I promise I have a more substantive and thoughtful post in the works, but for the moment I just have a few quick thoughts.
Riding the bus to work this morning, I passed the time as I usually do, catching up on news on my phone. Reading about the President’s proposed climate plans, as well as the recent rounds of Republican state and federal lawmaking misadventures, I couldn’t help but type out a quick little rant. And yes, I’m going to take up space on my blog for this. Sometimes you just have to get something off your chest.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) originated with a proposal by the conservative Heritage Foundation and was initially implemented by Republican governor Mitt Romney. “Cap and trade” policies were initially proposed by the Reagan administration. Both are market-based solutions for real world problems. However, when a Democrat (and not a truly liberal one, sorry, all you ideologues) implements these center-to-center-right policies, he’s a frothing Marxist and the anti-christ? So far Romneyca-, I’m sorry, I mean, Obamacare, is working better than expected. Cap and trade has worked quite well where it has been implemented in the US and around the world, reducing carbon emissions without sacrificing economic growth. Just to rub it in further, overall income taxes are presently lower for more Americans than under the last Republican president. The Democratic President was responsible for all of these accomplishments that would normally be cheered by Republicans. Thing is, Congressional Republicans are largely incapable of acknowledging the President as a decent human, much less as the legitimate, elected, leader of the United States. Anything he does, no matter how “conservative,” gets dismissed, ignored, denied, or attacked.
Personally, I would argue that a true single-payer health system would work far better toward providing universal health coverage. And more substantial government investment in “green” energy as well as stricter goals toward reducing emissions would be preferred. However, the “socialist” Democrat governs as a watered-down Republican, and does a better job of actual governance than they do. Could it be that Republicans have no interest in governing, and when a serious adult is elected President, Congressional Republicans will oppose their own policies just to spite him? Could it be that reasonable laws proposed that may have been passed 20 years ago with a handful of moderate Republican votes don’t even get to the vote stage now?
Other laws proposed by the President in the last year include expanding background checks for gun purchases (that most Americans of both parties support), as well as laws that invest tax dollars (already promised for this purpose) into our crumbling physical infrastructure.
Guess what isn’t getting voted on by this Congress? Yup. And why? Because that icky Obama pushed them.
How is it that Americans are willing to vote for such petty, obstructionist, childish, spiteful so-called lawmakers?
Breaking down almost every major policy position indicates that a firm – and sometimes overwhelming – majority of Americans agree with the Democratic positions over the Republicans. Abortion, gun control, environmental regulation, economic regulation, tax policy, the minimum wage, military spending, infrastructure spending, and so on…
Yet, we fall for labels and slogans so easily – the politics of emotion. Most Americans basically are “liberal,” yet only 20-28 percent (depending on the year) identify as such. The policy positions of those who are self-proclaimed “moderates” (and even some “conservatives”) tend toward actual liberalism, when breaking it down by policy.
Somehow, though, it’s the Republicans that are favored to win the Senate this fall, pretty much ensuring that nothing reasonable happens for the final two years of President Obama’s term. In fact, a Republican takeover of the Senate may very well embolden the lunatic fringe of the party to push for impeachment of the President for, well, basically being a moderate Republican who takes governing seriously.
We as Americans should be smarter than this.