Republicans, particularly those in leadership positions in Congress, are in the habit of claiming their anti-American policies are “what the American people want,” and then forge ahead either doing nothing, or obstructing legislation the people overwhelmingly support. Over the course of 2013, and really, the past three years that Republicans had control of the House of Representatives when they say “it’s what the American people want, and expect us to do,” they mean it is what their wealthy benefactors want and the people be damned. However, for the first time in a while, a poll indicates that if Republicans do not act on behalf of a small segment of the population, they may pay at the polls in 2014.
What the Public Policy Polling survey of voters in four key congressional districts revealed was that besides 63-68% of voters supporting extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, voters said they were less likely to vote for the Republican incumbent in 2014 by at least a 9-point margin if they voted to cut off extended unemployment benefits. The benefits end on December 28 and with Congress home for the holidays, it is all but certain extending the benefits will have to wait until 2014. Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have already said the recent improvement in unemployment figures and good economic news informed it was unnecessary to spend the money to help 1.3 million Americans struggling to find jobs.
What the survey also revealed is that the American people are concerned about their fellow citizens’ plight and it is a recurring theme over the past few months across a range of issues all dealing with the economy and widening income gap Republicans are duty-bound to see never changes to enrich the wealthy and their corporations. What is telling is that prior to the bicameral budget agreement to fund the government for the next two years, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said it was an “immorality” that the benefits were not secured in the recent deal and she was joined by moderate Republicans who urged Boehner and Eric Cantor to rescue jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed in early December telling them “the issue was important to many American families.” Boehner’s answer was the only way he would consider the proposal is if cuts were made to other domestic programs; and only if continued job growth could be guaranteed. It is likely that alone is why the measure ultimately did not make in the budget deal; that and compassionate conservative Paul Ryan’s open hostility toward the poor and unemployed. The only thing Boehner did not say, at least in public, was that throwing 1.3 million Americans into poverty was “what the American people want.”
Over the course of the past couple of months the American people have told pollsters precisely what they want and Republicans spent all of 2013 blocking every single attempt to follow the will of the people. For example, an overwhelming majority of Americans (63%) want comprehensive immigration reform passed for roughly 11.7 million individuals living in the United States illegally; including 73% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans, and 57% of Independents. Instead, John Boehner said he would not bring the Senate-passed legislation up for a vote until after the 2014 primaries and then only in a piecemeal manner after the borders were secured with an absurd fence along the entire Mexican-American border. In fact, teabagger hero Ted Cruz recently said blocking immigration reform in the House was the Republican strategy to take back the Senate and called on Boehner to refuse to allow a vote on reform he said “was a kick in the teeth to Americans” who are likely racists panting to throw 11 million Hispanics out of their “whites only” nation.
Last week, an ABC News/Washington Post poll revealed that well over two-thirds of Americans said it is time to raise the minimum wage to $10.25 per hour; another poll showed over three-quarters of voters support raising the minimum. The ABC/WaPo poll also showed an overwhelming majority supported government efforts to address crippling income inequality enriching the wealthy that they said is a result of federal government policies that favor the rich over the rest of the population. Republicans claimed it is not what the American people want and instead claim their interest lies in protecting business and corporations who threaten to stop hiring and cut back hours of current employees if the federal minimum wage is hiked. One wonders why the poll did not ask respondents if they would withhold electoral support for incumbents who disregard the will of the people, but it is likely they already knew the answer and were mortified of giving other voters the wrong idea.
Republicans allowed all food stamp recipients to go without several meals each week in November when they refused to fund SNAP and voted to slash $39 billion from the program in September. Compassionate conservative Paul Ryan called for $133.5 billion in cuts in the budget Republicans passed earlier in the year and yet in June in a HuffPost/YouGov poll the majority of Americans said they preferred no cuts and instead wanted an increase to help Americans struggling to put food on the table. Last year an overwhelming 90% of Americans approved of either maintaining SNAP at current levels or doubling funding to ensure all Americans avoid food insecurity and to prevent the daily hunger they experience.
Republicans are panting to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare in 2014 despite that overwhelming majorities of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, support preserving and even improving benefits including their willingness to pay more according to a survey by the nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). Like every other Republican line, they claim the American people want benefits cut and the program privatized that reveals who Republicans are serving with every claim they are doing “what the American people want.”
In Republican parlance, when they say “what the people want,” they mean their wealthy benefactors the Koch brothers, ALEC, and Wall Street who are the “American people” to Republicans. What all the polls showing what Americans really want reveal is they care deeply for their fellow citizens who have been economically raped mercilessly by Republicans and declared open war on the people they pledged to serve. If any American thinks Republicans are unaware of what the people really want, or are the least bit concerned they will lose even one vote because they serve their wealthy masters, they are deluded beyond belief because for three straight years Republicans, particularly in the House, knew exactly what the people wanted. Instead of following the will of the people they have spent every day of three years deliberately obstructing, filibustering, and blocking legislation the people want passed because the Americans Republicans serve; the Koch brothers, ALEC, and Wall Street want total victory in their class war against the American people and it is a war they have already won.
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.