Monday, September 24, 2012

Third Watch

Carl Gibson argues in Reader Supported News that, partly as a result of Mitt Romney’s stated contempt for 47 percent of the country--all those Americans he claims “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims”--and partly because of its blatant support of the rich over everyone else, the Republican Party has become “an irrelevant third party now.” He writes, in part:
For those still convinced that the GOP should still be a major party, Romney’s gaffes notwithstanding, take a look at how the Republicans in the House of Representatives have voted over the last few years, particularly for the budgets they’ve proposed and endorsed. While they have no problem voting down tax cuts for middle-class households (those making less than $250,000 a year), Republicans have steadfastly endorsed cutting taxes for the top 1% to even lower levels in their official budget proposal. That same budget makes the bulk of its cuts from social programs that are primarily there to benefit the middle class and the poor. The House Republican budget even makes part of its $4 trillion in cuts by ending federal funding for school lunch programs, meaning 280,000 poor kids would have less to eat, all so millionaires can have even bigger tax cuts.

Not to be outdone, Senate Republicans unanimously voted down a bill that would stop taxpayer subsidies for corporations that fired American workers and shipped their jobs overseas. They voted down assistance for homeless female veterans, and even just recently voted down a bill that would have provided jobs to unemployed veterans. The American Jobs Act, which would have created around 2 million new jobs for teachers, first responders and construction workers across the U.S., was unanimously rejected by Senate Republicans around this time last year. The reason? To pay for all of those new jobs, taxes on millionaires would have gone up by a few percentage points. Anyone who legitimately believes the Republican Party is there to serve anyone but 1% of the public is simply delusional.

Mitt Romney is now tanking in the polls, Republicans’ chances of taking back the Senate, despite 33 seats up for grabs, have fallen to 21%, and even John Boehner admits there’s a 1-in-3 chance he won’t be Speaker next year. We are witnessing a full-on implosion of the Republican Party. GOP used to stand for “Grand Old Party,” but it now stands for “Greedy Old Plutocrats.” The Republican Party is now no longer a major party, and there is no better indicator than their nominee for the presidency openly mocking poor people at a $50,000 per-plate fundraiser.
The expectation of an imminent “implosion” of the Republican Party may be taking things a bit far. I suspect that after President Obama is re-elected in November, there will be an internecine mêlée among the opposition Republicans, with Tea Partyers insisting on greater control over the party and a still-further-rightward agenda. However, barring a swift and consequent break-up of the GOP (with Tea Partyers either forcing today’s remaining mainstream Republicans out of the tent, or else abandoning the party themselves), and in the absence of another viable second political party, Republicans will likely still be around--even if they’re severely weakened--and insisting on equal status with Democrats for years to come.

READ MORE:Sympathy for the Doofus,” by Paul Krugman
(The New York Times).

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