"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Will the Obstructionists House Republicans Keep Saying "NO" Pushing the US Over the Cliff?

Will the Republican House Compromise?

Jury is still out.  Back from vacation and ready to roll up the sleeves -- some things don't change and the GOP House being the Party of "NO" is one of those as witnessed with what we are seeing.  They couldn't even find the votes to pass their own plan last week.  Dysfunctional comes to mind along with a lot of other words to describe this House GOP membership.

As I looked around the net this morning following the President's interview with David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press, I felt that Sam Stein of Huffington Post did the best job of recapping what happened in the interview about the fiscal cliff.  The abject failure of House Republicans by abdicating their Congressional responsibility for the budget with their stubbornness reminds me of a mule mentality.  As my brother said, someone needs to take a 2"x4" upside their head to get their attention.  

Here is the video of the David Gregory interview with President Obama on Meet the Press uploaded by NBC on You Tube:

Sam Stein's article on President Obama's interview by David Gregory on Meet the Press this morning:
WASHINGTON -- In his first Sunday show interview since his reelection, President Barack Obama admonished congressional Republicans for their unwillingness to compromise over debt-reduction and implored the media to cast aside its pox-on-both-your-houses coverage. 
With the deadline to negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff looming in the backdrop, the president took to "Meet the Press" to defend his efforts to try and find common ground. He noted that he had moved off his initial demands for revenue (once $1.6 trillion, now $1.2 trillion), agreed to entitlement reforms (reduced Social Security benefits) and already passed hefty spending cuts ($1 trillion as part of the Budget Control Act in 2011). And for that, he added, he was still waiting for Republicans to get closer to half-way.
“We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers,” said the president, according to an advance transcript of the interview. He would add, later: “[S]o far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don't want to go ahead and cooperate, but because I think it's been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package.”
The president's tone was tougher than usual. In the past, he’s been hesitant to directly rebuke congressional Republicans, choosing instead to attack the legislative body as a whole. 
But the last few weeks of negotiations have clearly frustrated both him and his staff. White House aides were particularly piqued at Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for shelving negotiations over a larger fiscal cliff deal in pursuit of a tax-rate-only option. That ended the legislative progress in the House and forced the Senate to pick up talks. With just days before tax rates rise on all income rates and $1 trillion in decade-long spending cuts go into effect, Senate leaders met on Saturday to find a way through the impasse. One knowledgeable aide said a deal didn’t look likely as of Saturday afternoon. A Republican aide said it would be impossible to know for sure until Sunday afternoon when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brief their respective caucuses. 
Even as they talked, preparations were being made to manage the public relations fallout over the impending failure to meet the deadline. Part of that involved the president hitting the Sunday talk show circuit, where he urged the press to not resort to false equivalencies when assigning blame. 
And to try to work with everybody involved to make sure that we've got an economy grows. Make sure that it works for everybody. Make sure that we're keeping the country safe. And does the Democratic party still have some knee jerk ideological positions and are there some folks in the Democratic party who sometimes aren't reasonable? Of course. That's true of every political party. 
But generally if you look at how I've tried to govern over the last four years and how I'll continue to try to govern, I'm not driven by some ideological agenda. I am a pretty practical guy. And I just want to make sure that things work. And one of the nice things about never having another election again, I will never campaign again, is I think you can rest assured that all I care about is making sure that I leave behind an America that is stronger, more prosperous, more stable, more secure than it was when I came into office.
The only thing I would caution against, David, is I think this notion of, "Well, both sides are just kind of unwilling to cooperate." And that's just not true. I mean if you look at the facts, what you have is a situation here where the Democratic party, warts and all, and certainly me, warts and all, have consistently done our best to try to put country first.
When the President admonished the media for saying both sides were unwilling to cooperate, he was right.  There is one party to blame for this whole debacle and that blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republican Party in Congress or as some have tabbed them, "Party of NO!"   That is an apt description of a  GOP who refuses to acknowledge the results of the election in November or understands the American people have spoken on what they want which is tax hikes on the wealthy.  While the GOP continues to throw the middle class under the bus, they play up to their big donors, Tea Party, and lobbyists.

Despicable group of 'non-leaders; in the GOP House who seem to be scared of their own shadows so they placate the hard right.  GOP only maintained control of the House because of some of the most corrupt gerrymandering that anyone has ever seen.  If you add up the votes for House races, the Democrats actually had over 1 million more votes but because of the underhandedness and lack of ethics of GOP State Legislatures in drawing redistricting lines like in PA, they kept control.   The GOP has a real problem in 2014 when Republicans like me decide to throw in with the Democrats to defeat GOP incumbents and candidates as we have had it with their arrogance and attacks on Obama and minorities bordering on racism, plus their war on the middle class, women, veterans, teachers, police, fire, and civil service for starters.

