As of today it really appears that the Republicans in Congress are a sorry group of elected officials. While complaining that the President is doing nothing but campaigning they are not only doing the same thing but they are apparently doing it in a way to destroy the economy as a way to gain political advantage in the next election.
The Republican Party is now owned lock stock and barrel by the Tea Party and being led around by the nose by the Michele Bachmanns (R-MN) of the party. Bachmann is part of a group of elected officials with no real understanding of economics and who are even rejecting the Ronald Reagan wing of the Republican Party. They have long since jettisoned the Abraham Lincoln wing of the Party. They are anti-gay and pro only one thing and that is big business and the wealthy. They clearly don’t understand the difference between managing the federal budget and their own household budget. Like Bachmann they trash the federal government programs and state government programs in their home Districts while many like Bachmann have willingly taken federal largesse and state money for their own businesses.
We are a great nation and we have survived worse and we will survive these people as well. I believe the nation will soon realize the mistake they have made by electing these clowns. You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Republicans like Eric Cantor (R-VA) will find that there aren’t enough rich hedge fund managers and wealthy people, the kind that he is trying to protect for the millions they have donated to him, to elect a Republican Congressional majority or Republican President in 2012.
As a progressive Democrat I never thought I would long for the days of Ronald Reagan but alas I do. There was a pragmatism to Reagan and the people around him that is sadly missing from the Republican Party today.
I am not holding Democrats blameless in this mess either. One of the major faults of the Democratic Party is not having crafted a coherent message to explain their policies to the nation. Democrats have their own factions and the public rightfully can ask where the party stands? In the next few months they will need to craft that message and to say to the nation in a simple and coherent way that building the economy and providing jobs to the American people will do more to bring down the debt than the entire Republican give-away to corporations and the wealthy. Providing every American that wants to work a job is priority number one. Bringing down the deficit is priority number two. If we succeed in priority number one we will also make a great dent in the deficit.
We are a nation of entrepreneurs and recently 100 under 30 CEOs of start-up businesses met in Washington under the auspices of a group called ‘Our Time.’ They weren’t calling for lower taxes or give-aways by government. They have been building their businesses under the current structures and doing it successfully. They seemed to understand that if they made more money they would have to pay more taxes and they weren’t complaining. They just wanted people to know about their businesses and to encourage people as they said to “buy young”. These 100 CEOs are part of the future of America.
The reality is that nearly 5 trillion dollars of the deficit we are facing came from Republican policies of the Bush administration and the additional 1.5 trillion come from policies of the Obama administration. Many of the Democrats in the Congress were complicit in approving the Bush policies of the wars and military spending and Republicans were complicit in voting for the Obama stimulus packages as well. So both parties need to take the blame for our growing deficit. The issue now is how we move forward and not dramatically cut spending for programs in a way that will hurt the slowly growing economy and in essence cut off our nose to spite our face. That seems to be the Republican way to do things.
I give more credit to John Boehner (R-OH) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). They have been around long enough and do understand what needs to be done. But they are hamstrung by about 60 members of the tea party who were elected in their caucuses who are adamant that they are willing to destroy the nation’s economy for a principle that makes no sense. So Boehner can’t get a rational package through the House. He even goes so far as to claim bi-partisan support of the nonsensical balanced budget amendment vote- he got five Democratic votes- that everyone knew was a game and couldn’t go anywhere. That is the politics Boehner is forced to play.
So the time has come for a bi-partisan vote bringing together rational Republicans and rational Democrats and to approve the Harry Reid (D-NV) plan which is in actuality a huge win for Republicans. That plan cuts federal programs equaling the increase in the debt ceiling and has no new revenue. It may be lousy economics but so be it that is what you get when the people voted for the tea party.
The 2012 election will be fought out on these issues. It is time that we moved on, raised the debt ceiling which rational Republicans agree we have to do, and begin the debate on the other issues that are crucial to the American people.