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US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) hugs running mate Paul Ryan on election night November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Romney conceded the race to US President Barack Obama.   AFP PHOTO/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Yesterday Willard "Mitt" Romney and his former running-mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) met up for the first time since their 2012 tilt at the White House.  The two got together for a little bromantic back and forth, waxing poetic about each other's "presidential timber," and to discuss the Republican Wunderkind's entry in the 2014 preliminary round of the "Does This Serious Book Make Me Look Presidential" book writing fair.  

Ryan's book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea is, I have to assume, Rep. Ryan's plan for renewing the "American idea," whatever that is when it's at home . . . perhaps he felt that the old standby, "American Dream," creates overly grand expectations among the 99%?

Brother Romney, an "action man," himself, had this advice :

If people want to actually see action in this country and dealing with problems from education to health care, immigration to our fiscal needs ... they're going to have to vote for Republican senators and ... a Republican president, as well.

For those who need a little more to go on than Willard Romney's word for it, looking for historical support for Romney's advice is a blessedly short research project because, in the last 60 years, there has only been one administration in which the modern Republican party controlled the presidency as well as both houses of Congress.  

And that would be part of the inglorious reign of C+ Augustus (George W Bush).  [Thank you, Mr. Pierce]

So.  Without further ado, let's take a stroll down memory lane and assess the records of the 108th and 109th Congresses which should give us a contemporaneous view of what to expect from the autocratic government that Mr Romney recommends, shall we?

The One Hundred Eighth United States Congress convened from January 3, 2003 to January 3, 2005, during the third and fourth years of George W. Bush's presidency.

On the 108th's watch the United States invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003; on May 1, 2003, George W Bush became the first sitting President to make an arrested landing, in a fixed-wing aircraft, onto an aircraft carrier where he proceeded to announce Mission Accomplished aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

In July 2003, the Valerie Plame CIA Leak Scandal came to light, the 9/11 Commission filed its initial reports and, in November, George W. Bush "swiftboated" his way to re-election with the narrowest ever popular vote for an incumbent president.

The 108th Congress gave us several new laws to include the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, additions to the Bush Tax Cuts and the Project BioShield Act to protect us all from biological WMDs which were always very much on the minds of Bush&Co.

Congress also delivered the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act to enhance the invasion of Americans' privacy through warrant-less search, data-mining and domestic surveillance, while simultaneously expanding American meddling in foreign countries, as well, with the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, and the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004 to which the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, said "thanks, but no thanks" because Belarus, among others, considers the act an intervention into the internal affairs of Belarus.

The 109th Congress, or the Do Nothing Congress [Part I], as it was dubbed, ran from from January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007, during the fifth and sixth years of George W. Bush's presidency.

This Congress had the dubious distinction of helping their President thoroughly eff-up Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief, as well as kicking off huge nationwide immigration reform protests by introducing H.R. 4437, which proposed raising penalties for illegal immigration and making it a felony to help undocumented immigrants who either enter or remain in the US.  

In 2005, the Do Nothing Congress, with nothing much else to do, decided to jump into the Teri Schiavo case and make everything just that more nightmarish for the Schiavos because, as Brian Darling, legal counsel for Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), advised his boss, "the Schiavo case offered 'a great political issue' that would appeal to the party's base and could be used against Senator Bill Nelson," a Democrat from Florida.  Well played, GOP.  Nelson won.

Another reason that Republicans in the 109th Congress didn't get a whole lot done was because they were forced to spend considerable amounts of time away from their legislative pursuits tamping down numerous scandals involving congressional Republicans: Tom DeLay (R-TX), Mark Foley (R-FL), Bob Ney (R-OH), and Duke Cunningham (R-CA) all contributed to a world of hurt for Republicans in the 109th Congress.

Moreover The 109th's legislative feats do nothing much to counter the charge against them of being a Do Nothing Congress.  The list is a frothy little confection bound to warm the cockles of social conservatives' hearts without being much good for anything else real-world . . .

There was the Class Action Fairness Act, an exercise in tort reform, which Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) described as "the final payback to the tobacco industry, to the asbestos industry, to the oil industry, to the chemical industry at the expense of ordinary families."

And, of course Teri's [Schiavo] Law which broke just about every constitutional guideline for legislation in one go:  Bush signed the law before it passed the Senate; it skated perilously close to being a "bill of attainder" (ie, it applies to only one individual); it violated separation of powers (Executive - Judicial) and finally, it failed to create any substantive rights.

Then came the The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which, despite its name, actually made it a lot harder for "consumers" to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy and should have been called the "Credit Card Issuer Protection Act."

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was essentially a subsidy for various sectors of the energy industries and created a handy-dandy loophole for frackers -- nicknamed the Halliburton Loophole in honor of Vice President Dick Cheney's contributions in crafting the law -- that exempts companies drilling for natural gas from disclosing the chemicals involved in fracking operations normally required under the Clean Water Act.

There was also the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act which contained the infamous Bridge to Nowhere earmarks; the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which precludes suing gun manufacturers for shooting injuries. The NRA effusively thanked President Bush for signing "...the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years into law."

And, of course the usual suspects coming out of a Republican-controlled Congress: a Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act, a Deficit Reduction Act, a Secure Fence Act, and a Tax Relief and Health Act.

But the high point of the 109th Congress was that by the time these Republican controlled Congresses were giddy with majority, American voters cleared them out and replaced them with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

So, by all means, if you find this parade of horribles a compelling argument for handing total governance over to Republicans, take Mitt's advice and vote straight Republican.  If, on the other hand you are sane, and facts and history mean something to you, tell Mitt and Boy Blunder to give it a break, we already know how this story goes.  

Originally posted to BetteNoir on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 01:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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