I'm so full of angry resignation right now that this is going to be a rant. So feel free to just move along. Nothing really to see here.
little lot of liberal whining. I'm such a sore loser.
If you've really bought the line that things are somehow going to hell in a hand basket because of Obama and the liberals, you know what? Let's just go ahead and see how much shittier things get now that the GOP and their corporate billionaire masters are in a position to do some serious damage, rather than content themselves with obstructing anything approaching progress.
Mitch McConnell, the new Senate Majority Leader, has long been noted for his insistence that priority #1 is Obama failure. Not helping the country. Not the economy. Not even restoring “morality” to American society. Nope. The failure of one man. Not only that, he's also been documented saying one thing in private, in order to encourage partisan victory, and saying other things in public, in an effort to whip up the base and blame Dems for whatever he feels they should be blamed for.
Congratulations, America. This is the guy you've put “in charge” of the Senate. The years-long plan of conservatives to sow discontent by any myth, half-truth, scare tactic, and outright lie necessary has come to fruition. From death panels to the idea that tomorrow Obama is coming for your guns, this campaign has been a success.
Liberals, particularly progressives, haven't been getting what they want for years. “Compromising” has been mostly done by Democrats, at Obama's orders, and has been rewarded by continued rejection. From so-called Obamacare that really isn't (it bears a striking resemblance to a conservative Heritage Foundation proposal from 1989) to waffling on chained CPI, so-called liberals have been trying to compromise with conservatives for six damn years. All we've gotten are not-very-good policies that Republicans can then not vote for and blame on Democrats. Normally, I'm ok with compromise. It's a necessary part of dealing with a diverse population. However, there's a difference between compromise and breaking the government for the purpose of pointing and saying, “See? Government can't run efficiently!”
Of course it can't under these conditions! You're purposely gumming up the works. It's called sabotage.
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I certainly don't think that government is the answer to all life's problems, but I do think reasonable regulations, and other actions, can help make life bearable and better for a wider swath of the population, as well as advance a more civil society with advantages for more people. There is no way to make things perfectly “fair” for all people. I get that.
But I also don't believe that our growing problems of inequality on a number of levels are going to “work themselves out” through the magic of “market forces” or some sort of ideal in which the privileged just leave the rest of us alone and we can work on merit and we all somehow end up millionaires with the same access to justice and opportunities, based on how hard we work. Because there are plenty of people working their asses off and getting nowhere.
Success isn't about one thing. It's about a combination of hard work, smart choices, and luck. It also has a lot to do with circumstance, and where you start out. Quite frankly, we've got a status quo that thrives on keeping certain people down, and ensuring that large portions of the population remain less-educated, less-skilled, and willing to vote against their self-interests and the interests of more civilized and equitable society as a whole. Because then a few people can make a few billion more. For these folks, there is no such thing as “enough” and they don't give a damn what happens to the rest of us because they will be nicely cocooned in their bubbles.
But I digress.
Anyway, here we are, at the culmination of years of effort on the part of right-wingers. PoliticusUSA describes the process quite well:
The genius of the plan was that it was a hostage situation. Republicans took the legislative process hostage and refused to pass anything. Senate Republicans obstruction legislation big and small all with the goal of building frustration and discontent with government. After the American people had become enraged by “broken Washington,” Republicans promised that Washington could be fixed if they were given control of the Senate. …
The bad news is that the con worked like a charm. On Election Night, Democratic Senate candidates never had a chance. Candidates who ran good campaigns were defeated, and in every state the Republican message was the same, “Elect us and end the gridlock in Washington.”
And you know what? Fine.
Here's what I suggest.
Since any move by the Democrats to employ the same tactics Republicans have been using to obstruct legislation will be met with shouts by the GOP that they are refusing to compromise (never mind that the GOP hasn't compromised in good faith for years), have the Dems all abstain from voting. Let the Republicans pass their legislation. Let's make sure we all know who to blame.
President Obama shouldn't try to veto anything, either. After all, if he does, he'll be “abusing” his power. Never mind that practically the only way to accomplish things lately has been executive order (which is within Constitutional powers), and never mind that Obama has issued fewer executive orders than G.W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. No Obama is a tyrant and must be stopped.
Just let them get their conservative agenda going. We asked for this, with our national gullibility, and our low mid-term turnout. We asked for this with our “the parties are exactly alike.” (This might have been truer prior to the recent Tea Party/conservative surge. Before the Tea Party, both parties were moving toward the center, and looked similar. Now we're seeing a bigger divide.) Let's ride it out and see how things really turn out.
Maybe it will remind us that the result of the last time the GOP was in charge of the House and the Senate wasn't all that rosy, as described in the Daily Beast:
When in power, Republicans are also more than willing to increase government intervention in many aspects of our lives. They gave us No Child Left Behind, protectionist steel and lumber tariffs, Medicare Part D, the war in Iraq, the Department of Homeland Security and its intrusive and inefficient Transportation Security Administration, massive earmarking, increased food stamp eligibility, and expanded cronyism at levels never seen before. The massive automobile and bank bailouts were the cherries on top. …
Take a look at what most Republican candidates are running on in their elections. You won’t find platforms founded on dedicated principles of individual rights and limited government. You’ll find only vague platitudes and potshots at the Obama administration. The GOP doesn’t see the need to even carefully craft a message about what it stands for this time around since its candidates can simply capitalize on the unpopularity of a lame-duck Democratic administration.
So let them do it. Every time they've done all this, whipping up the base with fear rhetoric about how the “American way of life” — whatever the hell that's supposed to mean — is under some sort of attack, it's backfired. Because once Americans see what they're doing, average, moderate, regular folks recoil in horror. Most Americans want to move forward and progress.
It's hard to tell what's really happening because of the yelling and the obfuscation and the fact that the Dems really aren't very organized or ruthless when it comes to hitting back. Appeals to reason and fact are so much less sexy than froth-mouthed tirades about how your religion is being trampled because — oh no — gays are being treated like people who can enter into legal arrangements and get tax benefits that many people already enjoy.
So let's try this conservative agenda. Let's see how we like it. Then we can get back to the business of joining the 21st Century.