Monday, June 29, 2009

GOP howling: Old business as usual

NO ONE SHOULD BE too surprised by the stiff resistance by congressional Republicans to the Administration's efforts to clean up the air we all breathe. Aided by those hide-and-seek Democrats who are incapable of rising above their own mediocrity, the GOP's attacks on climate change legislation represent business as usual for a party long identified with maintaining the status quo against all reason. If it's not global warming on this day, it's health care reform that sends the Republicans to the barricades to fire off screeching fears that we will become a nation paralyzed by taxes and deeper unemployment, as squishy as their figures may be..

Nothing unusual or imaginative here. The party of Nixon and Hoover has a well deserved reputation of opposing whatever might help the majority of Americans who don't enjoy their dinners in 5-star restaurants. It assailed the introduction of Social Security in the 1930s, insisting that it would bankrupt Franklin D. Roosevelt's America within a year. It fought Medicare and legislation to assist the unemployed. And now it is armed again to fight any steps, modest though they may be, to deal belatedly with global warming and the tens of millions who are not covered by medical insurance. Thank you Aetna and UnitedHealthcare.

The GOP's only sub-imaginative way of attacking two of most important issues of our time is to howl about the inflated costs. And the costs of doing nothing? The question is too profound for entrenched Republicans and the skittish amorphous Democrats who will never be remembered for noble behavior.

But in response to those who claim to have a better (albeit unclear) idea than the Obama Administration in dealing with these critical issues, a little history: The nation has had Republican presidents for 20 of the past 28 years, a great many of them shared by GOP majorities on Capitol Hill. And during those collegial periods neither the president nor his congressional base worked seriously to change the status quo in health care nor climate change - despite the opportunity to do so. Instead, the party slept, or lived as lemmings by the Bob Lutz Rule. You may recall that Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors, once declared that global warming was a "total crock of shit." Many of his conservative friends in Congress agree.

Some of it can be traced to self-survival at the polls, which for the ordinary pol trumps any issue of national importance. Some of it is also driven by a deep distrust of science, which plays to the evangelical Christian wing of the Republican Party. Whatever the case, the same folks who are whining about the Administration's initiatives in climate change and health insurance had their chance and, you know what? They blew it. So let's pay no attention to anything from their side that suggests they have a better way to solve the nation's cutting-edge problems. They don't - and won't.


marvkatz said...

Well said, Abe. I've forwarded your commentary to my Congresscritters, two Democrats and one Republican.

Perhaps it will help, but let us not hold our breath.

Anonymous said...

It has become increasingly clear both in Ohio and the country that Republicans have become the party of "no!" First, look here in Ohio with Strickland and the budget situation. Strickland proposes cutting pet projects of Ohio Republicans and the whine and moan. In addition, Strickland proposes cuts in Democratic pet projects and they moan. The trap set by Republicans is for Strickland to ultimately propose raising taxes so Republicans can rely on that old faithful - taxes taxes taxes to reclaim the governorship. Certainly, John Kasich isn't offering any constructive advice. Why? Well he says he doesn't have to. Real reason - beyond the traditional cutting of taxes, he has absolutely no idea how to solve the current budget problem. If the Republicans didn't foresee the revenue shortfalls with the Commercial Activity Tax, imagine the situation by cutting off other revenue streams. On healthcare, every time health care reform is suggested, Republicans cry foul and do nothing to fix the problem. First, it was the attempt in the early 90s, and the campaign in 2000 to fix healthcare. Now, we return to the issue of health care and the Reps are saying "No!" It's deja vu.

PJJinOregon said...

The party of "no" has a preferred tactic - spreading fear. Friday's house vote was followed by the first salvo of fear mongering. Gasoline refiners complained that the market based cap and trade emissions plan will force them to move their refineries outside the US to avoid a double penalty on gasoline. And closing refineries in the US will result in a loss of jobs -- a direct result of the energy bill. It's the same old story; Republicans want business to do business without government interference - and the public be damned.