Tuesday, February 26, 2013

GOP - Ginormously Obstructionist Party

Oh, Man, what a way to run a country. Crisis management. As I write this, we are three days away from the sequester going into effect. This is rather like performing delicate brain surgery with a butcher knife. Chances are the patient is going to be much worse off than before the operation. Of course, this was never supposed to happen because both sides thought the other would back down in the face of such a horrendous outcome.

I guess we shouldn't really be surprised. This is the way we have operated since the Republicans took over the House in 2010. I've forgotten how many debt ceiling threats and fiscal cliffs we have endured since then. I think it is seven. And now we have the looming sequester and after that, another debt ceiling and another fiscal cliff.

So, America, supposedly the greatest country on earth, lurches from catastrophe to catastrophe and the Republicans call it governing.

Yes, I do blame the Republicans. Obama and the Democrats ran on exactly what they are proposing now. Raising taxes on the rich and closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations that allow them to get their taxes down to near zero, strategic budget cuts in social programs and defense while protecting social security and Medicare from harsh cutbacks. Obama won that election. The Democrats won more votes and picked up more seats in the Senate. The Democrats won more votes in House races although the Republicans gained seats because of gerrymandered districts. It seems pretty clear that the American people sided more with the Democratic vision of budgetary matters than the Republican one.

But, nevertheless, the Grand Old Party remains in its obstructionist dream world. Driven by an irrational hatred of Barack Obama, it appears they'd rather take the country down, and perhaps themselves along with it, than admit defeat. Surely, there must be some rational Republicans left but if so, they are overruled by the wild-eyed crazies like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and....I could go on and on.

And meanwhile, while we face the prospect of extraordinarily stupid cuts in our military readiness, the Republicans deny the country a Secretary of Defense, not over anything he has or hasn't done, but over a side issue that has them all in a snit - Benghazi, (something Chuck Hagel had absolutely nothing to do with) by filibustering his nomination...something neither party has ever done before in our entire history.

The strangest thing is that we have a template for what the Republicans want to do. If we want to see the results of austerity, we can simply look to Europe. We are growing out of our recession quicker than any of the "austerity first" countries (Britain just had its bond rating downgraded). We would be doing even better if the Republicans hadn't stonewalled a jobs/infrastructure bill. This isn't rocket science, it's Econ 101. We've known forever how to jump-start the economy out of recession and it always involves putting people to work as the first priority and worrying about deficits later, when economic growth would take of much of the problem for us.

Meanwhile, the Republicans see themselves on the wrong side of almost every issue - gay rights, reproductive rights, health care, taxes, immigration, energy, climate change -  (I would say foreign relations and defense but I have no idea what their stance is on those things anymore).

So on America's highway to the future, the Republicans are standing at the side throwing nails in the road to try to slow our momentum. I wish someone could explain what they believe the end game will be.

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