Friday, December 23, 2011

President Obama Thanks Boehner On Behalf Of The American People-- For Getting Off His Ass And Doing His Job


By early yesterday Boehner claimed the pressure from mainstream Republicans to go along with the Senate compromise was more intense than pressure from the freshman teabaggers. Even some of the freshmen teabaggers were having second thoughts as the public turned angrily on the GOP. Although some of the perennial cowards like Charlie Dent (R-PA)-- famous for having voted against the TARP bailout and then succumbing to pressure from Boehner and Cantor and changing his mind 4 days later and helping pass the disastrous bankster bailout bill-- went first, but by late morning freshman freakshows like Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Rick Crawford (R-AR) were running for the hills. (Two days before the flip-flop, bigshot Crawford had put out a statement calling the Senate compromise "irresponsible.") This all followed Miss McConnell telling the whole lot of them to grow up and stop rocking the boat. It was a full-scale withdrawal by the most incompetent House Speaker in human memory-- tail between his legs and everything. The president was a gentleman about it:

For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans. Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.

Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut-- about $1,000 for the average family. That’s about $40 in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.

This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.

Just before Boehner caved, Democrats were turning up the heat on Republicans from coast to coast. Someone with Carol Shea-Porter's campaign stitched together this Christmas carol for New Hampshire voters:
It was the week before Christmas and all through the House
Guinta wasn’t stirring, nor was anyone else.

The Senate had passed tax cuts with bipartisan care
In hopes that the House soon would be fair

When House Republicans closed down with the gavel, it caused such a clatter
Dems sprang to the floor to say wait-- the middle class does matter!

Away to the podium Dems flew like a flash
As the Republicans sneaked out past the Congressional sash

Wait! The Dems called to the Republican pack
We’re not done yet, please come back!

You took care of the very rich
without a single hitch.

You gave them tax cuts and subsidies and write-offs with glee
“But wait,” says the middle class, “what about me?”

But the Republicans exclaimed as they fled out of sight,
No tax cuts for the Middle Class, it’s not for them we fight!

The conservative NY Daily News has a headline that told the whole story very graphically: Hate-filled GOP suffers self-inflicted wounds; Republicans determined to send Obama back to Chicago
This monumental political fiasco by House Republicans that made for a very merry (political) Christmas for President Obama is fueled by two larger, reinforcing realities.

First, Republicans by and large don’t just dislike Obama-- they positively loathe him. No less a conservative barometer than Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard had it right when he wrote last month, “Republicans are fixated on defeating President Obama. They’re obsessed. They think about little else.”

Their animus extends well beyond garden-variety partisanship. They are so consumed with sending Obama back to Chicago-- fair enough, that’s the essence of the sport-- that they’re determined to give him absolutely nothing.

The Washington Post right-wing propagandist Charles Krauthammer merely called it a GOP debacle. And the statement from Blue America candidate Lee Rogers (D-CA) was fairly typical of the way Democrats running against these deranged Republicans handled it. Within minutes of Boehner hoisting the white flag, Rogers issued a statement skewering his GOP opponent, Buck McKeon.
The House forces another stalemate after the Senate passed a payroll tax cut extension with overwhelming support of 89 to 10. The House GOP leadership refused to even let the Senate bill come to the floor for a vote. Why? Because, it would have actually passed. Yes, Republicans did not want to allow a vote because they were afraid it would pass. One has to question the form of democracy we have when the House Republican leadership can act like dictators to prevent a vote.

So again, Congress thrusts another self-inflicted crisis upon the country. This seems to be the status quo for the 112th Congress after the debt ceiling debacle and several funding bills which have been delayed and caused partial government shutdowns.

Representative Howard "Buck" McKeon released a statement defending the House inaction on the Senate bill and claimed the Senate is punting on their responsibilities. McKeon's statements make it clear that he is out of touch with the average American. He is willing to reverse a working-class tax cut just to prove a political point.

A payroll tax cut may not mean much to the average member of Congress who increased their wealth by 25% in the past 2 years. But it means a lot to working Americans and to the local economies where the money would be spent. We're only talking about an average of $40 per 2-week paycheck. But with over 150,000 families in Congressional District 25, that's about $24 million that would be put into the economies of Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley over the two months of the extension.

Representative McKeon wants a year-long solution, as do the Senate and the President. The reality is that we live in a divided government where compromises must be struck. The two-month compromise is a temporary solution until the details of the year-long extension can be worked out. Compromise means that each side will have to give up something to come together and help the country move forward. McKeon and the rest of the House leadership are not willing to compromise and are acting like bullies on a playground instead.

Despite record low approval ratings, Congress remains so dysfunctional it can't perform even the most basic duties of government. We need a Congress that stops acting childish and starts working for us.

All Democratic candidates should take this battle right to Republicans in their home districts the way Rogers is doing. Of course, even after all this, not every crazy Republican extremist agrees. Here's GOP psychopath Allen West (FL) grousing on his Facebook page:

If just one Republican-- like one who makes believe he's a Tea Party stalwart had taken a stand for his or her "principles"-- the deal would have failed. JUST ONE! But there was not even. How did you like West whining pathetically that "we were not even allowed to ask questions?" What the hell does that mean? Boehner sends Cantor over to waterboard anyone who makes a peep? These guys are so sad but the people who trust in them are so much sadder.

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