For a party that brought most legislative action to a standstill for two years Republicans are moving at breakneck speed to reverse whatever progress the Obama administration was able to make during that time period.
Environmental protection regulations are being scrapped, health-care reform is on the chopping block and the tenor of discourse is still in ugly campaign mode. Ignorance and the total misuse of language flood the floor of Congress and right-wing rhetoric. Fred Upton is the incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
That is a better choice than if global warming denier John Shimkus from Illinois who quotes biblical text to make his points or Joe Barton from Texas who apologized to BP after the president established a fund to provide relief for Gulf residents harmed by the company’s negligence had been selected but not by much. Upton wants to gut some of the current environmental regulations and subpoena so-called Obama czars but basically says his number-one goal is to repeal health-care legislation. Investigating “line-by-line what the Obama administration has been doing to deal with carbon emissions along with Daryl Issa’s promise of an investigation a week are likely to keep this Congress on the margins of responsible service to the people of America.
Ominously the party of no is already illustrating how empty their agenda really is. Sarah Palin is resorting to last year’s talking points about “death panels” and Hilary Clinton’s cookie baking and all the other stupid rallying cries of the Tea Party movement. In fact, of course, the word movement is something of a misnomer because the party’s goals are so amorphous they fail to articulate a rationale for change. Now that they’ve succeeded in electing many of their own it isn’t clear how they will proceed.
Without inchoate anger as a motivating force they remain a imprecise body that lacks direction and broad electoral appeal - - a puzzling amalgamation of people who don’t seem to know what they’re talking about most of the time, and who, disturbingly, continue to integrate religious views with political dogma. In the December 15th edition of The Progressive Populist Hal Crowther describes his view of what happened in the November elections. “The midterms,” he writes,” … “mark the most successful manipulation of the gullible by the cynical that this deceitful republic has yet witnessed.” Our political system has “finally achieved institutional incoherence.”
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of what has just occurred is how the voting public has distorted anything resembling a reasonable thought process. As Crowther suggests, voters with “no memory” may also feel they have no options and resort to ‘kicking the revolving door to watch “yesterday’s gross failures pose as tomorrow’s brightest hope.” In the end, however one analyzes the election and the new crop of politicians chosen to lead the country, there is an intolerably low intellect at work among them. It’s astonishing how threadbare the Republican agenda is and the low standards upon which it is based.
Everyone talks about how important education is to the future of our country but every program to spur scholastic achievement is defeated by conservative Republicans, from Headstart to encouraging advanced education by revising college-loan procedures. One of the most discouraging results of the November debacle is the prospect of an ignorant leadership in charge of government come January. One Republican legislator is proud of the fact that all four of his sons are in the military - - a fine patriotic gesture. But as several early-morning callers the other day remarked, the only way they could find work or pursue their education was to join the Army - - a financial, need-based, not patriotic, decision.
Unfortunately, the way things are, judgments are rendered based on political strategies with very little thought given to how policies affect the general population. And those most affected by poor governance and self-serving power brokers haven’t yet awakened to the fact that their lives are ill-served by leaders who, with a smile and a wink, continue to entice their support by erroneously referring to them as “values” voters - - flattery that plays to their egos and naiveté and often to their prejudice and narrow vision as well.
November voters weren’t delivering a particularly uplifting message but rather responding in large part to spurious arguments and a failure to understand that not everything is about “politics.” Sometimes real values are at stake.