What seems obvious to me is that most Republicans in Congress are disingenuous about wanting to provide solutions to the nation’s problems. They’re just playing bandwagon populist politics when it suits them by talking the talk that concerned citizens and independent voters want to hear.
Protesting that theirs is not the Party of No, Republican members of Congress declared victory Friday evening after an open and frank, hour-and-a-half exchange between themselves and the president, an exchange that was aired on national television networks. Their imagined victory was in having got the president to concede the fact that Republicans do have ideas on how to address the nation’s problems and, in the president’s own words, some being substantial ideas. But being substantial does not imply being workable.
“We are not obstructionists,” Republicans said while the president countered with, “I am not an ideologue (a zealous supporter of a particular ideology).”
Well, if you watched any of this exchange as I did, I think you’d almost have come to the same conclusion that I did: that the president got the better of more than a hundred of his political opponents. FoxNews seemed to come to the same conclusion I did since they cut away from the exchange early to air instead critics of the president’s agenda – or so it was reported by MSNBC news analysts, Rachael Maddow, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.
So, is it fair to still call the Republican Party the Party of No, or have they proved themselves to be credible advocates of reasonable, workable ideas to address the nation’s problems? Here’s why I think they’re still the Party of No, the Party of No Good Ideas, the party of No intention whatsoever to cooperate with Democrats to get anything done: The Senate on Tuesday rejected legislation calling for a bi-partisan congressional commission to recommend reductions in the federal deficit spending. A group of 37 Democrats and 16 Republicans supported forming the commission, while 23 Republicans and 23 Democrats opposed it. The 53-46 vote fell seven votes shy of the necessary 60 votes required under an agreement that both parties had reached Monday night. Most telling about Congressional Republicans’ sincerity, of seven Republican Senators who had co-sponsored the bill, six backed away from it when it came to a vote and the seventh, according to a Politico.com story, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/32048.html, wasn’t present to cast a vote.
Deficit spending this year by the Congress, in particular the $787 billion Economic Recovery and Stimulus Act, has been a major criticism of the Obama Administration by the Conservative propaganda machine, even though sixty-three percent of it had already been budgeted before the President was even sworn-in. Further, John McCain’s campaign was primarily about cutting wasteful spending and reducing the deficit. But now that the majority of Democrats are willing to come up with a bi-partisan solution, the majority of Republicans are saying, “No.” McCain reportedly voted against it because he feared the committee might, in addition to recommending spending cuts, come to the conclusion that the only way to meaningfully reduce the deficit would be to increase taxes on those who can most afford to contribute http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012803729.html?hpid=topnews.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), even if all non-security discretionary spending were to be cut from the nation’s budget, even if there would be no further stimulus spending after 2010 with no federal spending in the jobs bill that the president has asked Congress for, with the Bush tax cuts allowed to remain in-effect at the end of 2010, we would still have a half trillion dollar deficit with ten percent of the budget going to service interest on dollars we have already borrowed http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10521/2009BudgetUpdate_Summary.pdf. So, faced with this reality, what seems obvious to me is that most Republicans in Congress are disingenuous about providing solutions to their own criticisms of the Obama Administration. They’re just playing bandwagon populist politics when it suits them by talking the talk that concerned citizens and independent voters want to hear. They are not willing to walk the walk when public policy changes like raising taxes are on the table. That’s partisanship for you, and that’s the reason why Congressional Republicans still have a lower approval rating than Congressional Democrats.
It’s what politicians do that counts, folks, not what they say. And Republicans this year have done nothing but unite against anything and everything proposed by the majority in Congress.
Fellow Democrats, let’s all hope that independents get over their let’s-just-throw-the-incumbents-out mood before the mid-term elections this fall and that they will vote for representatives who are actually willing to roll-up their sleeves, take political risks, and get stuff done. For my money, that’s more a Democratic trait these days than a Republican one.
Please feel free to post a comment whether you agree with me or not.