FINEMAN EXPLAINS GOP HEALTH CARE STRATEGY…. Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman was on MSNBC’s “Countdown” last night, and talked a bit about how the congressional minority is approaching the debate over health care reform. He was a little more candid than usual.

He initially talked about the Republican Party now being run by a new “RNC” — “Rush, Newt, [Liz] Cheney” — that is more committed stoking “racial fears and resentments” and talking about “where Barack Obama was born.”

Fineman added, “I talked to people on the Hill all day today. Talked to Republicans as well as Democrats. Republicans claims they have a plan. They don’t. They claim they’re going to have a plan. They won’t. Their whole strategy … is to stand on the sidelines with their arms folded while the Democrats try to work this thing out. That’s their whole strategy.”

He concluded by saying President Obama is “on the right side” of this debate, and the GOP is “on the wrong” side.

This isn’t exactly shocking news to those who’ve been watching the debate unfold, but it was nice to hear it mentioned on the air, especially from a media figure who doesn’t often chastise Republicans so candidly.

My only caveat is that Republicans aren’t exactly “standing on the sidelines with their arms folded.” When it comes to genuine policy work and the heavy lifting of governing, that’s clearly true. But when it comes to politics, I suspect Dems would be thrilled if the GOP simply stayed out of the way with their arms folded. Instead, they’re churning out a whole lot of lies, misleading the public, and confusing the media.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.