Throw the GOP Congress OUT

As this blog has pointed out numerous times, the GOP Congress is nothing short of being morally corrupt and treasonous. Their deliberate running up of the US Deficit during the George W. Bush Presidency is despicable –  not just unpaid tax cuts and a drug benefits program but also no money to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Bush added $4trillion alone on his watch to the US Deficit. But does the  GOP Congress take responsibility  No! In 2008 they   pivot/switch on a dime and say they are NOW for deficit cutbacks  and they are the best party to manage that “change” .

But really this is just a cover for the insidious plan to sabotage President Obama efforts to right the economy and getting the nation working. On President Obama’s Inaguration Day  GOP Congressional leaders secretly plotted a scorched earth campaign to reject all  Obama appointments, economic policy and budgeting efforts in Congress. The idea was not just to obstruct but actively work to discredit all of President Obama’s efforts by effectively sabotaging them. This would then  in show that government does not work. And the key was to twist and flip in mid-air like Myth Romney from being the party of deficit spending to the new found in 2009 Tea Party  religion of unconditional  deficit fighting.

This was the GOP Big Lie for rejecting bipartisanship and any of Obama’s Economic policies. Using the fibuster rules in the Senate the GOP could  hold hostage every Obama program by forcing any Obama legislation to pass by not 51 but 60 votes in the Senate. The GOP Congress resorted to filibuster tactics 4 times more than its use in the previous Congresss. and withScott Brown’s GOP’ Senate s win in 2010 effectively cutoff any and all  Obama legislation, appointments, and budgets

This has been the GOP Congressional plan for the past four years starting from day one and utterly ignoring President Obama’s  concerted efforts at bipartisanship. Here is how the NewYorker’sJonathan Chait  describes the cynical ploy:

Is there anything Obama could have done, without abandoning all the goals he set out in his campaign, to prevent Republicans from waging war against him? What would be a reasonable set of criteria to define Obama as having reached out to the GOP?

As it happens, the conservative writer Peter Berkowitz wrote a story in the Weekly Standard devoted to exactly that topic just after Obama won the 2008 election. Headlined “Supposing Obama Were a Bipartisan,” the piece conveyed a note of skepticism that the newly elected president truly would live up to his image. Berkowitz listed seven things Obama could do to prove that he actually was the bipartisan figure he presented himself to be. Here is his list, in italics, interspersed with my update:

1. Obama should defend the integrity and independence of the executive branch that he will soon head by resisting calls from congressional Democrats to pursue criminal investigations of Bush administration officials. Done.[this was a huge concession]
2.?Obama should reappoint Robert Gates secretary of defense
. Done.

3.?Obama’s first appointment to the Supreme Court should be a judge’s judge, a Democrat no doubt, but one who commands the respect of conservative court watchers.

This one is sort of hard to define, but Obama’s first appointment, Sonia Sotomayor, was generally described as mainstream by Republicans.

4.?Obama should institute a practice of regular consultation with members of Congress, including Republicans, perhaps inviting them to the White House once a month to compare notes and exchange views.

Obama did begin his presidency by consulting with Republicans, some of them repeatedly. Obama was stunned when the GOP leadership indicated in the opening weeks of his presidency it would totally oppose any economic stimulus plan, and announced that his defeat was their top priority. Republicans would probably reply that the ideology of his agenda left them with no choice. In any case, the causes of the breakdown of the meetings simply beg the question.

5.?Obama, who has touted his support for charter schools, should endorse school choice. Done.

6.?Obama should clearly state his opposition to reviving the so-called Fairness Doctrine.

If you don’t know what this one means, it was the focal point of right-wing paranoia during the initial months of the Obama presidency. Conservatives convinced themselves that Obama was planning to revive the “Fairness Doctrine” in a way designed to close down large segments of the conservative media. It was a pure fantasy, and nothing like it ever happened or was ever considered.