Most do-nothing Congress ever in modern times in the last two years since the GOP took over the House.  Our Country would be much in much better shape and Americans even more back on our feet if not for the Republican Party in Congress where in the Senate they have filibustered bills before they even hit the floor for a vote.  They are nothing but obstructionist who have a penchant for lying to the American people about this President and the Democrats in order to make themselves look good.  Note to GOP -- American people are waking up and not liking what they are seeing out of the GOP.   Will the GOP be blamed for putting us through this nonsense to keep tax cuts for the wealthy -- you betcha!

Republicans in Congress have not gotten that through their "pea size" brains based on their words and actions that they work for all their constituents not just the wealthy Republicans, Tea Party, and social issue types.  The rest of us should be heard as well as we also have votes.

With that in mind, I sat down last night and wrote my Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) which is probably a waste of time but since he has been speaking out for the GOP with trying to blame both sides, I decided to let you see what I had to say.  I will be happy to post his response when I get it but not holding my breath because I said what I thought:

Having supported Republicans my whole adult life, find myself in the position of being thoroughly disgusted with the HOUSE GOP obstructionists with zero backbone.  Putting wealthy donors over the middle class of this Country is beyond disgusting.  The lies that come out of the House members continually make a lot of long-time Republicans want to scream.  The war on women has not stopped as witnessed with holding hearings concerning women's issues and not having women testify.  It is more of the white male dominated GOP House modus operandi.

When you take off the blinders and realize we have been lied to by the GOP over the last four years, you get madder.  Do the research and you discover that the gerrymandering to keep the House GOP was most likely the worst ever.  Hope Republicans in the House are all proud of of what you have become where wealthy are put over the middle class.

A lot of long time Republicans are embarrassed at what we see out of the GOP today.  The filibusters in the Senate are a bad joke and the Republicans have made a mockery out of governing in the House.

Don't know if I will ever vote for a Republican in the near future but do know that I met a lot of honest people who want what is best for America when I joined Republicans for Obama.  Pretty bad when you trust Democrats to look out for your well being more then Republicans.

Too many House GOP seem to agree with the 47% remark and it has not gone unnoticed.  Some of the comments coming out of the GOP and Preibus wanting to remain Chair show nothing was learned from the election -- not one thing as obstruction continues to the point of telling the Senate to act as the House won't on the cliff.  Way to go -- abdicate Constitutional responsibilities now.

The Tea Party can shove it in my book along with the wealthy donors.  You want an inclusive GOP, you may (not) be getting it.  Not one member of my family voted for Romney.  Now most are considering leaving the GOP entirely which my youngest daughter has already done in Colorado.

GOP in the House needs to take their blinders off and stand up to the Tea Party or see the GOP relegated to the scrap heap.  Seems being reelected trumps what is best for the American people.

Am I disgusted?  You can take that to the bank!
To put this into more perspective, when Cong Cole ran for the first time in 2002, I spent hours not only in his office but in my home working for his election.  Some people here think he broke from leadership but if they really believe that I have swampland for sale in Arizona.  It is plan to make some in the GOP seem more reasonable if I was a betting person.  Cole has been a consultant for years and will try to play the odds IMHO which is why the Speaker and other leadership sent the Whip Cole out to talk to the media.   

Not sure the GOP in the House or Senate could lead if their lives depended on it as they have one word in their vocabulary which is "NO" to tax hikes on the wealthy.  They will gladly see tax hikes go up for everyone to preserve their 'we didn't vote for tax cuts on the wealthy' mantra.  It seems to this bystander they (GOP) are adverse to anything that President Obama offers preferring to trash him at every turn with their lies and innuendos.   

Today's GOP in the Congress in both Houses does not come to the table as honest brokers IMHO but to see what they can pull over on Obama and the Democrats to make sure only GOP ideas see the light of day.  They have totally missed the significance of the results of the November election where President Obama received 53% of the vote and Romney ironically received 47%.  You couldn't make that up -- poetic justice has been served.   The GOP lost big time including in the Senate where they only had ten seats to defend and the Democrats 23 seats and yet the GOP lost two of those ten seats.  The American people spoke and told the Republicans including in the House where 1 million more voted for Democrats that they wanted both parties to work together.  Obviously the GOP did not get the message.  Now the House GOP won't even do their Constitutional duty to be the home of the budget.  Do you want to know why?

