The Disloyal Opposition
The Disloyal Opposition puts party above country
- Mitch McConnell, head of the Senate Republicans, said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
- The most important thing for McConnell was not for the country to succeed, but for Obama to fail.
- John Boehner, head of the House Republicans, refuses to bring to vote those items he disagrees with – those that would pass with a mix of bipartisan support. Effectively using House rules to thwart the desire of the representative majority
- Because it was good for the Republican party
- The 47 Senate Republicans who signed a letter to Iran urging Iran not to negotiate with Obama. A clear violation of long tradition in foreign affairs of not undermining ongoing executive negotiations.
- Rand Paul said he was sending a message to Obama via the Iran letter. If he wanted Obama to know his opinion, a letter to Obama would have been better.
- The Republican House closed down the government, thinking it would benefit their candidates. When they discovered the benefit was short-lived, they abandoned that effort.
- The political calculation (i.e. good for their party over good for the nation) again drove their decision-making.
- The Republicans complain about the Fed’s huge role in righting the economy, conveniently ignoring if the House had taken fiscal action, the Fed’s monetary actions would not be crucial.
- Here the Republicans are arguing against an agency which had to act to counter a condition they allowed to fester.
In a democracy, if you lose the vote, you should respect the result. A difference of opinion on this issue seems to be the crux of the US government’s paralysis. The Republicans work to inhibit every action of the Democratic majority. Although the Democrats were not innocent when they were in the minority, they did not put party ahead of country.
Does the minority sabotage the majority’s initiative that has won the day?
- Do the minority only considering the good for their party and the harm to the majority as germane?
- Do they ignore the harm to the Republic?
Example sequester of funds:
- Rather than graciously conceding the majority has won a victory and trying to minimize the difficulty that causes to the minority’s desires, the political animal often makes the problem as severe as it can be. For instance, the Republicans only accepted forced cuts to the most essential elements rather than to the least essential. This increases political pain for the ruling majority by exacerbating the pain to the citizenry.
- This kind of tit-for-tat can go on for many iterations.
Example Budget Debt Ceiling brinksmanship:
- Republicans will shut down the government and many services to resist increasing the United States debt ceiling despite approving the individual funding legislation which would cause it to be overshot.
- This is danger to republic’s credit rating, impacting those holding credit and future borrowers.
- Every effort is continuing to be made by the Republicans to undercut it, to underfund it. What got passed was already weakened by—and so on.
- This hurts citizens who are not covered by employer plans.
Image of Mitch McConnell 2016 Official Photo. Public domain