With mounting mortgage foreclosures, there has been a rise in the amount of vandalism done by former homeowners on their way out the door. Smashing of porcelain, ripping out of copper pipes, holes punched through wallboard are the aftermath of the bitterness, frustration, and humiliation of those who once had it all and suddenly find themselves out in the cold. With all due respect to these unfortunate folks, they bear a strange resemblance to the Republican Party following the 2006 and 2008 American political re-alignment.
As we wind down the final days of 2009, the historical year in which Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, we ask ourselves, "What has the GOP accomplished in the last year?" The answer is a resounding zilch. What can they really take credit for? As House and Senate GOoPers leave Washington on Christmas Day to return to their families in Whitebread, U.S.A., they can share in the satisfaction that they, united as never before, stood in opposition to an enormously popular president and sizeable "Democrat" majorities in their respective chambers, and effectively stifled progress on many fronts. They have reveled in the knowledge that a mere 40 of them were able to hold back the tide of Progressive health care reform and will likely do the same on other pressing matters such as climate change and immigration reform. Almost drunk with power, they now believe themselves to be in the driver’s seat of America’s future.
If indeed, the GOP is drunk, it is most assuredly blind-drunk as it does not appear to see what’s coming around the bend. Even if the GOP picks up 18-20 House seats and 2-3 Senate seats, it remains impotent in terms of legislative opportunities or blocking Obama’s judicial appointments. But that’s not the worst of it. If, by some improbable happenstance, the GOP were to regain control of the Senate during the next 2-3 election cycles, it is likely to be by no more than 1 or 2 seats. Senate Democrats would be in a position to filibuster every GOoPer initiative imaginable; even if a few Conservadems refused to filibuster....It goes without saying that Republicans will lament the fact that Democrats won’t allow legislation to come to a floor vote – how unfair!
Republicans love Bipartisanship when it benefits Republicans. Witness Obama’s sincere outreach to GOoPers early-on in the HCR debate and the subsequent accusations, by Republicans, that their input was never sought. Well, elections have consequences, don’t they? Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) hit the nail on the head when he foretold of the GOP’s day of reckoning; their unavoidable come-uppance. Fear of an uncertain economy has replaced fear of terrorism as the GOP’s disgraceful tool for swaying popular opinion. When the economic engine begins to chug once again, the Republicans will have no smoke screen to hide behind, and will finally be see for what they truly are, cynical opportunists who value political victories over achieving what’s best for working families, the poor, the elderly, the infirm.
Yes, as a result of the GOP’s strident opposition and that of their well-endowed lobbyist co-conspirators, the HCR legislation that will ultimately be enacted into law will only be a vaguely-recognizable shell of what it could have been. It is true that Barack Obama and the Democrats expended considerable political capital to achieve a somewhat-hollow victory. But it is also true that the Republicans may have shot their wad and what little good will they still commanded in attempting to perpetuate the status quo; what the GOP does best. If their fortunes rest in the hands of Michael Steele and the Teabaggers, and not solid accomplishments, Republicans are likely to remain "the opposition."