Ever heard of the 'Hastert Rule?'  I didn't until recently -- talk about an idiotic and stupid rule out of the GOP Conference -- this one takes the cake -- guess it is their version of filibuster:
The majority of the majority is a governing principle (not a legal procedure) used by Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990's to effectively limit the power of the minority party to bring bills up for a vote on the floor of the house.[1 Under the majority of the majority doctrine the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives will not allow a vote on a bill to take place unless the majority of the majority party supports the bill.[2] This is sometimes referred to as the “Hastert Rule”,[3] as its introduction is widely credited to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (1999-2007); however, Newt Gingrich, who directly preceded Hastert as Speaker (1995-1999), followed the same rule.[4] Hastert was vocal in his support of the rule stating that his job was "to please the majority of the majority."[5]
In practical terms this keeps the minority party from passing bills with the assistance of a small number of members of the majority party. It takes 218 votes to pass a bill. Even when there are 218 votes to pass a bill, the rule prevents votes from taking place when those 218 votes do not include the majority of the majority party. If the Democrats are the minority party and the Republicans are the majority party, under the majority of the majority rule it would not be possible for 170 Democrats and 50 Republicans together to pass a bill, because 50 Republicans votes is far short of a majority of the majority party, so the Speaker would not allow a vote to take place.[6] As an example, if the Republican Party is the majority party and has 234 seats in Congress, it would take 118 (117+1) Republican votes in support of legislation before a vote could take place. With less than 118 Republican votes the legislation would be blocked, even if 218 or more votes could be found between the two parties. 
discharge petition signed by 218 members (or more) from any party is the only way to force consideration of a bill or resolution that does not have support of a majority of the majority. However, discharge petitions are rarely successful, as a member of the majority party defying their party's leadership by signing a discharge petition can expect retribution from the leadership.
Thought the comments of the last three Speaker's were telling:
Dennis Hastert (Speaker from 1999 - 2007): "On occasion, a particular issue might excite a majority made up mostly of the minority. Campaign finance is a particularly good example of this phenomenon. [But] the job of speaker is not to expedite legislation that runs counter to the wishes of the majority of his majority."[5] 
Nancy Pelosi (2007 - 2011): "I have to take into consideration something broader than the majority of the majority in the Democratic Caucus."[7] 
John Boehner (2011 -): "I’m not interested in passing something with mostly Democrat votes."[8]
Out of three Speakers only the Democrat Speaker Pelosi believes as Speaker she should represent everyone not just Democrats so she did not adhere to the so-called 'Hastert Rule' which Republican Speakers try to follow 100%.  If Boehner strays from the rule, Hastert is there to take him on for ignoring the 'Hastert' Rule.

That is no way to govern the people's House of Representatives where the members are the House are elected and sent to DC to work for us the American people not the Republican Party.

The wealthy donors led by the Koch Brothers, Tea Party, and Social Conservatives are all totally opposed to anything the President offers and refuse to even consider compromise as they adhere to their 'my way or no way' rule which is destroying the very foundation of the Republican Party.  When President Eisenhower integrated schools, it was the Democrats who opposed him.  Today, it would be Republicans because that white, southern male racist mentality exists in a lot of today's Republican elected officials.  They will toss a bone to a minority or woman but that is about it.  It is a white male dominated party who have the respect of a gnat for women and their issues.  Truly believe that if Hillary had been elected, she would have had the same problem as President Obama as some in the GOP consider women the lowest of the minorities.

Fox News has been the willing participant to trash this President and outright lie about him as we have been witnessing.  Ethics in Journalism doesn't seem to apply to Fox News as well as some others.  They wouldn't know what ethics was if it hit them in the face.  Many members of the media along with the Republicans in the Congress and in the States will say and do anything to make this President look bad whether true or not  the expense of the American people and the Country.

As a lifelong Republican I find this whole group of Republicans in the Congress beyond disgusting and frankly reprehensible that they put the Party over what is good for the Country because they want big donors, lobbyists, and hard right Tea Party on their side as they are afraid to be primaried and lose their job.  They have the backbone of a wet noodle.  Do they not understand that a lot of us would roll up our sleeves and open our checkbooks if they would just stand up and say no to the hard right taking the party back to center right where common sense prevails?  A good start would be kicking out the Koch Brothers with the libertarian/John Birchers in toe, the Tea Party obstructionists who only know the word 'no' along the 2nd amendment militia types for starters but chances of that happening are zero, zip, nada as the GOP stays hard right IMHO.

If the Republican Party refuses to get some common sense, they will be relegated to the trash heap of history which will show they went too far hard right to where they could not govern.  America is a diverse country but this bunch of Republicans cannot seem to grasp that very idea as they pander to the wealthy and the hard right.

Any Democrat wants help in a Congressional race in 2014, sign me up.  This bunch of House Republicans needs to see the unemployment line as well as some in the Senate starting with Minority Leader McConnell.  Can you say Ashley Judd?

Can the GOP be rebuilt?  From what I am seeing, I have my doubts as they are doubling down on stupid.  That leaves a viable new party to rise from the ashes.  The GOP did it with the Whigs, but are there leaders out there today willing to put up with the garbage out of the mouths of Fox News talk people, Rush, Hannity, and the big donors like Koch in order to stand up for all Americans?  Are they willing to go out of a limb to provide those of us who are long time Republicans a Party with common sense ideas on how to make America a better place for everyone not just the wealthy and the hard right?  Are they willing to work and compromise with Democrats and Independents in order to make this Country better?  If not, the Republican Party is going to start seeing an exodus after what we are seeing out of our elected officials in Congress.

Must admit that I am shocked that the Republican didn't learn one thing from the election when they were repudiated big time.  Stubborn like a mule does describe this group in of Republicans in the House.

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