If you consider yourself to be a moderate voter, and you're even thinking of voting for any Republican this year, you really should reconsider. Just about any of our political ills currently can be traced directly to Republicans. You can't possibly look at the GOP’s recent record and think of voting for one, if you are a person with a conscience. Even on the debt, which the seem obsessed about, is mostly huge because of them. We had a balanced budget before Bush was "elected," and no one was complaining about their tax bill. Yet Bush cut taxes and started two wars without paying for them, and exploded the deficit, even before he broke the economy. Even when Republicans "fixed" Medicare, they did so withoutpaying for the fix, and it took Democrats to fix that.
Make no mistake; pretty much everything Willard Romney has proposed this year is re-hashed Bush policy. He wants to cut taxes to the bone. He wants to deregulate the financial services industry. He wants to start a war, only this time, the country’s name will end in “n” instead of “q." Basically, he wants us all to relive the Bush years. Are our memories that short? It’s only been four years, and we haven’t fully recovered, even now.
This isn’t just about Romney and the presidency. The entire Republican Party has demonstrated that it couldn’t care less about anyone except the very rich. Consider their current record in Congress. The 112th Congress is the worst in history, on a number of levels, and it can all be traced to the GOP and its teabagger wing.
The current House of Representatives flipped to a Republican majority in 2010. In part, it was because progressives encouraged it, but impatient voters also wanted Congress to work more quickly to fix the economy and they also had misplaced concerns about the deficit and debt.
Yet, since the Republicans took charge of Congress, they haven’t exactly sped things up, and they've actually made the deficit worse. With Republicans in charge, the entire Legislative Branch has slowed to a crawl, and economic growth has slowed, as well. I know many want to blame the president for that, but it’s Congress (mainly the House) that controls the purse strings, and it's their constant cutting that's slowing things down. (It's also made the deficit worse.) States are getting less money, which means they’ve had to lay off nearly 700,000 workers, including teachers, police, firefighters, EMTs, health inspectors and many others we depend on. And 700,000 fewer taxpayers not only increases unemployment, it also reduces revenues, and that is just as culpable as spending in creating deficits.
Really, the current GOP House has largely spent the last two years wasting taxpayers' money with their obstructionism, and it should make every single taxpayer mad as hell.
After being charged by voters to create jobs, in two years, they’ve overseen the loss of more jobs than they've created. They've passed two tiny jobs bills, and one of them won't create a single job for at least 2-3 years. The American Jobs Act, which may have created 1-2 million jobs or more, languishes in the House. In the 13 months since President Obama handed it to them, it hasn’t been considered, it hasn’t been debated, it hasn’t even been amended or rewritten. It’s been ignored. Likewise, the same Republicans blocked a Highway bill that would build, repair and maintain our highway system and in the process create as much as 2-3 million jobs, for months, until they were shamed into approving in in late June.
The same Congressional Republicans who were voted in to change the body, can’t find the time to create jobs, but they've found plenty of time to write and pass hundreds of bills they knew had absolutely no chance of becoming law. At least 33 times, they’ve voted to kill Obamacare, despite the knowledge that none would ever become law. They also passed dozens of bills designed to restrict abortion rights, knowing none would become law. Overall, the house passed hundreds of bills they knew would never get through the Senate or be signed by the President, while they had no time for anything important, such as a farm bill designed to provide relief to drought-stricen farmers. They even managed to find the time to pass two budgets that would have ended Medicare as we know it, and replaced it with a voucher program, knowing that neither would ever become law.
The Republican Congressional majority voters elected in 2010 has turned out to be the least effective in modern history. The 112th Congress has passed a near-record-low 194 bills, 49 of which (25%) renamed post offices or courthouses. To put that number into perspective, no Congress in the post-war era has ever passed fewer than 300 bills. The 111th Congress – the one the GOP replaced because it was supposedly ineffective – managed to pass 383 laws, including Obamacare, the stimulus and a fair number of jobs bills – and they did so despite the fact that Republican Senators blocked 375 bills passed by the Democratic House.
Then, there is their complete irresponsibility regarding the debt ceiling. Congressional Republicans don’t even seem to understand what the debt ceiling is. It has no actual relation to the debt; it has to do with making payments on the debt. Thinking that defaulting on the debt reduces said debt is like imagining that not making the minimum payment on your credit card reduces your credit card balance.
The uncertainty that was created by the irresponsible debt ceiling debate had a net negative effect on the overall economy, including job creation. If you look at a chart of jobs created in 2011, the most anemic job creation happened between May and August, while the debt ceiling fight was going on. If the United States had defaulted on its debt obligations, it would have cost us millions of jobs, and probably would have sent us into another recession. And make no mistake; that was all courtesy of your Republican Party, no one else. Their little hissy fit even led to their demand for a “bipartisan” commission to address the deficit, the so-called “super-committee,” whose report Republicans themselves rejected out of hand. Even the Republicans on the committee, including Paul Ryan, rejected the work of the committee. Remember that the next time a Republican complains that Obama didn’t implement the recommendations by the committee. That’s not his job; he’s the executive; Congress holds the purse strings. The debt ceiling fight also hurt our credit rating which, perhaps ironically, actually served to increase the deficit.
In addition to all of the obvious shenanigans noted above, there is also this Congress’ failure to approve nominees to important positions in the government. That includes judges, of course; the approval of Obama’s judicial nominees started off slow and is now at a crawl. But it also includes nominees to Cabinet positions, which they apparently don’t have time for, because they’re too busy passing bills to kill Obamacare and restrict abortion. The most ridiculous non-approval came when Richard Shelby held up the appointment of Peter Diamond to the Federal Reserve Board, saying, “I do not believe he’s ready to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board. I do not believe that the current environment of uncertainty would benefit from monetary policy decisions made by board members who are learning on the job.” In his statement, Shelby forgot to mention that Diamond had just received the Nobel Prize for Economics.
And please don’t tell me it’s “both parties,” because it’s not. Some level of political shenanigans is expected and perfectly acceptable. There is always some political posturing going on. But this has gone well beyond simple political posturing. The Republican Party has made Congress completely dysfunctional. It’s not just some Republicans, either. The entire party has sold the American people out so they can win elections, and the only exceptions to the extremists running the party have largely either been defeated in primaries, retired, or become a conservative Democrat. If you want to know why there are more Blue Dogs, well, now you know.
For two straight Congresses, we have seen record obstruction, and it’s been rare that any Republican has broken with the party on anything, so spare me the “few bad apples” arguments. The entire party has been taken over by teabaggers, and the only way to stop them is to make sure only Democrats win for awhile, which will allow the GOP to cleanse the bad apples, and force the far right into their own far corner of the electorate, where they belong.