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Welcome to the Jungle: The GOP Dysfunction Infused 112th Congress Reports for Duty
They’re here. They of the 64 percent “Poor” performance rating, according to a late-August publication from Rasmussen Reports, while only eight percent of the voting public was confused enough at the time of the poll to pronounce the group’s accomplishments “Good.” Exactly no one judged the body “Excellent” when it comes to getting things done. You know who I’m talking about.
The greatest example of petty taunting and counter-productivity since the 7th grade lunch table returns to Capitol Hill today, fresh off President Obama’s re-election and just in time to do battle over measures that must be implemented to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff.” There are just seven weeks left to reach some form of agreement that would take the place of mandatory budget cuts and tax hikes that may very well deepen the already painful Great Recession.
Here we go again.
Removing the annoying shackles of campaign promises of bipartisanship, the GOP is back to its old tricks. While calling upon President Obama to work with House Republicans, Speaker John Boehner has reiterated the Republican Party’s opposition to raising any taxes to deal with the country’s debt and deficit. Because it’s always so much easier to roll up one’s sleeves and work together on a balanced approach with a group that demands full and total capitulation.
For years now it has been stupefying to watch Republican lawmakers wax philosophical about the “immorality” of our nation’s deficit while remaining quite willing to risk our collective future in order to save millionaires a few bucks. And in keeping with the party’s high moral standards, it is apparently acceptable to savage the social safety net and burden the poor and already-struggling middle class in order to save the “temporary” Bush tax cuts. Is anyone buying this?
The new faces showing up for work in Washington today offer an American public that wants to see something done a tiny sliver of hope. Democrats picked up two extra Senate seats that they didn’t have in October, for a total of 53 spots. Five of the newly elected Senators, across both parties, are strong women like consumer advocate and male-model crusher Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. It is also true that Dems collected three extra seats in the House than they had before, and may have found themselves at an even lesser disadvantage, were it not for the eminently questionable redistricting resulting from the 2010 U.S. Census.
How does a party retain power while losing the popular vote? Ask former President George W. Bush.
Regardless of its partisan makeup, this Congressional class may find it a lot harder to kick down the road. If the record turnouts and general rebuke of incumbents is any indication, the struggling electorate simply won’t tolerate further stagnation. A positive result of Capitol Hill’s growing paralysis since Obama took office in 2009 is a growing sense that Republican lawmakers care a lot more about winning and protecting their wealthy donors then they do about their constituents. They have a real opportunity to here to demonstrate otherwise. It will no longer do to play the blame game.