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December 29, 2011

Republicans: Here’s Your Sign…

Blaine R. Young

It isn’t often that we are witness to the mass suicide of an entire political party, but that is what is happening to the Republican Party across America.


What we are witnessing these days is not only self-destructive on a grand scale, but is so stupid you have to wonder if anyone in a leadership role in this party has a brain in his or her head. The Republican Party is exhibiting mass stupidity on an unprecedented scale.


The United States is now suffering through its third full year of stagnant economic growth, which includes an historically high and stubborn unemployment rate of approximately 9%. There is – of course – one huge bright spot in this if you are a Republican. This was all suffered on the watch of the Democrats, including a Democrat president who is up for re-election in a little more than 11 months.


Ordinarily we would expect the opposition party, in this case the Republicans, to organize, cooperate and work together to convince the American people that four years of suffering under the Obama Administration is enough. Although incumbent presidents have a distinct advantage going into a re-election campaign, in this instance Republicans had what not too long ago looked like a slam dunk. The president’s approval ratings were at historic lows, and a great number of Americans were talking about the need for change, with change in the occupant of the White House as their first priority.


Instead of jumping into this fray as a unified group, for the last six months the Republicans nationally have done everything they could possibly do to assist President Barack Obama in his re-election efforts.


First, the unbridled ambition of a large number of so-called “candidates” for the Republican nomination continue to rip at each other’s throats and expose weaknesses that no one even knew existed. It is one thing for someone who thinks he or she deserves the high honor of being elected president to stand before the American people and explain, in cogent and reasonable terms, why they deserve this trust. Certainly, they have had amble opportunities to do this. It seems like we have televised debates between the Republican candidates on the air more often than Seinfeld reruns. No Republican candidate can claim that they did not have the opportunity to state their case to the American people.


Instead they spend their time tearing each other apart, and doing their best to convince the American people that those standing next to them are not worthy of the office. By the time this spectacle is finished, a majority of the American people are going to decide that these candidates were right all along. None of them is worthy of the office of president.


And now we see the Republicans fighting among themselves in Congress when an opportunity is handed to them on a silver platter to take a simple step to show working people that Republicans care about them. The Senate passed a bipartisan measure with 90 out of 100 votes to extend a modest but important payroll tax cut for working Americans. It may not be that big of a deal, but certainly in trying economic times every dollar counts.  And the senators, who tend to fight among themselves over the littlest things, managed to get together on this one and pass a bill and send it to the House of Representatives.


Instead of saying thank you to the Senate for doing the heavy lifting, the Republican Caucus in the House tried to take a walk. They defied their leadership, voted no, and tried to leave town. It was sad to see the Senate minority leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., KY), plead with his colleagues in the House to pass the bill before Christmas only to get shouted down by ideologues who have an over inflated view of their importance.


If it were not for a last minute approval of a two-month extension, paychecks after the first of the year would have been lower than they were in 2011. The public relations fallout will fall squarely on the heads of the Republicans in Congress.


And many will say, “So what.” I have to agree that makes a lot of sense. If these elected representatives want to destroy themselves, let them have at it. I, for one, won’t miss any of them.


They have taken a giant step forward in ensuring the re-election of Barrack Obama for a second term as president. The same people who hit the airwaves with vitriolic attacks on the lack of leadership of this president, many of which I agree with, are now the ones who will be mostly to blame if he is re-elected next November. And because of their selfish and ignorant conduct, that re-election is now more likely than it ever was.


Say what you want about the two party system in this country. Certainly it has its faults, but for now – and for the foreseeable future – it’s what we have. It is the responsibility of those who are elected to office to have the good sense to recognize the way the two party system works, and to sometimes swallow their pride and their ego and cast a vote for the good of the whole. Instead, a large faction of the Republican Party selfishly pursued their own re-election interest at the expense of the country. We are all likely to suffer for it next year.


I have said before and I will say it again. We desperately need new leadership in Washington. And at this point we need new leadership in the Republican Party as much as we need it in the White House.


I never thought I would say this, but if Bill Engvall was to walk into Capitol Hill now and start passing out signs, I think he should start in the House Republican Caucus, and start passing them out until he runs out. He’d better bring a pretty big truck to the Capitol building to carry all the signs he would need to give these congressmen the Christmas present they deserve.


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