Romney, and other Republicans are saying, ‘Elect one of us because Republicans in Congress will work with a Republican President”. Let me explain just how messed up this logic is. Imagine that the U.S. is like a big college dormitory where most of the students belong to two major fraternities-Sigma Kappa Tau (SKT) and Zeta Lambda Beta (ZLB)–both groups made up here of course. There is a student election held for the leader of the dorm students and the student representing ZLB wins. Throughout the semester the SKT are angry that they lost and they refuse to do anything to help keep the dorm livable. They won’t clean up their own messes. They don’t go to meetings and if they do go to meetings they disrupt them. They use up all the funds to party and waste time. They block delivery of care packages from home. They misdirect potential students on tours. Finally, at the end of the semester the dorm is a wreck and nigh unlivable. During the next election for the student leader SKT members campaign on ‘what a horrible job the ZLB leader did’ and ‘if you elect someone from SKT things will be better this semester’. SKT is holding the dorm hostage. By behaving like assholes and messing the dorm up for the past semester they have shown all the other students what lengths they are willing to go to in order to get their way. And it’s likely that many students will buy it. After all, since they were willing to mess everything up, there’s pretty good proof that they will do so again. Some students (the ones who are oblivious to how the student government works and what’s really been going on) will buy into the idea that it was the fault of the ZLB leader, even though it clearly wasn’t. But no matter how you look at it, the residents of the dorm are being held hostage. Now as to how this applies to the U.S.
Back in 2008 when President Obama was elected Republicans were absolutely incensed. They announced that their main mission was to make sure the President failed (couple of examples: via Limbaugh before inauguration had even occurred and Mitch McConnell 2 years later). Then the Republicans made good on that threat by behaving badly. Very badly. As a result the economy has not recovered as quickly as we needed it to. Badly needed funding for things like the programs for retraining veterans or helping homeless veterans were all killed by a filibuster in Congress. Here are just some of the bills that they managed to kill if not slow down (from Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter–read his whole article):
- S.3985 — Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
- S.3816 — Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
- S.2237 — Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act
- S.2343 — Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act
- S.1660 — American Jobs Act of 2011
- S.3457 — Veterans Jobs Corps Act
The Republican Congress hated the President so much that they couldn’t even do right by our returning veterans. Look at how many of those bills would have affected the Economy. I thought the Republicans wanted to stop companies from offshoring our jobs? I thought they wanted to help Small Businesses? I thought they supported Veterans. According to their filibuster record, they were lying. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. According to the U.S. Senate’s own website, this Congress used filibusters more than any other previous Congress on record. There were 110, 111, and 112 filibusters employed in Congress for 2009, 2010, 2011 respectively. If the President wasn’t doing enough, how come the hundreds of bills proposed, many with the President’s direct input, were killed by Congressional Republicans? If he wasn’t really trying? Because he WAS trying and they were getting in the way.
Unfortunately, the American public isn’t very well informed. They don’t know these stats*. They don’t understand what a filibuster or cloture is. They don’t understand what a President can and cannot do. And right now, whether it is because of willful ignorance or just a general failure to actually teach political science in K-12 education, the reason why they don’t understand is moot. It only matters that they THINK he can force Congress to pass laws, affect the price of gas, or fix the budget, etc. Americans need to be reminded that they’re blaming the President for Congress’ failure. According to the way our system is set up no U.S. President has the ability to control Congress and if that Congress decided before he was inaugurated to block him in every way possible, well he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell.
The President knew this and STILL tried over and over again to reach out to them. What did he get for his efforts? He got slapped again and again. Right from the get go he was blocked–For example, about 8 days after inauguration we were on the brink of descending into another Depression. A stimulus package was absolutely necessary to get us out of the free fall The President called on Congress to act. In the House not a single Republican voted for the stimulus bill. The President and Congressional Democrats, endeavoring to get Republican votes kept shrinking the stimulus amount, but it wasn’t enough to entice them out of their collective snit. Congress did finally pass the bill but only because two or three centrist Republicans voted against their party with the Democrats (those Republicans’ futures were threatened from within their own party as a result).
Republicans argued (and still argue) that we couldn’t afford the Stimulus bill. We couldn’t afford another Great Depression either. So why not go along with what the President wanted? If it succeeded (like FDR’s stimulus efforts did) everyone would have gotten credit because of it’s bipartisan nature. And if it failed, the Republicans could have easily blamed it on the President–the bill was drafted and driven by him. Instead the Republicans absolutely refused to do anything at all. They abandoned the American people in one of our darkest hours for the sake of political points.
Now that we’re in the middle of a Presidential election, Mitt Romney and Gang (warning Youtube political ad) are actually telling Americans that it is President Obama’s fault that Congress decided to be obstructionists. In their mind f President Obama hadn’t won in 2008 and actually tried to govern, then Republicans wouldn’t have had to be so difficult. Shorter Romney, “He made us be bad–we had no other choice and it’s all his fault”. Sadly, too many Americans already believe it. Otherwise, why would so many say that they believe the President hasn’t done enough to fix the economy or that it’s his fault growth is so slow.
The Republicans could have worked with President Obama but they chose not to. And now they’re blaming the after effects of those choices on the President and saying ‘you had better elect one of us or we’ll run down the country some more”. Since when did the “loyal opposition” lose their loyalty to their country and it’s people? Does their dislike of the President give them enough cause to prevent them from doing their duty as our elected leaders? No. Are we, the residents, going to allow these bullies to get their way because we’re scared the whole place will get ruined? Are we going to hold the President responsible for them behaving badly? And if so, why? What President is responsible for what those assholes in Congress do and do not do?** I guess we will find out Election day. I can’t stand bullies and I won’t tolerate them. I won’t tolerate my country being held hostage by a bunch of obnoxious, spoiled Republican bullies in Congress, will you?
*For instance, they don’t know that in spite of a lot of obstructionism the President has accomplished some very important things, which speaks to his perseverance and maturity in the face of non-stop juvenile provocation by the not-so-loyal opposition.
**And don’t give me that crap about “he’s the leader of his Party’ argument–Party or not, Americans are individualists who are supposed to make up their own mind, Congress critter or not. Furthermore, Congressional members are supposed to represent their constituents and NOT their party or their big money donors. I’m pretty certain that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights saying NOTHING about political parties or allows government leaders to put party before country.