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Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Really?!

Apparently now it’s President Obama’s fault that there wasn’t an “orderly transition” in Iraq??? Or, so says the GOP.  Never mind that the first few orders given by Paul Bremer after the fall of Baghdad in 2003 virtually guaranteed the instability that resulted.  Let us not forget that Bremer totally disbanded the existing political and security institutions.  He fired the entire bureaucracy, making certain that all knowledge of how things worked disappeared.  And he disbanded the entire military and police forces, putting thousands of trained people out of work.  And we were surprised that an insurgency developed???

You can spin history all you want, but you can’t change the facts.  Epic FAIL!

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More has come to light from John Boehner’s interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.  In the same interview I mentioned in my last post, Boehner mouthed the GOP talking point about opposing the drilling moratorium.  But in the next sentence, he allowed as how in the case of deepwater drilling, we ought to pause until we know what caused the well to fail and until we know how to prevent a recurrence.  I have news for the Minority Leader.  That’s exactly what the moratorium would do — pause deepwater drilling until we can figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it from going wrong again!

And then there’s Michele Bachmann (R-MN) who railed against the US becoming part of a global economy.  I’m not exactly sure where she’s been for the past decade or so, but we ARE part of a global economy.  It’s the dream child of the free-market folks — offshore your production to the cheapest and least regulated labor markets in order to maximize profits.  The downside, of course, is that markets are never fully free.  The best we can hope for is fair competition.  And the downside of offshoring production is that it also drives down wages at home, making it more difficult for large numbers of people to afford your product.

And the there’s Sharron Angle, the tea party candidate who won the GOP senatorial primary in Nevada.  She’s been busy trying to walk back some of her more outrageous statements so as to broaden her appeal to folks who are a bit less unhinged than she is.  Somebody obviously told her that advocating abolishing Social Security isn’t politically popular, so she’s trying to blur the distinction between outright abolition, privatizing it (since that concept worked so well for George W. Bush even before the markets melted down), and something she calls personalizing it.  This from the woman who also wants to go back to Prohibition — in Las Vegas no less!  And who thinks that rape and incest are all just part of God’s plan for people and that a woman who’s been raped just needs to have a little faith that her assault is part of that plan, as is carrying the resulting child to term.  And then there’s her great sympathy for the long-term unemployed, who she suggests should simply take one of those many low-paying jobs she says are out there just waiting instead of feeling entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be out of reach for a week or so — a trip to visit mother-in-law and then a fun trip up the coast a bit for a weekend on the beach with good friends and an annual bbq gathering with some of spouse’s aerospace buddies, some of whom were giants in the industry.

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From what we’ve been seeing from Republicans supposedly “negotiating” on health care reform, it’s reasonable to ask if they are negotiating or obstructing.  Negotiating presumes a willingness to compromise.  Each side gives something to arrive at a solution.  While nobody gets all they want, neither do they have to give up everything.  But compromise seems to be operative only among Democrats.  Republicans, on the other hand, continue to throw up roadblock after roadblock each time the Democrats show any signs of compromise.  Is compromise viewed as weakness among Republicans?  It would seem so.

Perhaps this debate has brought into focus a fundamental difference between today’s Democrats and Republicans.  I saw the first indications of it during a GOP governor’s first term in New Mexico nearly 20 years ago.  But the mantra can be characterized by Ronald Regan’s pronouncement that government is the problem.  A Republican who had run a successful business ran for and was elected governor of New Mexico.  As owner of a business, he was accustomed to getting his way, to having people do what he asked them to do.  After all, if they didn’t, he could fire them.  But he quickly discovered that governing is an entirely different activity, requiring both the ability and the willingness to negotiate and to compromise.  And therein lies the difference.  It appears that Democrats truly want to govern, while Republicans prefer ruling.

The kind and tone of the opposition has made it apparent that the only “reform” the GOPers are interested in is no reform.  Oh, they mouth words that say they support reform, but they aren’t contributing anything positive to the debate.  They talk privatization, letting the market rule.  Well, just look at the financial collapse last fall and you have a really good assessment of how well unregulated markets work.  Why, even Alan Greenspan, that beacon of free-market capitalism, has admitted that it didn’t work very well.

Finally, a member of Congress has called it like it is in an op-ed piece in USA Today.  He says it’s time to forget bipartisanship and use the tools available to make the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress work like they’re supposed to.

The Gang of Six seems to be crumbling.  Yesterday there were hints that even without a public option, the GOP members of the group were demanding additional concessions.  Sen. Grassley (R-IA) allowed as how he wouldn’t vote for anything but a “perfect” bill.  By today he is saying that bipartisanship is impossible. Also today, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) suggested that the reconciliation process might be the only path to reform.  That is unfortunate, but without cooperation from Republicans, it’s the only way.

