The fiscal cliff is as much ballyhooed and feared as Y2K, pandemics and December 21 (the end of the world). For the record, I'm not a believer. This fiscal cliff will come and go as will many more, as long as we have partisan, self-interested and ideological douche bags running the show.
One of my misguided, right wing, Left Coast cousins commented yesterday on my post entitled, "Ben Stein: Clinging to the Fiscal Cliff". What my cousin took issue with was my allusion to the fact that Republicans don't seem to like compromise. That fact should hardly come as a surprise to anyone, especially not my well-educated geographically-distant cousin whom I love like a well-educated geographically-distant cousin.
Before the final votes were tallied in 2008 Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made it clear that his mission and the mission of his fellow Republicans in the House and Senate for the upcoming term of President Barack Obama would be to ensure an unsuccessful re-election bid in 2012. Noting that that was their objective for four long years, you'd think they'd realize how completely they failed their country, their constituents and in their self-appointed jobs.
Nowhere in their stated goals was any mention of job creation, budget or deficit, although they bandied about all three for utilitarian purposes. Every attempt at progress was met by obstructionism and filibuster, whether it was a jobs bill or benefits for veterans.
Former Representative Allen West (R-FL) said Republicans were wasting their time trying to work with President Obama because he's a "Marxist, socialist, rigid idealog". He also said that the only reason he lost his seat in the House to Patrick Murphy is because Murphy "cheated". And Bill Maher says Republicans live in a bubble.
Specifically cited in my cousin's comment was the White House's assertion that it would not back down on elimination of the Bush tax cuts for a very small portion of the population; the rich. This, too should come as no surprise to anyone, not even my well-educated, geographically-distant cousin. It isn't even a no-compromise position. There's plenty left on the table, but returning the rich to the tax rates levied during the Clinton administration - an administration of growth and prosperity - is a key element of the plan that the President laid out for the American people and one for which, in fact they voted. In some cases standing in 8-hour lines at the polls to cast their votes.
Paul Ryan said that he is going to continue to work for the policies that he and Mutt Romney put forth during their unsuccessful bid for the White House because that's what the American people want. To Mr. Ryan I would say, "No it's not. You lost. The American people voted for the policies of Barack Obama. Religious zealots, bigots and the easily persuaded (that Barack Obama was a socialist, Communist, Marxist, Nazi, non-American, anti-American outsider) voted for you. They probably didn't understand your policies, most of which were kept secret, but they were out-voted. That's how a democracy works. The concerns of President Obama's supporters would have been of no concern to a Romney White House".
President Obama campaigned relentlessly on that one point. It was clearly and forcefully delineated in every speech and debate. As a president who has worked against the odds to deliver on campaign promises, it's pretty much unthinkable that he would renege on this one.
As for my cousin's other assertion, that Democrats (like Republicans) "distain" (sp) compromise, I would take issue with that, as well. First I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his misspelling of "disdain" was a typo.
Second, no one said that Republicans disdain compromise. What they disdain is having to negotiate with people to whom they feel morally superior. They disdain anyone not deemed part of their ruling class having the audacity to live in their White House. The personal attacks on President Obama and his family were particularly despicable, but that pattern began in earnest during the Clinton administration. They also disdain suffrage of the teeming masses, who should quietly accept their fate and not try to interfere with their governance.
Lastly, there is no moral equivalency here. The President is asking for one specific thing. The Tea Party credo is that bipartisanship means Democrats capitulating. Standing for a principle is not the same as standing against everything, just as there is no moral equivalency between misleading a nation into a war on the other side of the world and getting a blow job in your own office.
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