April 30, 2012

Let's just say it: The Republicans are the Problem

Finally, someone says it: the Republicans are the problem, and avoids the normal media approach of blaming both sides.
Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies. The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations. And Republicans in the Senate have abused the confirmation process to block any and every nominee to posts such as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, solely to keep laws that were legitimately enacted from being implemented.
It is always dangerous to wax nostalgic about the past.  And there is no doubt that we have some heavy handed partisans in our past.  But my memory and reading suggests that we always had a pretty good mass of people who, while not motivated by altruism, had at least a goal of good governance.

I don't see that in the modern Republican party.  The Democrats, while hardly perfect, worked with Bush when they could.  Republicans, on the other hand, refuse to work with Obama, and reject even conservative proposals if they perceive that Obama might get credit.  Nothing is more important to these people than defeating Obama--and that includes serving the American people.

What is more amazing to me, however, are those still voting for the GOP.  At first, I wrote that off to the conservative lack of compassion toward the poor, and I still see that.  Conversation after conversation suggests that my conservative colleagues see the poor primarily as lazy and possibly immoral.  They have compassion, but think that most of the poor can, and should, work harder.

But this last round has revealed that it isn't just the very poor.  The GOP reviles the working poor too--those who work multiple jobs, but still apply for SNAP benefits to eat.  And let's take it just a little further.  The GOP is after the safety net, and even the safety net that middle and upper middles look to in their retirement years.  If the GOP gets their way, they will reduce Medicare to a voucher that increases only at inflation, leaving the elderly to negotiate for healthcare on the open market on a fixed income with less and less assistance.  As I mentioned to one of my friends the other day, middle class Republicans are not only voting to make life harder on the poor, but voting to make their own retirement more painful.  They are voting to cut their own throats, and thanking the GOP for the opportunity.

I hope they will wake up, but I am watching people vote out of emotion rather than logic--and emotion is much easier to manipulate.  And the GOP can manipulate emotional hatred of Obama (or whoever we throw up there, let's be honest) and distract their voters from the attack on their own interest.


steves said...

While I am not a supporter of the current crop of tax slashing Republicans, most seem to have been elected on the platform to cut "wasteful spending" and get rid of "bad regulations." Therefore, on some level, they are doing what some of the voters want.

I can't say if the opposition now is worse than it has ever been, but I can say that Obama seems to not be doing as good of a job as past presidents in selling his position to the country. I can't understand why, because he is a decent speaker and has some great speech writers.

Streak said...

Yeah, I think that misses the point These Republicans are simply lying to their voters about what is needed. The same people are convinced A) that they are over-taxed and B) that Obama has raised their taxes.

FDR never had to deal with either a media this stupid nor an opposition this bad. And it is worse. The democrats may not have respected Bush, but they worked with him on several issues. Republicans openly say they won't work with Obama out of fear that he will get the credit.

Streak said...

Some more from these guys: "However awkward it may be for the traditional press and nonpartisan analysts to acknowledge one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become a resurgent outlier, ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, un-persuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

Consider things like the consumer protection bureau--passed legitimately by Congress, but the Senate refuses to even acknowledge its legitimacy and will take extraordinary steps to keep it from being staffed.

steves said...

I don't think so. If you talk to some of the die-hard conservatives, they believe they are over-taxed and probably don't care who had raised taxes.

Streak said...

Yeah, but that is just divorced from reality. I am not going to respect that viewpoint.

steves said...

It is what it is. I am not suggesting that you accept it or respect it. I hear the same thing from conservatives. They opine that if only the "libtards" would just wise up and see the truth, they would think differently.

I think it is more complicated than you give credit.

Streak said...

No, that is the bullshit "both sides are equal" argument. All due respect, but that isn't true here. It is actually factually and empirically false to suggest that Obama has raised people's taxes. Just as it is ridiculous to suggest that with tax rates at near historic lows that we are over-taxed. The fact that you know hard core conservatives who say so doesn't make that viewpoint equally valid.

Streak said...

