A goodly number of Republicans don't believe that Barack Obama was born in America; others say he isn’t a “real” American and doesn’t really believe in America anyway. The truth is that nobody in the last four years has been more relentlessly un-American, and more shamelessly anti-America, than the 47 Republicans in the Senate.
Before Obama was even inaugurated, on January 16, 2009, the radio host Rush Limbaugh put into words what quickly became the guiding passion of the GOP: “I hope Obama fails.” Two years later, on the eve of the 2010 midterms, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) added his now-famous pronouncement: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” (Not “The single most important thing we want is to reduce unemployment in America,” or “The single most important thing we want is to speed the economic recovery in America”; doing that would help America, but it might not help the Republican Party.)
In thrall to Limbaugh, lining up like lemmings behind their Minority Leader, the Republicans have used the filibuster to turn the Senate into the most dysfunctional legislative body in the history of U.S. politics. The filibuster slaps America in the face, effectively making a super-majority of 60 votes the new requirement for passing anything in the Senate. So engrained has the filibuster become, so reflexively automatic, that Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts declared the other day that it makes no difference which party wins Senate control come November 6; it doesn’t matter, he said, because 60 votes will still be required (and everybody knows how impossible 60 votes are). “I’m tired of the process. It makes me disgusted,” Brown said.
But not disgusted enough. Over and over, he and other Senate Republicans have willfully chosen to put the interests of the GOP ahead of the interests of average Americans. Over and over, he and other Senate Republicans have willfully chosen to hurt rather than help America.
It’s telling, and damning, to look at just a few of the instances.
In the face of continuing high unemployment, Senate Republicans blocked Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill. It would have included $175 billion in infrastructure spending and aid for local governments, so that they could avoid laying off teachers and other civil servants.
As Obama said when he introduced the bill before a joint session of Congress, “There should be nothing controversial about this…Everything here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight.”
For Senate Republicans, prior support has morphed into instant opposition when the GOP’s position has been taken up by President Obama. The individual mandate in the healthcare law arose from the conservative Heritage Foundation; it was one of John McCain’s positions during his 2008 run for the presidency; and of course it’s at the heart of the health insurance program passed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and touted by him as a model for the nation.
But when the individual mandate became an Obama proposal, it was vilified and the president demonized (along with Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court, who later had the backbone to uphold it).
Similarly with the national debt. Senate Republicans had no compunctions about passing the Bush tax cuts, the first ever enacted with the nation at war. They had no problem putting the bill entirely on the cuff, along with the bill for a war begun under false pretenses. They had no trouble, under George W. Bush, with the routine, bipartisan business of raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
But when it came time to do likewise under Obama, the GOP once again chose ideology over country. The party openly and willfully risked the full faith and credit of the United States, causing Standard & Poor's to lower the nation’s credit rating for the first time in history.
Anything in the service of party; nothing in the service of country.
Obama not American? Obama anti-America? Hardly. The real un-Americans and anti-Americans are the filibuster-crazed Republicans in the U.S. Senate.