One of the primary components of conservatism is opposing change and retaining traditional social institutions, and where some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, others called reactionaries oppose modernism and seek a return to “the way things were.” It is safe to say that Republicans, as conservatives, hate change and resist progress because it is too far beyond the scope of their cognitive abilities to adapt. When they are presented with change out of their control they become reactionaries and inherently seek reverting to a by-gone era that never existed except in their limited minds. It is curious that Republicans so opposed to change reacted to the election of the first African American President by changing a long-standing Constitutional mandate that Congress pay the nation’s debts without question, or without demands to enact their legislative agenda.
The idea of a president having to negotiate with Congress before they do their Constitutional duty of paying the debt they incurred is Republicans reacting to Americans’ choice of a Black man as President. On Thursday, a Republican congressional representative from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, lashed out at the President for refusing to negotiate with Republicans and meet their demands before they will raise the debt limit. Ros-Lehtinen said, “The American people sent us to Washington to work together for our great nation, and it is unacceptable for one side to refuse to negotiate. Where’s the president in all of this? The bully pulpit can just as equally be used for constructive leadership as it can be used for political showmanship.” Ros-Lehtinen’s newfound belief that a president is required to negotiate and meet ransom demands before Congress does its constitutionally mandated job was joined by House Speaker John Boehner who criticized the President for not negotiating over raising the debt limit and said, “Well I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way.”
Boehner may be sorry, but Congress raising the debt limit free of concessions by the President is precisely how it has worked until January 2009 when an African American was sworn in office to lead the Executive branch of the United States government. It is true that Bill Clinton made a budget agreement that included a debt limit increase with a Democratic majority in 1993, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) included a debt increase, but the concept of holding the increase hostage for enacting the opposing party’s complete legislative agenda for the past two years is certainly unprecedented and a departure from the normal course of paying the nation’s debt according to the Constitution. For a party violently resistant to change, Boehner and Republicans are attempting to change the Constitutional requirements for enacting legislation and paying their bills the Constitution says “shall not be questioned.” It is true that in 2011 when Republicans held the full faith and credit hostage, President Obama negotiated with Boehner to save the nation from a credit default, but after the devastation from the crisis and severe austerity cuts, it is likely the President is not going to repeat that blunder.
America has always carried debt going back to the Revolutionary War, and every president except Harry Truman raised the debt ceiling throughout the nation’s history. Reagan raised it 18 times, George H.W. Bush raised it 6 times, Bill Clinton raised it 4 times, and George W. Bush raised it 7 times nearly doubling the deficit to cover his two unnecessary wars, tax cuts for the rich, and the pharmaceutical industry’s gift; the Medicare prescription plan. Throughout all those increases to pay for debts incurred by Congress, Republicans never held it hostage or demanded concessions amounting to eliminating laws, defunding agencies into oblivion, or enacting the entire GOP legislative agenda for the 112th and 113th sessions of Congress. It leads one to contemplate exactly what Earth-shattering event so stunned Republicans that they abandoned their conservative opposition to change and embraced a new hostage-taking approach to paying the nation’s debt. Obviously, it cannot be because a Democrat is president because they did not demand a ransom to raise the limit when Bill Clinton was president, so it has to be because this Democratic President is African American.
Republicans have refused to negotiate on a number of issues over the past four years and the most recent opposition is House Republicans’ refusal to consider or negotiate on any Senate version of a measure to keep the government open past October 1st that does not include eliminating the Affordable Care Act. Now they are criticizing the President of the United States because he rightly refuses to negotiate with Republicans over their refusal to do their constitutionally mandated job of paying their debts. It is the kind of change only a Republican could embrace.
Republicans do hate change, and when Americans chose an African American man as President instead of a white Republican it was a change they could not comport so they changed into obstructionists and enemies of the people. The Republicans were never interested in governing for the entire population, but since the election of Barack Obama not only have they stopped governing, they are making it nearly impossible for anyone to govern; unless one calls holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage governing.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.