Thursday, February 28, 2013

Obstructionism

     The main takeaway from the 2012 election was that the American people voted to maintain the status quo.  With that being said, everyone was ready for congress and the President to hunker down and start legislating.  The American people are still waiting.
     The obstructionism in congress is as strong as it ever was.  Republicans in congress are set against anything the tyrannical, socialist, and over-spending Obama has to offer.  Despite this notion our national deficit has actually been going down since the President took office.  Republicans are adamant in rejecting anything the President proposes.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has publicly stated recently that in regards to the looming sequester, Obama needs to lead by example.  This is ironic because during the debacle of the debt ceiling in 2011, Cantor took House republicans aside and told them to vote against anything the President proposed.
     There was also an outpouring of rejecting remarks by republicans in response to the leaked immigration paper by the White House to USA Today.  The paper outlined certain initiatives the White House was in favor of and would support if the bi-partisan effort in congress over immigration failed.  It was viewed by some as a tentative bill.  Republicans from Marco Rubio, to John McCain, to Lindsey Graham had harsh words for the president.  Some stated it threatened bipartisanship.  Marco Rubio stated if the bill reached the Senate, it would be "dead on arrival."  The ironic nature of the republican opposition is that many aspects of legislation the White House outlined are included in the bipartisan bill and were supported by republicans, one being stronger boarder patrol.  Lindsey Graham recently commented on the anticipation of a deal the President may put out regarding the sequester that republicans would criticize everything Obama chooses to cut.  The President had not even put anything on the table yet.  The obstructionism has reached an all time high and it seems republicans in congress will do anything to refute the President's efforts and proposals.
     The republican party is swinging far to the right and they are even giving flack to their own party members.  New Jersey republican Governor Chris Christie, who is thought to be a bright star in today's republican party, caught a wave of criticism at crunch time in the 2012 election by praising the President for his effort in the Hurricane Sandy relief.  New Jersey was devastated by the hurricane and he was in desperate need of federal funds.  Republicans did not look favorably on his kind words for the President when the election was coming down to the wire.  This type of thinking is disruptive to government when Governor Christie knew he needed federal support.  In the past, republicans have put FEMA on the chopping block which would have been detrimental in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Republicans in congress even put up a stink over Sandy relief funds.
    Recently, eight republican governors have signed up for Obama Care in their states.  Governor Rick Scott and Chris Christie are among the two most recent.  CPAC even withdrew their invitation to Chris Christie to attend because of his recent "liberal" support.
     The obstructionism continues with the unprecedented filibuster of a cabinet nominee in Chuck Hagel.  After the initial filibusterer, he eventually was confirmed.  Hagel, a former republican senator, who was well respected by his peers and cohorts, was denounced as one of the most unqualified nominees for Secretary of Defense.  John McCain, who during the confirmation hearing brutally scrutinized his old friend, stated publicly in 2000 when he was running for president that he would think about nominating Hagel for Secretary of State.  The thought process which goes into this obstructionism is absolutely mind boggling.  Republicans will block anything the President proposes it seems.  As Rachel Maddow put it, republicans "won nothing" with the filibuster of Hagel.  Now they have set a precedent of future (possibly republican cabinet nominees) to be filibustered.
     Maddow also reported about a federal judge appointee in January of 2012.  The two conservative Senators from Oklahoma, one of the most conservative states in the nation, suggested a judge to fill a vacancy in the 10th circuit.  President Obama nominated the judge to fill the role and that judge was filibusterer in the senate.  It took him over 200 days to be confirmed.  The worst and most baffling matter of the confirmation was that the vote was 93-0.  Why would Senate republicans filibuster their own nominee and why would they eventually vote unanimously to confirm him?  This is just another example of the rebuking minutia that occurs in republican congress today.
     In a recent article published by the conservative blog, RedState, author Brad Jackson talks about how the President and his administration is for sale.  According to the article, donors who pay more than $500,000 get to mingle with the President and have been invited, with their families several times to the White House.  He then continues to write that many of these organizations such as Organizing for Action who are getting "special treatment" remain unknown because they are 501(c)(4) organizations and their identities and donor lists can be kept secret.  This sounds an awful lot like the decision that came out of the Supreme Court Citizens United case favoring large corporations allowing them to be viewed as individual persons who can blindly fund political campaigns.  This ruling heavily favored conservatives who are mostly backed by major corporations and donors.             
    The American people are sick of being held hostage during these self-inflicted government crises such as the sequester yet they must also hold some responsibility by keeping the status quo.  It looks like big egos and obstructionism is going to push us over the cliff of sequestration even though congress can scrap the automatic cuts they put in place.  Is government dead?  No, but the republican party is shifting so radically, so quickly, it is even shunning some of its own members.  Obstructionism gets us nowhere and it is up to the American voters to change this.   
                 

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