Damage control is an action to limit the effects of a catastrophic accident or tactical error, but it can also be a means of covering over gross malfeasance often achieved by shifting the blame for one’s ineptitude to an innocent bystander. For the past year, due to inaction, obstruction, and deliberate acts to thwart economic recovery Republicans and teabaggers distinguished the 113th Congress as completely ineffectual. It has taken a couple of years, but noted scholars, Capitol Hill observers, and regular Americans now understand Republicans are responsible for wasting taxpayer time and money doing nothing but obstruct economic progress and render the government ineffective as their raison d’être. Now that the public knows Speaker John Boehner and Republicans lied to gain control of the House in 2010 after spending three years killing jobs, sending Americans into poverty, and damaging the economy, Boehner is doing damage control and blaming President Obama for House Republican incompetence.
The President has begged, prodded, and pressured Republicans to work for the people creating jobs and growing the economy, but Republicans created phony scandals and refused to even debate, much less vote for, job creation bills, infrastructure improvements, or anything to grow the economy and assist the people. Two weeks ago Boehner, aware the people blame Republicans for Washington’s dysfunction and their economic plight, released a slick commercial accusing President Obama of “standing on the sidelines” and obstructing House Republicans’ heroic efforts to create jobs with legislation related to energy, education, agriculture, and healthcare.
Among the bills Boehner boasted House Republicans passed to grow the economy and create millions of jobs was superseding the President’s authority and passing legislation approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, overhauling Boehner’s failed No Child Left Behind education law, and of course, repealing the Affordable Care Act. In the ad, Boehner says “Here in the people’s House, we’re focused on getting the economy moving again, passing good jobs bills” even though none of the bills Boehner cited would have a positive impact on the economy or create jobs. Boehner and Republicans are desperate to convince people that the “do nothing” label they rightfully earned in 2013 has nothing to do with their phony scandals or obstruction and as is their wont, found what they think is an easy scapegoat that fools no-one but their dyed-in-the-wool supporters and Fox News’ audience. According to Boehner, Republican ineffectiveness, obstruction, and job-killing efforts were entirely the fault of Senate Democrats and President Obama. To punctuate what he thought was a convincing and valid argument, Boehner ends the minute-long infomercial asking “Mr. President, what are you waiting for?”
Any American with a brain knows the President was waiting for House Republicans to do their jobs for the people and to help the economy instead of the oil industry, private and religious education organizations, and insurance industry who are precisely who House Republicans served over the past year. For example, House Republicans’ so-called “focus on getting the economy moving again” included eliminating overtime pay, keeping the job-killing sequester, privatizing schools, hampering GDP growth, and enriching the oil industry; particularly the Koch brothers.
Boehner failed to elucidate how fixating on the Affordable Care Act by shutting down the government, threatening a credit default, and symbolically voting to repeal it was “focusing on getting the economy moving again” and not just a plot to restrict Americans’ access to healthcare insurance. He also did not expound on how holding the debt ceiling hostage unless the President and Democrats eliminated the health law was remotely related to “the people’s house passing good job legislation,” but with a fast-paced Hollywood-style propaganda video, facts are not as important as flashy images of Republicans milling about on the House floor.
Boehner’s contention the House bill reforming No Child Left Behind, his 2001 gift to corporations producing education testing materials and pushing private charter schools, is remotely related to reforming America’s ability to educate America’s children when its real purpose is neutering the Education Department and giving Republican governors the means to transform public education into private religious madrasas. The “reform” Republicans passed cut education funding, eliminated Department of Education standards, and provided funding for Republican states to privatize schools, eliminate teacher unions, rob public schools to fund religious schools, and cut funding for schools serving minority students. The only jobs the House Republican “education reform” would create were for clergy posing as educators and CEOs shuttering public schools and replacing them with for-profit corporate-run conservative propaganda mills and evangelical madrasas.
The Republican energy reform amounted to killing environmental regulations and expediting construction of the KeystoneXL pipeline to enrich Koch Industries, oil export companies, and John Boehner’s portfolio replete with stock in seven Canadian tar sand companies. Boehner contends legislation approving immediate construction of the pipeline is “the people’s house passing good jobs bills” even though it will not create any more than 2,500 temporary jobs for two-years, or that it sends Canadian tar to Koch and gulf refineries on its way to China and Europe. Maybe he meant the pipeline creates jobs for the healthcare industry when CO2 reaches toxic levels, or for scientists scratching their heads attempting to clean up several guaranteed tar-sand spills annually over prime American agriculture land and water supplies. There is no good outcome from building the Canadian export pipeline across American land and no possible way to misconstrue it as good energy policy or passing good jobs bills.
Under John Boehner’s leadership House Republicans have not passed one bill to create jobs or grow the economy since they won the majority in the 2010 midterm elections. They have, however, spent all of 2013 killing jobs and hampering economic growth with their precious sequester, cutting food stamps, failing to extend unemployment benefits, and shutting down the government which is their crowning achievement of 2013. All the while, President Obama pursued and promoted job creation bills such as an infrastructure improvement bank, Veteran’s job program, American Jobs Act, and called for raising the minimum wage to put money into the economy and create more jobs in the process. With each new proposal from the President, Republicans stood on the sideline and if they were not actively obstructing bills, they were cutting programs that create jobs, and damaged the economy by sending more Americans into poverty.
Boehner can pay for, star in, provide voice-overs, and tell Americans House Republicans passed jobs bills and were focused on getting the economy moving again in 2013 only to be obstructed by President Obama he claims was standing on the sideline. However, the American people are well aware that only President Obama has called for, provided, and promoted real job creation legislation in his Inaugural Address, State of the Union, and most recently in a brilliant speech on Republican-created income inequality hampering economic growth and killing Americans’ jobs. When Americans look back over the past year and consider their economic plight and lack of jobs they know it was Boehner’s Republicans standing on the sidelines obstructing economic growth, killing jobs, and rejecting the President’s pleas for the do-nothing House to “focus on getting the economy moving again and pass good jobs bills;” something they are incapable of doing.