Sunday, April 8, 2012

Republican Party needs to be punished

There is this ridiculous false equivalence that Obama and the GOP are equally to blame for the current environment in Washington. Critics on both sides lament the ability of Washington to get anything done. The only things that did manage to pass were feats of partisan dominance, with 0 House Republicans and 3 Senate Republicans voting for the stimulus bill, and 0 Republicans in all of Congress voting for Obamacare.

This is not a situation where voters should blame both sides. It would be one thing if such overwhelming, automatic Republican intransigence were in response to an extremist, socialist agenda. If Obama were pushing for single-payer health care, a 70% top income tax rate, and released all the prisoners at Gitmo. But the huge Republican freakout is about a President who has passed an individual mandate that was supported by such flaming liberals as Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Milton Friedman, and the Heritage Foundation. He has sought to raise taxes all the way up to where they were during the 90's boom, which was a great decade to be rich. He has continued many elements of Bush's foreign policy, and has in fact taken a more aggressive stance on drone attacks and targeted killings. He supports cap-and-trade, which used to be a Republican idea. Obama is not in any sense an extremist President worthy of such uniform opposition.

While President Bush garnered a significant degree of hatred from the left, including from yours truly, the major achievements of Bush's administration encountered nothing near unanimous opposition. His 2001 tax cut was supported by 11 Senate Democrats (by my quick count) and 28 House Democrats. The resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq got 82 Democratic votes in the House and 29 in the Senate

What should be the consequences for a party plunging our political system into the abyss in which it currently finds itself? The only way to do it is to inflict losses at the ballot box. The system just won't work if major legislation can only pass when one side or the other has 60 votes in the Senate. So hopefully enough voters will say enough is enough to keep either party from acting like this ever again.

1 comment:

Val said...

The problem is that there are plenty of people that want the government to be deadlocked if they can't get their way. They like that the Republicans are stopping the Democrats from doing anything. The deadlock is also a consequence of the fact that the Republicans don't want government to function, because then they can argue that government is incompetent, doesn't deserve tax-money, and needs to be dismantled. While the Democrats want government to work, and so are willing to compromise when the Republicans are in power just to get something done.