Welcome, Republicans; Addendum

Following up on the discussion of Mitch McConnell’s statement to The National Journal that, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”…

Apart from the absolute and unequivocal cynicism it takes for the Senate Minority leader to say something like this, which shows a total lack of the sort of responsibility one should possess when one is granted an office of public service, it basically flies in the face of everything they claim to be true about Obama’s agenda.

If they are correct that Obama’s agenda – of, you know, socialism and gay pride – is in opposition to what the country wants, wouldn’t the best way of proving that point be to let them do it and not try to hold up the agenda with every trick in the book?

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Welcome, Republicans

"Strategery."

Common knowledge these days is that the Republicans are poised to make significant gains in the House and Senate next Tuesday in the midterm elections, largely due to a sweeping feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction with the entire political landscape – financial uncertainty, unemployment, and the media meme that the current administration and the Democratic led Congress are ineffectual, despite the fact that they have accomplished quite a bit in the past two years.

Assuming that it’s true that the Republicans win big next week, the next step (one would think) is for them to take on the job of governing the country, which Constitutionally, would require them working with President Obama.

Just one problem – the word  “bipartisan” only matters to them when the only power that the voters allowed them to cling to after the 2008 elections was the filibuster, which they used a record number of times in the past few years to shut down anything that signified real progress or reform.  When the Obama administration or the Democratic Congress are about to make any serious headway in achieving pieces of the agenda that won them so many elections in ’08, the Republicans use filibuster threats to dilute any legislation to the point where even passing an historic health care bill looks like defeat for the President.

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Unrighteous Indignation

Not the problem.

Stephen Colbert appeared in front of a congressional subcommittee today to testify about undocumented immigrant workers – in character, as his Bill O’Reilly-esque satiric “self” from his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

And it made people’s heads explode.

Republicans are mad, because that’s what they do.  The media is mad because that’s what they do, too.

The appearance was very clearly a PR stunt to draw attention to what is a truly important issue, you know, if you care about the economy or human rights.

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Living in the (Shitty) Past

Idiotic new Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, has issued an order that the state of Virginia will recognize April as “Confederate History Month”, commemorating their joining of the Confederacy.

McDonnell details what he believes to be the importance of remembering and studying the times and events of the Civil War and the formative role that those events played in Virginia’s history.  Sounds semi-reasonable.

Want to know what’s better?  Call it “Civil War History Month”.  Then people might actually think about history.

But, no.  Of course they’re only interested in commemorating the side of the issue that has bred so much racism and hatred and backwoods dumbfuck bullshit that it still lingers today and affects our larger society in a profoundly negative way.  Taking pride in a symbol that represents the desire to tear the United States apart and oppress black people is not a display of strength or independence, it’s a display of ignorance.

That flag that represents so much hatred is often accompanied by the words, “The South Will Rise Again”.  Is it any surprise at all that these people hope it does?

For some background, Bob McDonnell atteneded Pat Robertson’s CBN “university” (now Regent) which is perennially listed as one of the worst colleges in the nation.  Calling it a college is almost funny.  His agenda in political life basically revolves around right-wing causes such as diminishing women’s rights to work, reproductive rights, removing anti-discrimination laws for homosexuals, opposing green energy, etc…  You know, all the backwoods dumbfuck shit you’d expect.

And the Republicans selected this wingnut shitball to respond to Barack Obama’s State of the Union back in January.

How telling is that?

The man the Republicans select to provide the retort to the Democratic Party’s agenda is a man who seems like he would happily see the social progress of the country revert to the state it was in 50 years ago, if not 150.

I don’t pretend to know Bob McDonnell.  I can’t say that he’d be for bringing back slavery or anything so extreme, but things like this are extremely discouraging.

The current Republican party, which is basically being co-opted by the Tea Party and other extreme right factions, is in a seemingly endless spiral of social degression.  While the party once championed fiscal conservatism (gone) and individual choice and responsibility (mostly gone), they’ve enacted policies that are completely antithetical to those motivations to the point where it’s hard to even take those claims seriously.  They’re now known for their Evangelical-influenced social divisiveness and their absolute opposition to anything that is promoted by the left, even though the left has moved so far center that they’ve forced the Republicans to oppose even their own former policies when it comes to things like health care reform and cap and trade.

Who exactly is a Confederate History Month supposed to appeal to?

Exactly those people.

And it would hardly be surprising if the correlation between that group and those who oppose Black History Month was 1:1.

It’s pretty clear at this point that the South won’t Rise Again.  It can’t.  Because no one with an ounce of sophistication could even want it to when Bob McDonnell is the shining example of what that represents.

This is just another shocking and appalling piece of proof that the Republican party is on the wrong side of history.

And it will continue to be.

Losers

Barack Obama won the 2008 election.  By a landslide.