Btw, Steve, I am not trying to be dismissive, but I am frustrated with what I see as suggesting that both sides are equally intransigent and equally blind to reality.

What is more complicated than I give credit to? I am watching a right wing that has done the following things over the last couple of years: 1)ignore the "mandate" until people told them it was evil and that Obama wanted it; 2) accuse Obama of trying to use the mandate to ruin Medicare; 3) now argue that Medicare has to go because it is too costly.

And let's not forget the robo calls from the NRA telling me that Obama was trying to take away our gun rights. Or the non-existent "death panels" or calls that Obama was pushing to "ration" healthcare.

I don't deny that white Republicans are angry. I have spoken to many of them. What I deny is that they are angry for more than they have been told to be angry. There is nothing radical about this administration, but that doesn't play on talk radio nor Fox News.

steves said...

No, I am not saying both sides are equally intransigent or delusional. I am a moderator on a gun forum. As one would expect, the politics leans mostly to the right. I get a small peek into the thoughts of the right. From what I can tell, they are generally wrong about their assumptions of the left. They get bits and pieces right, but their overall picture is fairly simplistic.

I think the left does the same thing, in that they don't consider that there a huge range of positions on the right and that they may be more complicated than they appear.

That being said, the typical righty doesn't care about Obama's tax plan. They just want lower taxes and they believe that the GOP will do this. Income taxes may be at historic lows, but when you factor in all of the other taxes (gasoline, phone, sales, property, etc.), they are not that low. Add to this the perception that the gov't wastes money, you have the foundation for the belief that taxes should be lowered.

I am not suggesting that I agree with this, but you it is there. I don't think it can be changed simply by having a better media.

As for the robocalls, they are just going to get worse. Now this is something that both sides do, which is distort the truth and scare people.

Streak said...

I have never said that what Republicans are doing today represents the diversity of thought on the right. In fact, I don't think Republicans are actually conservative any longer--not when they refuse to even consider a good alternative to reducing the deficit, and are such interventionists in foreign policy. Those are not consistent with historical conservatism.

But this post was about the Republican party in power--not about the average Republican on the street. And the Republican party in power is, as these people argued, now outside the pale when it comes to political discourse, tactic and action. They are the problem, and I think anyone outside the tribe can see that. Just compare the number of times Democrats worked with Bush on policy to the number (zero) when Republicans have been willing to work with Obama. And those who dared to vote for an Obama plan? Get challenged by the idiots in the Tea Party.

And I won't apologize for calling the Tea Party idiots.

Oh, and you went right back to the both sides do it with the robo calls. The NRA knows full well that Obama hasn't done anything to reduce their gun rights. That is a blatant lie.

steves said...

If you really believe that only one side uses deception and scare tactics, then I suggest you watch...any political ad. Then go to one of the fact check sites (such as fact check.org) and see for yourself. This truly is an area where both sides do it.

Tea Party are idiots...that is a given.

Streak said...

No, I am not suggesting that the left doesn't do this. I am just frustrated by the common assumption that both sides are equal. And I think that the right is routinely misinformed on basic factual issues because of both the misinformation campaigns by the Republicans and the media's inability or unwillingness to address those outright lies.

I would note, btw, that the Obama campaign has been hammered by the left for its use of Osama's death to attack Romney. As well they should be. But we are all reminded of the numerous times that the right has attacked the patriotism of someone on the left with almost no pushback from anyone on the right.

steves said...

I do think that both sides are equal in that they engage in some similar broad tactics, but there are plenty of differences in substantive issues. I suppose if they were equal, we would have a one-party system.

I don't care for much of the current GOP, at least on the national level. The race to be the most "conservative" has been tiresome. Time will tell if Romney will move more towards the center, as he has done in the past.

Obama is getting hammered for the Osama thing. That is too bad. He does deserve some credit, but he did kind of indicate that he wouldn't do this.

Romney is also starting to suck up to the gun owners and is saying that Obama is going to push a bunch of anti-gun legislation. While it is certainly possible, I think he is a flip-flopper on that issue because of his strong support of gun control in the past.