It’s Time to Break It Down!
Yesterday, as dictated by the U.S. Constitution, Congress convened at noon. On the Senate floor, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky automatically ascended to Majority Leaded, based on a vote by rank-and-file members late last year. On the other side of the Capitol, there was slightly more suspense as a group of hard core Right Wing members acted on their vow to oppose Representative John Boehner from Ohio.
I’ll spare you the gritty details. Twenty-four members voted for a candidate other than Mr. Boehner. The Speaker won on the first ballot, collecting 216 votes. And they are off.
Over the past 6 years, the GOP has made pretty much every effort to circle the wagons and oppose President Obama at every front. Now that, for the first time during Mr. Obama’s tenure, he will face opposition from a majority of Republicans in both Houses of Congress, there are reasons to believe that the GOP will intensify their efforts. A significant basis for such reasoning stems from the prognoses offered by prominent members of the Republican Party. Senator McConnell has promised to forge ahead with legislation to force approval of the TransCanada Corps Keystone XL pipeline. Many Democrats, including the President see this project as a threat to the environment. Supporters, mostly Republicans argue the project will create jobs and increase North American energy security.
Another item Republicans vow to challenge is funding for Homeland Security. Republicans have threatened to compartmentalize and parcel out funding for the agency in an effort to limit resources aimed at facilitating the President’s Executive Order on immigration, as well as the President’s actions to normalize relations with Cuba. One-way of looking at the matter is, New Year, same goal…stop Obama. However, now, the loyal opposition, which is probably a misnomer, is buttressed by having secured a majority in both Houses of Congress.
There is general agreement that the President’s initiatives and policies are frequently a target of fierce opposition by Republicans. However, the basis for the opposition is widely debated. As a rule, Republicans insist they simply disagree with the President’s policies. They add his initiatives are too liberal, cost too much money, are too restrictive of the private sector, limit job creation, and slow the economy. In fact, this narrative was at the top of the news cycle as Democrats got their proverbial clocks cleaned during the midyear elections in 2014.This often specious line of reasoning persists, despite the facts on the ground.
Which facts are those, you may ask? I’m glad you asked!
The pertinent facts relative to this specific discussion are:
January 2009………………………………………November 2014
(When President Obama Took Office)
7,949…………………The Dow Jones Index……………..17,390
9.8%…………………..Deficit GDP %………………………. 2.8%
Also under President Obama’s leadership, the economy has added private sector jobs for 57 straight months. During this span, 10.9 million private sector jobs have been created. – See more at: http://www.dpcc.senate.gov/?p=blog&id=172#sthash.U6oVuYLM.dpuf
Many of the President’s supporters have the temerity to assert that at least some of the visceral anger surrounding the debate on President Obama and is policies has a racial component. Actually, that is the claim to which many of the President’s critics default. In point of counterfactual order, I am compelled to note that one of the most ardent members of the President’s opposition, Rush Limbaugh, makes the claim that Mr. Obama has gotten a break…because he is black. He contended just this week, “It’s Much Easier To Throw In With The First African American President Than To Oppose Him,” or else you “Might Face Allegations Of Racism.”
In other words, the people who experience racism, and deign to speak about it, are the racists. What a stroke of journalistic brilliance that is! But it’s not just conservative journalists…and radio entertainers, who have interesting views and associations relative to this matter.
Recently, there was a flap about a speaking engagement Representative Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, who when he was a State Representative spoke to a racist organization founded by David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard. The group, called EURO, is short for European-American Unity and Rights Organization. When the speech came to light last week, Representative Scalise denied he knew the group’s leanings, or the meaning of the event.
This was his story, despite the fact that at the time, Mr. Duke was one of the most prominent residents of his state, and his association with the Klan, well known, if not legendary. All of this has substantial significance because, among other things, he is the new House Majority Whip. The apparent affinity of the GOP with the ideals of racializing politics has been an active reality since Mr. Nixon rolled out the “Southern strategy” in 1968. The concept was designed to leverage the racial resentment of whites over federally mandated integration into an electoral majority. The rest, as they say is history.
Even some conservatives question the viability of Mr. Scalise’s see no evil protestation. Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative blogger tweeted: How Do You Show Up at a David Duke Event and Not Know What It Is?”
Speaker Boehner was placed in the unenviable position of defending his new Whip. He characterized Mr. Scalise’s speaking to white supremacists as “an error in judgment,” and he noted Scalise was “right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate.” Despite his faux pas, Speaker Boehner called Scalise “a man of high integrity and good character.” Other friends and supporters chimed in with evidence of how demonstrably non-racist the gentleman from Louisiana truly is. After all, he was an early supporter of Governor Bobby Jindal, the Republican Governor of Louisiana, and an Indian American. Check. He coached in a predominantly black New Orleans basketball league. Check. He voted against the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. OK, nobody is perfect.
American demographics are changing. If the GOP is to thrive and survive, it will need to be agile, innovative, and flexible. It will ultimately need to devise effective strategies to appeal to a diverse array of citizens. However, all things considered, one way not to attract African American and Latino voters — in fact, one way to repel them, along with the votes of some whites as well — is to continue to act in ways that demonstrate the party is still happy to welcome the support of unrepentant racists and anti-Semites.
It is altogether conceivable that the Republican Party will say clearly that anyone associated with David Duke, his organizations, or any racist association should find somebody else for whom to vote…someday. But apparently, if the Scalise saga is any indication, that day has yet to come. So, “The GOP Has Taken Over Congress: Are You Ready for This?”
I’m done; holla back!
Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.
To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.
Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post: