Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently claimed that GOP efforts to get what they want in the debt ceiling debate is akin to dictatorship in recent comments reported by Politico. I understand that tensions are high right now. The debt ceiling issue is dominating the political landscape right now and a lot of folks just want it over. I have little doubt that Wasserman Schultz is one of them. Unfortunately for her, she really needs to understand the difference between GOP efforts and dictatorship.
Her quote from Politico:
“This is not leadership. This is almost like dictatorship. I know they want to force the outcome that … their extremists would like to impose. But they are getting ready to spark panic and chaos, and they seem to be OK with that. And it’s just really disappointing, and potentially devastating.”
Please note the scare words, namely “dictatorship” and “extremists”. This is a usual tactic designed to paint your opponent as unreasonable, regardless of anything approaching a fact. Now, I’m not saying the GOP hasn’t be intransigent, because to an extent they have been. But dictatorship?
Here’s the definition of dictatorship, courtesy of dictionary.com.
In 2009, Democrats quietly issued the death certificate for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program by slashing its budget on the way to phasing it out altogether. It is unheard of for Democrats to be so enthusiastic about cutting funding for anything other than the military, so this must have been a drastic case indeed to convince them that the program needed to go. So what was it that led to the decision to end the program? Was it because it was too expensive? Not by a long shot, and besides, when was the last time you’ve heard a Democrat argue for ending a program just because it costs too much? Was it because of underperformance? No, it actually performed quite well. If you guessed it was because Obama and the Democrats fell prostrate to their masters in the teachers unions, now you are making some progress.
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was founded in 2004 and became wildly successful. The program provided $7500 scholarships to students so that they could attend private schools. For students of the D.C. Public School system, which is at the very top of the national list of worst-performing public schools, and in one of the most violent districts in the nation, this was a lifeline out of poverty, and a path to a brighter future. The scholarships allowed students, nearly all from low-income families, and the vast majority of them being minority children, to escape the prison system for children known as the D.C. Public Schools. The fact that minority children could take these scholarships and go to private schools was quite a bargain, considering that the public school system in D.C. was spending $18,000 per child per year, and still managing to turn out some the worst academically achieving children in the country. To give you an idea of how bad it was in the DCPSS, only 14% of 8th-graders attain proficiency at reading on their grade level.
Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate, was exposed this week for engaging in a coordinated effort to paint Republicans, and especially those with ties to the TEA Party movement, as “extremists”. Speaking to fellow Senate Democrats (and not realizing that the media had already been connected in on the conference call), Schumer explained that he “always use[s] the word extreme”, because “that is what the caucus instructed me to use this week”. This intentional attempt at character assassination comes because House Speaker Boehner is getting pressure from freshmen Republicans and the conservative base to do something more than offer lip service to fiscal responsibility.
Indeed, the problem is not that Republicans are too extreme. The problem is that they are not extreme enough; the $61 billion in budget cuts, from a $3.78 trillion dollar budget which increases the deficit by about a trillion and a half dollars, is little more than a rounding error. Much deeper cuts to spending are necessary if we are to get our fiscal house in order, and Republicans had better show some spine and get serious if they expect to keep the support of conservatives and the majority of independents come November 2012.
To be sure though, any Republican with an ounce of intelligence and awareness knew these attacks would come. After all, this is an administration who refuses to acknowledge the radical Islamic roots of the terrorist attacks on American soil over the last few years, yet whose Department of Homeland Security two years ago published a report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. Obama himself has repeatedly refers to his political opposition as being extreme and dangerous.
“Last night was devastating, no question.” - MoveOn.org
The dust is still settling on last night’s returns. We’re going to hear a lot of analysis over the mid-terms and what it means for both the new majority for House Republicans, Democrats that survived in both chambers and President Barack Obama.
As it currently stands, Republicans gained over 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. They also picked up at least nine governerships and 19 state legislatures. The states where the GOP made significant gains make up a chunk of the electoral college.
Keith Olbermann and others can deny it all they want, it was a historic night. Newt Gingrich, who was behind the Republican Revolution in 1994, is calling last night “a more decisive repudiation” than what President Bill Clinton faced. The Republican Party will enter the 112th Congress with their largest majority since 1928, during the Hoover Administration, and the largest pick-up for either party since 1948.
