The Fortress of No
If you held any small glimmer of hope that the president could figure out a way to work with Congress, let's just kill that off right now. The only thing that's required for Republicans to be against something is for Obama to be for it.
Case in point, the execrable Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who decided that the big outrage in Obama's speech was the notion that companies might have to say what chemicals they're dumping into the ground:
“I think the president very much sent a not-so-veiled threat when he said first of all he was going to order these companies to disclose what they’re putting 20,000 feet under the earth,” the California Republican told reporters after the State of the Union address.
“And I’m sure he drinks Diet Coke — I’m sure he’d like that secret recipe too, but it’s not his right," Issa added.
Sigh. Darrell Issa makes my head bleed. There's a lot of directions Issa could have gone here, but "those chemicals are a trade secret" is I think the most ridiculous one I could manage to come up with. By the same token, the Coca-Cola company could put rat droppings and horse semen in Diet Coke and nobody would have the right to know that either—trade secret, bastards!—but it's been a good long while since anyone used trade-secrets-trump-human-health as a serious argument.
The problem is that those chemicals don't always stay 20,000 feet under the earth. Sometimes they don't make it down the pipe at all, but are spilled right on the ground. It's hard to test if they're in drinking water if we don't know what to test for. It's hard to tell what health effects spills have if we don't know what's in the stuff. It's—no, you know what? I don't even care about making a rational argument. Darrell Issa doesn't give a crap about being "rational," so why should I? Here's what I suggest. Every time Darrell Issa asks for a glass of Diet Coke, just poop right in that damn thing before you give it to him. He doesn't care. He doesn't think you have the right to care. And he's so goddamn anti-anything-a-Democrat-ever-says that if Obama warned him someone was crapping in his Diet Coke, Issa would drink it and like it just because he thought Obama was against it.
So where was I? Oh, yes. The potential for Congress doing something meaningful in the next agonizing year, and why it won't happen. Here's another avenue of attack offered by House Republicans; they're outraged that the president suggested we not let kids drop out of school until they're 18. Because dammit, dropping out is good! We didn't need no education to become congressmen, so yargle bargle! Tenth amendment! Boo, Obama!
"That's none of his business!" said Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee while speaking to reporters after the speech. "He's not a principal! He's not a public school teacher! He's not a governor, he's not a mayor. These are matters for state and local government." [...]
"I did not want to be Joe Wilson!" Lee shouted. Meanwhile, Joe Wilson, who shouted "You Lie!" during a presidential address in 2009, was standing directly behind him, about three feet away. [...]
"What are you gonna do, give them the electric chair?" asked Arizona Republican Trent Franks. "It should be handled on the parental level."
Oh my God, I really do not care. I really don't. But apparently this completely abstract, unclear-how-it-would-be-enforced, unclear-if-it's-even-a-serious-proposal proposal was just another thing in the presidential speech that nearly had Republicans like Mike Lee leaping to their feet in mad, frothing outrage. Holy hell. I wish there were legislators that would get half as worked up over bullshitted weapon of mass destruction claims, or suggestions that members of the opposing party were "treasonous," or any of the other ridiculous nonsense we've gone through in the last decade. These people have the most flakiest, most spastic outrage-meters I have ever witnessed anywhere outside of a Gymboree.
Oh wait, except Darrell Issa, who loved that idea:
"I agree with him," Issa said. [...] That could make a real difference in the level of education people get. Do I promote it? Yes."
You know what? Just kill me already. Just freaking kill me already.