Friday, January 21, 2011

The Farce Continues

Am I the only one who wonders why the Republicans in the House, who were so gung-ho to rein in spending, are continuing to waste their time and our money in pursuit of the meaningless and the trivial? Only a few days ago the House passed a piece of legislation called "Repealing of the Job Killing Health Care Law". Subtle, eh? Also in the House, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), newly minted Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is making threats to start endless investigations into the Obama Administration. Not for any specific abuses, as far as I can tell, but more in the realm of a touchdown dance now that the GOP has retaken control of the House of Representatives.  Both are pointless, petty and completely out of touch with the real problems facing the country and more of a demonstration of political gamesmanship than anything else.

As far as health reform repeal is concerned, let's all remember that it is functionally impossible for Republicans to repeal health reform at this time. Maybe if they win the Presidency or the Senate in 2012 it would be feasible, but not now. They can pass any idiotic notion they want in the House and no doubt this item is only the first, but it will then go to the other side of the Capital and vanish from sight. The Senate will never debate it, much less pass it. And even if it were passed, the President will veto it and an override would require the support of two-thirds of both houses, which will not happen. Not to mention the question of why you would want to in the first place. It's not perfect and parts of it will be debated and challenged, but it includes a lot of good things. It's also true that the Congressional Budget Office and other non-aligned groups have consistently said that this law will save money over the next decade. I realize the GOP had to go through the formalities for those supporters too ignorant of how the government functions to realize what an empty promise repeal actually was, but the gesture has been made, now let's move on!

Then we have the oft voiced threat to hold a long series of vague and pointless House investigations of the Obama Administration. Really? So we went through 8 years of the Bush Administration redefining torture in such a way to make it legal, had the rendition of suspects to secret locations outside the reach of our laws and the maintenance of an offshore gulag. Then Obama tries to do exactly what he was elected to do and this is a problem. It is as transparent a political game as you are likely to see. And in DC that's saying something. But it's only the opening salvo of the newly GOP controlled House as they pursue their most important agenda item for the next couple years; prevent Obama from winning reelection in 2012. I do not exaggerate. Senate Minority Leader McConnell actually told a conservative gathering last year that preventing Obama from winning a second term was their top priority. He actually said that, even as we deal with rampant unemployment, economic desolation and a rising national debt. It is comforting to know that our elected officials continue to be focused on the future. Not America's, unfortunately, but certainly that of the GOP. To say this behavior angers me would be like saying that Hurricane Katrina got a few people wet.

It's way past time for the conservatives to stop acting like Obama is some far left radical. I use the term 'act' literally, as most of these people know full well that this President is the most centrist, pragmatic Chief Executive we've seen in over 30 years. He has consistently taken conservative ideas and incorporated them into his policy proposals. Consistently he's been open to GOP suggestions. Consistently he has irritated the more progressive wing of his party for not taking up the charge on many liberal causes, such as gay marriage. Yet he has consistently been portrayed among conservative politicians and talking heads as an out of control, frothing liberal. Why? Because a centrist, popular Democrat is a GOP nightmare. They didn't know what to do with him when he was elected. The last thing they wanted was to help him and thereby hurt their chances of beating him in 2012, so they did the only thing they could . . . they made things up. They began a narrative that was a lie. It was obvious to most of us who actually looked at the policies and ignored the rhetoric, but many have bought into it and that is a tragedy. It's depressing to imagine all that could have been done, if only America were more important than politics. It's also depressing that so many Americans actually believe the drivel being spouted to by those who have no reason whatsoever to cooperate with this Administration. That's how they won back the House. Some Americans are so shortsighted and impatient that they couldn't even give Obama his full term before throwing up their hands in frustration. Guess it's true, in a Democracy you do get the government you deserve.

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