It’s time to listen to the American people instead of the corporate shills.  The shills have stirred up enough trouble, enough hate and discontent.  In case you’re still laboring under the impression that “ordinary Americans” are populating those raucous town hall meetings, ask yourself why they only show up at meetings held by Democrats.  Then, look at the chart below, which was published today by the Campaign for America’s Future.

Who's Paying to Kill Health Care Reform?

We’ve been waiting for health care reform for decades.  It’s time to stop letting Sen. Grassley’s perfect become the enemy of the good.  Let’s pass it, see how it works, then tinker with the parts that need improvement.  Otherwise, we’ll continue to see the numbers of uninsured rise along with costs.  Republicans cried that Social Security and Medicare were socialism.  Democrats ignored the naysayers and passed both.  Now, they are integral parts of our social safety net, programs that while imperfect, are considered essential by all but the most reactionary people among us.

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The Senate Republicans are lining up to oppose the stimulus package, whining as did the House Republicans, that they aren’t being listened to and that their ideas aren’t finding their way into the package.  Never mind that President Obama met with the House Republicans, listened to their concerns, and the House made some adjustments to the mix in the bill to try to accommodate them.  More tax cuts.  A few spending cuts.   They responded to his open hand with a clenched fist.  And here we thought that was aimed at the terrorists.  So, what did they do?  Voted NO as a block.  Never mind that the tax cuts of the past eight years haven’t exactly led to prosperity.  They want more of the same, and the Senate Republicans are acting like an echo chamber.  I wonder how many of those “no” voters will say “thanks but no thanks” to any stimulus funds that might be coming into their districts or their states.  Anyone want to take bets on that one?  Think you could find anyone to take you up on it, regardless of what sort of odds you give?

Economists of every persuasion — liberal and conservative — agree that a stimulus package is needed and that tax cuts don’t produce jobs the way spending does.  Most economists agree that people, except for the poor — many of whom fall below the minimum income needed to pay taxes — tend to save the money coming from tax cuts.  Or they use them to pay existing bills.  The tax cuts don’t get money into the economy as well or as quickly as spending does.  And heaven knows there are plenty of things we’ve been ignoring as a nation for decades.  All you have to do is drive our highways and city streets.  The pavement is cracking and the pot holes are nearly big enough to swallow a car.  How many more bridges and levees and dams need to fail before we get it… we need to invest in infrastructure.  How many more school buildings need to be condemned because they are unsafe?  How many more kids need to sit on the floor, lacking books and supplies, let alone class sizes that are actually conducive to learning?  How many buildings need to be made more energy efficient?  The list is nearly endless.  But the Republicans focused their criticism on condoms and new sod for the National Mall.  No matter that preventing unwanted pregnancies among poor families prevents a further financial drain on the system.  No matter that even laying new sod on the Mall would provide jobs for some folks who desperately need them.

It would seem that the Grand Obstructionist Party isn’t paying much attention to the election results… a Democrat elected President by a wide margin, significant numbers of seats lost in both houses of Congress.  The American People sent a message, but it seems they aren’t listening.  The message was that we don’t want more of the same.  It hasn’t worked out so well for us.  And elections have consequences.  Bipartisanship doesn’t mean that the minority part is still in control.  It means that everyone, regardless of party affiliation, works together for the good of the country.

The economy is hemorrhaging jobs at a growing rate — 100,000 or more just this week.  Housing prices are still falling.  People are afraid to spend money because they fear their job will be next.   This economy desperately needs to create jobs.  But the Republicans are playing with the numbers, again.  Instead of looking at the cost per job over the life of the stimulus package, they’re billing the entire cost in the first year, a trick that nearly quadruples the cost and doesn’t take into consideration the tax revenues those jobs produce.  But it serves their partisan political purposes.  Or so they think.  Do they really think that the voters won’t be reminded of their record come the mid-term elections, especially if by then things are starting to turn around?  They’re banking on the hope that things will be worse.

President Obama said before he took office that things are likely to get worse before they get better.  If this week’s numbers are an example, he was correct.  But a change of attitude is in the air.   Whether shaming via the bully pulpit or coercing via new and improved regulations, the administration is clearly identifying the problems that come with lack of regulation, oversight and accountability. And only one Senate seat remains as hostage to continued Republican obstructionism.   It will be interesting to see just how far the Republicans are willing to push — and even more interesting to see the consequences of their methods.

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