Bush administration.

Paul Begala says Americans are looking to President Obama to solve problems left by the Bush administration.

(CNN) -- I love Alex Castellanos. Heck, somebody has to. Truth is, we've been known to break bread after our CNN gigs. He is engaging and amusing and whip-smart.

But when he said Tuesday night on CNN that President Obama is already looking like a one-term president, he's full of more beans than a burrito at Matt's El Rancho back home in Austin, Texas.

Obama inherited an ungodly mess: a $1.2 trillion deficit, an economy that was careening from recession into depression, a collapse in effective demand, the disintegration of the real estate market and a financial meltdown that spanned the globe and brought multibillion-dollar institutions to their knees. That's not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and the Mexican drug war.

If this were "Sesame Street," the announcer would be saying, "This program brought to you by the letters G, O and P." None of the crises the president is addressing were of his creation. All of them were created or worsened by the Republicans who ran the House of Representatives, Senate and White House for years.

And so the American people turned to Obama to bring change -- and change he has brought. He's moving on all fronts: addressing the housing foreclosure crisis, the banking crisis, the unemployment crisis. Did I mention that all of these crises were courtesy of the Republicans who ran this country for years? Good.

Now the Republicans have what we Texans call the chutzpah to criticize Obama for doing too much. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't have to be fixing so many problems if the Republicans hadn't created so many problems.

The Republicans are like an arsonist who complains that the fire department is wasting water. Obama is trying to handle an immediate crisis while also laying the foundation for long-term growth. The Republicans are doing neither. They have no plan to stop the loss of jobs or to get capital markets functioning properly -- and they certainly have no plans for health care, education or energy, which are the keys to both long-term economic growth and long-term deficit reduction.

All the energy -- indeed all debate -- is on the progressive side of the aisle. The Obama administration's only intellectual challengers are on the left, where economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and others are offering a vigorous critique and proposing alternative solutions. But where are the Republicans? Doing nothing but complaining. Unless and until they do offer an alternative, they really have no right to whine about the president. For now at least, GOP stands for "Got 0 Plans."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul Begala.

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