You may have noticed that our federal government has run aground lately. This can be attributed to the Republican strategy of governance — a strategy that is less about the good of the country and more about derailing progress in hopes of wooing Americans back into their arms next November.
The Republicans have thrown Congressional manners to the wolves in favor of the “no” button on their voting mechanisms. Based upon their voting record this past session, it is evident that Republicans would rather see President Obama’s policies fail than America succeed. We put forth today, if Obama were to propose the building of a 300-foot statue on the White House lawn of Ronald Reagan urinating on poor people with an orbiting missile defense system circumnavigating his head, the Republicans would still vote resoundingly, NO!
In confronting the economic meltdown, Obama proposed a stimulus bill. He limited the size of federal works projects and government transfers in favor of middle-class tax cuts, which logically would garner Republican support. Instead, the Republicans voted no. Not one Republican voted in favor of the stimulus bill despite the fact that 95 percent of Americans received tax cuts from the stimulus.
Republicans have also fought health care reform every step of the way. Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., stated, “We must defeat Obama on health care. This will break him.” This is not just the degree of political dissent, this is emblematic of the methodology of obstruction that has defined the Republicans during the Obama administration. Despite this, Democrats worked to fashion a bipartisan health reform bill that included nearly all Republican demands, even going so far as dropping the public option. In response, the Republicans threatened to filibuster the legislation, calling it socialist health care and comparing it to fascist Nazi Germany.
Not only is legislation not being passed, Republican obstructionism is also preventing the confirmation of Obama appointees. Republicans are still holding up the appointment of Eroll Southers as Director of the Transportation Security Administration. Infamous Republicans (Dick Cheney) claim that with Obama in office, America is less safe. We agree, but not because of Obama. The Republican minority has run amok, foregoing any consideration of the public good in favor of a policy constructed to destroy Obama and, by proxy, the safety and progress of America.
What is most appalling in all of this is that Republicans are well within the rules of the Senate. The anti-democratic filibuster is forcing the minority conservative opinion onto the majority of citizens who voted Democrat in 2008. Pundits like to point out that our founding fathers, in their infinite wisdom, designed the Senate to move at a glacial pace to prevent rushing headstrong down dangerous legislative paths. And hooray for that; whether it’s freeing slaves, granting women’s suffrage or being the last industrialized country to provide health care to all its citizens, senators know it’s best to sit on things for a decade or two and mull it over. Exceptions are made, of course, for naughty countries that need bombing (cite Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Panama, parts of Pakistan and TBA).
In 1911, the 17th Amendment removed one check from the political system by making senators directly elected by the American people. Today it is time for another amendment to our Constitution that will allow for progress to be made, despite obstructionist measures from a clearly minority party.
– Jonathon Padron and
Junior political science majors