This is especially true considering the lingering racial divide in the country and that he’s the first major party nominee who isn’t a white guy.  The election was a very clear statement by the voting public that they wanted things to change.

And as soon as the results were in, the “birthers” and teabaggers did everything they could to try to delegitimize his presidency, saying he was born in Kenya, calling him a communist and socialist, claiming that Acorn had somehow manipulated the election results by creating non-existent voters.  (They never saw their protest as a conflict with the only election that was arguably illegitimate – the 2000 victory of George W Bush, on a Supreme Court Decision to stop vote counting in Florida, but I digress).

Obama and the Democrats achieved another major victory in the past week when they passed major health insurance reform through the House and Senate and Obama signed it into law.  It is unequivocally the biggest legislative achievement in domestic policy in decades, and while the bill is deeply flawed, it is also a hugely important first step in the effort to make health care in the United States effective and affordable.

So what was the Republican move?  To attempt to delegitimize the bill by flat-out lying about its contents (death panels?) and by arguing that it was passed by circumventing the rules, even though the bill that passed got 60 votes in the Senate.  They argued repeatedly that the country didn’t want the bill, even though many of those who said they were opposed to it were opposed because it was too weak.  Many others were opposed because they were misinformed about what the bill contained, or just misinformed in general.  People at anti-health care rallies were saying things like, “keep your government hands off my Medicare”.  Yeah, that’s a federal government program.  And others said that they were opposed to the bill but replied favorably about all of the bill’s components when broken down individually.  That can only mean they had no idea what was in the bill, or they had the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to see Obama and the Democrats fail.

But the Republicans are the sorest losers of all time.  They are never able to accept a loss, reflect on why it happened, and move forward.

No, they’re now planning the fall midterm election campaigns based around the idea of repealing the health care bill.  That’s really their plan.

Let’s even assume for a second that there’s any chance of that happening.  The fact is, no matter how heated up the low information voters are about their country turning to socialism (yeah, right) – that will fade by the time the election comes around.  The polarization over health care will diminish and Americans will move on to the next issue.  The economy is improving and the administration has shown it can get something done.  If Republicans think they’re going to win back the House and Senate by complaining about health care, I would love to see them try.  They’ll probably realize it’s lost its effect by June, and they’ll resort to calling Obama “weak on terror”, because the economy is improving and Obama’s agenda is moving quickly.  It’s not hard to argue after health insurance reform passed, that Obama has had one of the most effective presidencies in recent history over this short time span.

But beyond any of that, the bottom line is that there isn’t a chance in hell that the Republicans could come anywhere close to repealing the bill.  They would have to get a 19 seat swing in the Senate (impossible), retake the House (unlikely) and then Obama would still veto it.  Are they running on being able to the bill after their successful (unlikely) presidential campaign in 2012?

No.  They’re doing what they always do.  Misleading people dumb enough to believe them.  The only people who buy the Republican “repeal” campaign line are teabagger morons or people who are embarrassingly uninformed and shouldn’t be talking about politics with anyone in the first place.  (Unfortunately, this voting bloc is big enough to make Fox “News” the #1 cable news network).  It simply will not happen.  Once the benefits begin to kick in, the health insurance reform bill will be every bit as untouchable as Medicare and Social Security.  The Republicans won’t touch it.  There will never be the political will to repeal it.

But that doesn’t matter, does it?

I’ve been into politics since college – the mid-late 90’s – and I’ve never once seen the Republicans campaign on issues.  To beat Clinton, they talked about blowjobs and restoring “integrity” in government.  Then they won and had every scandal imaginable while enduring a massive attack on our country, cutting taxes for the wealthiest 1%, torturing, wire-tapping Americans, politicizing the Justice Department, outing CIA agents, starting unnecessary wars, handing out no-bid contracts to friendly corporations, and spending more than any administration in history.  And that win was, again, on the back of a Supreme Court decision.

The second win came after they denigrated John Kerry’s war service in Vietnam while making George W Bush, who skipped the whole war thing, look like a true patriot.

They have been behind history at every turn and it’s not changing.  The fear card, the race card, the gay card, the abortion card…they’re all spent.

And they won’t win again until they find some new cards.  How long can you be against civil rights before you’re just an outright racist?  How long can you be against gay marriage until you’re just a self-loathing homophobe?  How long can you be against abortion until you’re just a backwards Catholic supporting a policy of a Church which has institutionalized the rape and torture of young boys?  How long can you cry about terrorism before the country realizes your wars aren’t ever going to stop it?

But everything stays the same.  They lose.  They will lose.  They’ll keep losing.

And it’ll always be because the Democrats are cheating.

Someday the Republican party will just be the backwoods areas of Alabama and Mississippi.

And then Rick Perry will take Texas and secede.