Thursday, January 22, 2015

The State of the Disunion

Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, now made with extra gluten. 

Tuesday was the President Obama's State of the Union address. Traditionally, the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representative sits behind the President during the speech. One was side was the Veep, Joe Biden; he seemed to be attentive to the President's remarks but I wonder if he was mentally cataloging his collection of Hummel figurines. 

On the other side was an Oompa Loompa. 

John Boehner

Sorry, no; it was Rep. John Boehner. During the entire speech, the expressions on Boehner's face were nothing less than contempt for the man speaking in front on him. And right there Boehner encapsulates what's wrong with American Politics: our elected officials should not be orange.  

No, the problem is the GOP's almost fanatical devotion to their mantra: whatever Obama says, we don't like it. It doesn't matter if a Republican said it first; if Obama's saying it now, then the Republicans don't like it. Political parties are going to have differences of opinion on how to govern but this is not just differences of ideology that drives the divide between the White House and Congress.It's a myopic obsession with resisting Obama at every turn, no matter what he says or does. 

During Tuesday's speech, the Republicans did not applaud any of the President's initiatives. Again, I understand differences of ideology; but the message sent by the GOP sitting on their collective hands is not that their opposed to Obama's liberal agenda. The message is they are opposed to Obama. Period.  

There was one point that the Republicans did applaud which only served to prove my point. President Obama points out that there's no political stake in this for him. "I have no more campaigns to run." And that line, of all the things the President said, it was THAT line that got the GOP to get off their damn hands and applaud. 

The President was ready for them. 

"I know," he said, "because I won both of them." 

Obama

After the speech, Republicans were quick to pile on in response to this comment. "Obama's politicizing the State of the Union speech." "It shows a lack of respect for the office." And so forth and so on. 

Which is the way of bullies. They're pissed because Obama pushed back.  

Here's what Mitt Romney had to say on this subject. 

"True to form, the President in his State of the Union speech is more interested in politics than in leadership," former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney wrote on Facebook. "More intent on winning elections than on winning progress, he ignores the fact that the country has elected a Congress that favors smaller government and lower taxes."

Actually, I think the country elected a Congress of fearmongers who are actually at work against the very interests of their constituencies. 

At this point I want to bring up something about myself: I am a registered Republican. I would prefer a smaller government and lower taxes, on that Mitt Romney and I agree. 

But smaller government does not mean a gutted, ineffective government. Lower taxes does not mean breaking the bank in favor of the wealthiest Americans while adding to our nation's debt. 

I am that rare, almost extinct breed, a moderate Republican. There are those within the party who would label me a RINO: Republican In Name Only.  

Well, I don't care. My political views have evolved but aren't much different than they were 20, 30 years ago. I have watched in horror and disgust as the Republican Party has moved further and further in extreme directions not for the benefit of this nation but for the benefit of their own power. There's money to be made, power to be gained by resisting Obama at every turn. Actively blocking the President at every turn is sure as hell not an effective means of governance. 

But the State of the Union speech gave a very clear visual of that divide. The President proposes things. Are they good things, bad things, are they right or are they wrong? Who knows and who cares? It doesn't matter when all the GOP has to do is what they did Tuesday night: sit on their hands.  

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