As indicated in my introductory statement, the Partisan Plate is a place that I hope will entertain you, invoke your curiosity, and satiate your appetite for all things culinary and political. Given my penchant for literary self-indulgence however, I expect there will be times (like today) when I stray beyond the sphere of the practical discourse and into that precarious realm of opinion.
Today the House GOP Leadership proved once again that it lacks one of the most basic elements of any publicly elected body- the ability to govern effectively. I do not mean to say that the Democratic Party is without faults (if I ever do say such a thing I implore you to stop reading this immediately as I will have proven myself intellectually inept). The difference between the Democrats and the GOP is that the GOP has what could to some be called malicious intent as far as the United States Government is concerned. It’s not that they wish any harm on the American people or that they hope any radical changes will befall the Republic (indeed they cling to the US Constitution as though it handed down on Mt. Sinai). Rather, the very heart of conservatism is the belief that government is an invasive weed that, unless regularly pruned by the People, will suffocate the freedom that they believe to be the only essential lifeblood of our country.
Today’s government therefore, riddled as it is with such cancerous roots as social safety nets, equal rights protections, and food and environmental safety provisions, must be hacked at – and hacked at – until we can all rest easy that money, and the pursuit therein, will dictate the course of our nation’s future.
That is… if you’re a Republican.
Democrats have overseen the greatest leaps in national evolution that this country has ever taken. A progressive income tax, the establishment of National Parks system, the end of Social Darwinism, a lasting peace with Europe, Social Security, the end of segregation, fair pay for women, Medicare, putting a man on the Moon, the regulation of unchecked financial leveraging by Wall St., and the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – just to name a few. Had the Republican Party been in charge, the Social Security Administration would never have been dreamt of, much less established. If Social Security had never existed and were pitched on the floor of the House of Representatives today, Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave. The very idea that the government should mandate its citizens to give over part of their paycheck for insurance against a national or individual economic crisis would be as egregious to the GOP as striking the first amendment.
Today, their great battle is being waged against raising the debt ceiling. Never mind that George W. Bush pushed this country into a massive military engagement halfway around the world that has cost the federal government nearly 30 billion dollars a month. Never mind that he cut taxes on the wealthiest of Americans and widened the income gap to an extent that has not been seen since the Gilded Age. Never mind that in one year controlling the government the Republicans squandered a budget surplus that took eight years to build.
Never mind that under their watch, this nation slipped into the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Apparently the GOP doesn’t mind leaving the United States in pieces as long as they can rely on the short memory of the American people to forget who got them their in the first place and use whatever is politically expedient to continue to get themselves elected and keep the coffers of their Wall St. friends fat to the point of bursting.
It is this hypocrisy that brings me full circle to my reason for writing this post. For all their whining and crying about the ‘bloated’ and ‘wasteful’ spending of this Democratic Administration, it is the House GOP Leadership who decided today, in all their wisdom, to call members back to Washington, DC this coming Monday (7/18) instead of the previously announced Tuesday (7/19). The end result of this last minute, unnecessary change, is that members and their staff will be scrambling to book flights 72 hours in advance. For those of you keeping score, that equates to roughly a 50% uptick in the cost of airline travel, which is paid for at your taxpayer expense. Not to mention the general cost of maintaining operations in the Capitol and the House office buildings. What are we voting on next Monday? Good question. So far the answer is…. Umm…. Post office re-namings. Downright hypocrisy or simple ineffectual governance? You decide.