7.?Obama should call on public universities to abolish campus speech codes and vigorously protect students’ and faculty members’ speech rights.

Obama did not do this, as far as I know. But if he had done it I don’t think anybody would have noticed. This item, the last on Berkowitz’s list, seems like an idiosyncratic list-filler. (I also hated speech codes when I was in college, but has this issue popped up at all since 2008?)

So it seems that, depending on how you measure things, Obama fulfilled virtually all of Berkowitz’s criteria for bipartisanship.

And to add to the bad faith shown by the GOP, President Obama made further concessions to the GOP Congress by modifying the Healthcare Reform to be based not on Single-Payer but on Myth Romney Plan for healthcare in Massachusetts[which now Myth has disavowed], inviting in extra Republicans into his Cabinet, making tax cuts over a third of the Stimulus Plan promptly rejected by the GOP, and offering a continuing stream of plans that try to revive the economy using traditional GOP policy plans – all were scorned by the GOP.

In effect, the latest GOP floater is that Romney is tough and would not stand for this lack of bipartisanship if it were the Democrats rather than the Republicans. But even, that rings hollow because a)Romney’s own bipartisanship in Massachusetts faltered badly and b)as soon as Obama has used Executive Orders to get around an obstructionist Congress, the GOP is out complaining that Obama is running an imperial Presidency which can only be done legitimately by a Republican.

Paul Krugman in the NYTimes catches the flavor of this duplicitous and bullying GOP Congress.

If President Obama is re-elected, health care coverage will expand dramatically, taxes on the wealthy will go up and Wall Street will face tougher regulation. If Mitt Romney wins instead, health coverage will shrink substantially, taxes on the wealthy will fall to levels not seen in 80 years and financial regulation will be rolled back.
Given the starkness of this difference, you might have expected to see people from both sides of the political divide urging voters to cast their ballots based on the issues. Lately, however, I’ve seen a growing number of Romney supporters making a quite different argument. Vote for Mr. Romney, they say, because if he loses, Republicans will destroy the economy.

O.K., they don’t quite put it that way. The argument is phrased in terms of “partisan gridlock,” as if both parties were equally extreme. But they aren’t. This is, in reality, all about appeasing the hard men of the Republican Party.

If you want an example of what I’m talking about, consider the remarkable — in a bad way — editorial in which The Des Moines Register endorsed Mr. Romney. The paper acknowledged that Mr. Obama’s signature economic policy, the 2009 stimulus, was the right thing to do. It also acknowledged that Mr. Obama tried hard to reach out across the partisan divide, but was rebuffed.

Yet it endorsed his opponent anyway, offering some half-hearted support for Romneynomics, but mainly asserting that Mr. Romney would be able to work with Democrats in a way that Mr. Obama has not been able to work with Republicans. Why? Well, the paper claims — as many of those making this argument do — that, in office, Mr. Romney would be far more centrist than anything he has said in the campaign would indicate. (And the notion that he has been lying all along is supposed to be a point in his favor?) But mostly it just takes it for granted that Democrats would be more reasonable.

But are we ready to become a country in which “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” becomes a winning political argument? I hope not…. But arguing for Mr. Romney on the grounds that he could get things done veers dangerously close to accepting protection-racket politics, which have no place in American life.

This is the same moral pointmade by Steve Kornackii at Salon – the US democracy can ill afford such a frontal attack on its principles and institutions.

Do you want to reward a GOP Congress that put party before country and stymied the recovery just to make the President look bad? You can ill afford to condone a GOP Congress that is in the protection-racket style of government. This then becomes a Congress that isin the racketeering business full montee – “Government doesn’t work unless we say so and exactly the way our friends in higher places want it to work – do you understand 47%-er?”Its goon-style politics that is a throwback to Tammany Hall and coercion of 120 years ago. And you have an opportunity to get rid of the political racketeering before it takes hold. Stand for US Democracy and throw the GOP Congress OUT.

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