Voting Against America
Yet, if media analysts are to be believed—always a
dubious proposition—that conscious Republican strategy is improving the party’s
prospects of winning in the November midterm elections.
Last week we witnessed the spectacle of Republicans
filibustering—yes, filibustering—to prevent more than 2 million unemployed
people across the country, including 69,000 in Wisconsin, from receiving any more
Not only did Republicans repeatedly vote against
unemployment compensation to help those who have used up their benefits to feed
their families, but many went out of their way to insult people without jobs.
Philosophically, Republicans say they are opposed to
providing unemployment benefits because if people who lose their jobs receive
money from the government, they won’t try as hard to find new jobs.
Never mind that, as a result of the national
economic collapse under Republican President George W. Bush, there aren’t any
jobs for four out of five of those looking for work.
President Barack Obama won an overwhelming election
victory in large part because of the disastrous Bush presidency that turned
record budget surpluses under Democrat Bill Clinton into record budget deficits
and the worst economic plunge since the Great Depression.
Logically, for their disastrous economic policies,
Republicans deserve to be wandering in the electoral wilderness for years to
Yet, just two years after Obama’s election, the
media repeatedly trumpet the election prospects for Republicans in November
amid what they call “a dismal climate for Democrats.”
Benefit the GOP At All Costs
Republicans appear to be getting away with one of
the most brazenly anti-American political strategies in history.
Realizing voters blame the party in power for bad
times, Republicans turned their back on the American ideal of everybody pulling
together to get us through tough times.
Unbelievably, Republicans have repeatedly voted
against measures by President Obama to speed economic recovery. Republicans
figure the longer millions of Americans are miserable, the more likely they are
to be angry at the Democrats or possibly too disheartened to vote at all.
Opposing unemployment compensation as well as
consumer protections and regulations for Wall Street that were part of a major
financial reform law passed last week were just the latest examples.
Every time President Obama has reached across the
aisle for Republican votes to create jobs or reduce economic hardship on
Americans, the response of Republicans has been to stomp on his fingers.
Less than a handful of Republican senators have
voted for any measure to lift America
out of this historic recession. Many important efforts have not received a
single Republican vote.
It began with the much-pilloried economic stimulus
package that most economic experts, including Republican economists, agree
saved or created more than 3 million jobs.
Republicans actually are proud of voting against
doing anything to stimulate the economy. They routinely refer to it as “the
failed economic stimulus.” They proudly repeat ridiculously untrue statements
such as “the stimulus package failed to create a single job.”
It may be annoying to have so many city streets and
state roads blocked off for construction this summer, but these are real jobs
providing real income that allow people to provide for their families and spend
money at other businesses. Republicans can’t deny these people out of
Schools opening in September will be facing a major
educational crisis with hundreds of teachers being laid off in Milwaukee and around the state. The only
reason classrooms weren’t already gutted a year ago was the economic stimulus.
Retiring Wisconsin Congressman David Obey included
funds to retain teachers in a House bill. So far Senate Republicans have
stopped any consideration of funds to prevent the massive teacher layoffs.
Of course, Republicans can’t openly admit they are
voting against economic recovery so that miserable Americans might be more
likely to vote against Democrats in November. So they have come up with a philosophical
reason to oppose every effort to create jobs and improve the economy: They’re
against adding to that growing government deficit.
Yes, that’s the same deficit Republicans couldn’t
care less about when they passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy while
starting two wars. In fact, Republicans now want to extend those tax cuts for
the wealthy again and add the cost to the deficit.
It’s just spending that would lead to economic
recovery and benefit the 95% of Americans who aren’t wealthy that Republicans
refuse to add to the deficit.
Of course, the best way to reduce the deficit would
be to end the recession and put America
back to work.
Sometime before the election, the media should make clear which party is trying to do that and which party opposes economic recovery because it believes extending American misery will benefit Republicans in November.