Wednesday, July 30, 2014

“It Is About Power”

Well, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives made shameful history today. By a party-line vote of 225-201 (with all but five Republicans voting for the measure, and all 199 Democrats opposing it), Congress’ lower chamber authorized Speaker John Boehner’s much-talked-about--and ridiculed--lawsuit against President Barack Obama. That’s right: Rather than dealing with the nation’s continuing unemployment situation, trying to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, relieving pressure on veteran’s hospitals overwhelmed by the influx of soldiers caused by George W. Bush’s short-sighted bellicosity, or working with the president to reduce crippling student debt, curb greenhouse gases that are endangering the planet’s future, and ease financial burdens on the middle class, Republicans would rather spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit against President Obama for doing his job, for acting while Republicans sit on their hands, complain, and do almost nothing to earn their paychecks.

This is the height of idiocy, nothing but a partisan power grab. Republicans--who’ve tried to undermine President Obama since the first day he took office--now hope to stir up their fear-gripped, anti-government and, yes, hateful base in advance of November’s midterm elections. Yet the result of all this is just as likely to be that it stirs up fierce opposition from Democrats and Independents, who remember the 1990s and what then-Speaker Newt Gingrich sought to do: impeach another Democrat, President Bill Clinton, because they didn’t want him sitting in the White House, either. A recent poll showed that perpetually angry, bigoted Republican extremists--the folks who seem to be in charge of that once “grand” party right now--want to impeach President Obama. And when Boehner’s lawsuit fails, as it likely will, they’ll demand that impeachment hearings commence post haste--even though launching them, with such an obvious dearth of provocation, only further trivializes the significance of an impeachment. This ugly, ultimately self-defeating partisanship and legislative gridlock will only worsen if Republicans manage not only to hold onto their majority in the House in November, but win control of the U.S. Senate as well.

If you think that nothing of any value is coming out Congress at the present juncture, just imagine what will happen if Republicans--opposed to minimum-wage hikes, fighting to restrict women’s access to abortion and other health services, hoping to kill the Affordable Care Act that has finally brought health-care coverage to millions of Americans, and rattling their sabers in favor of brand-new wars in the Middle East--are rewarded with greater power on Capitol Hill. President Obama will then be the only bulwark against a new flood of extremist, religion- and paranoia-rooted bills coming out of both chambers.

Ed Schultz of MSNBC’s The Ed Show devoted a good-sized segment of his broadcast tonight to the cost and pointlessness of Boehner’s games-playing. I have embedded that above. It’s well worth watching.

READ MORE:The Not-So-Secret GOP Strategy for Everything: Do Nothing, and Blame Obama,” by Joan Walsh (Salon); “Even by ‘Do-Nothing’ Standards, This Congress Is Useless,” by Henry Decker (The National Memo).

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