After the much ballyhooed tour of the country by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, he came up with a brilliant plan called America Speaking Out. His great plan is pander to the American people as to what a Republican Congress should do the next term. There is nothing more depressing than to see a Congressman stand before you and with a white board and ask you what you want Congress to accomplish next year.
Has Boehner, Cantor and the entire Republican leadership been so devoid of ideas that their best idea to win control of Congress is to pander?
It has been over a year since the American people started to rise up in anger over the out of control spending, the forced socialization of our healthcare, and the never ending stream of bailouts. It was a rather simple message that the American people were trying to convey. It wasn’t all too complicated. In fact a simple kindergartener could understand it, but not the House Republican leadership.
Is it so hard for them to stand before the American people and say “We as Republicans pledge to you to not raise your taxes, hold the line on spending, and repeal ObamaCare.”
If they can’t do this one simple thing it is difficult to imagine them convincing anyone in the Tea Party movement and the larger Conservative movement as a whole that they deserve another chance at controlling Congress.
In case you are interested in the decisions being made on Capitol Hill and not too caught up in the Michael Jackson circus, I’d like to provide a summary of a very interesting day in the House. As you may have heard, the House passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This is also referred to as “ACES”, “Waxman-Markey”, or the cap and trade (cap and tax) legislation.
The short summary of the bill says that it will “create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition [the US] to a clean energy economy.” The official long summary is quite long. The GOP will tell you that it will destroy our economy.
Washington is determined not to kick its spending habit. During his press conference yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that “[w]e can’t cut our way to prosperity,” a line that has been used frequently by President Barack Obama. The comment prompted this tweet from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
I agree with @speakerboehner: We can’t cut our way to prosperity.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) May 9, 2013
After four years of $1+ trillion budget deficits, Washington needs to begin taking steps to dam the river of red ink. And if there is question as to the severity of the fiscal mess President Obama and Congress has left us, here’s some perspective from Bankrupting America:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) didn’t mince any words for the White House during a press conference yesterday — he wants the White House to cooperate with investigators by turning over e-mails relating to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
House Speaker John Boehner is demanding that the White House release a series of unclassified emails related to the Sept. 11 fatal terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Boehner is seeking emails Republican lawmakers say were sent the day after the attack from a senior state department official to her superiors in which she reported that she told the Libyan ambassador that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attack.
“The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed,” Boehner said. “I would call on the President to order the State Department to release this email so the American people can see it.”
The letters Boehner is seeking would show the State Department was aware it was a terrorist attack well before Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on a round of Sunday talk shows to push the YouTube video as the cause.
His demand comes a day after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on startling revelations brought forward by State Department whistleblowers that shined light on the events that led up to, during, and after the attack.
Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders in the House are apparently worried about Rep.-elect Mark Sanford (R-SC):
Boehner on Tuesday morning suggested that he was less than thrilled about Sanford’s potential return to the House. And while the Speaker tweeted out a quick “congrats” to Sanford with the hash-tag jobs, a comment from his spokesman following the results was less than a bear-hug.
“He could be an added voice to the opposition — to those who like to make trouble for the Republican leadership,” GOP strategist Ron Bonjean, a former top House leadership aide, told The Hill. “It’ll definitely be a leadership management issue.”
Sanford made it clear in Tuesday night’s victory speech that he wasn’t returning to Washington to make friends — the same approach he took when he was a thorn in the side of GOP leadership during his first stint in Congress in the 1990s, and when he fought tooth-and-nail with the Republican-controlled statehouse during his governorship.
The newly elected congressman said voters had sent a “message to Washington, D.C., and a messenger to Washington, D.C., on the importance on changing things in that fair city.”
Let’s recap for a moment. In 2010, Congress passed ObamaCare, a law that imposes a litany of mandates, including a requirement on every American to purchase health insurance coverage, and some 20,000 pages of regulations. Despite promises to the contrary, Americans are now seeing their premiums go up and many are facing either changes to their coverage or losing it entirely; as was predicted by opponents of ObamaCare before it was ever passed.
But now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) working on a deal that would exempt themselves, other members of Congress and their staffers from the law:
Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.
The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.
A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”