|Cartoon by Jeffrey Koterba|
|Cartoon by Paul Fell|
A great example of this in action was the huge deal that was made over the debt ceiling. In case you aren’t very familiar with that this actually is, the debt ceiling is the limit on how much the federal government can borrow. The government borrows money by issuing marketable securities such as bonds. Now, Congress had already approved a budget. This means that they approved how much would be spent. Then, when it came time to give the government the tools to spend the money that they approved, they made a huge deal out of it. It had to be raised. They already approved the money being spent, and where it would be spent. They knew perfectly well that they had to approve an increase in the debt ceiling. It was just another attempt to convince people that it is a horrible thing. Not including this year, the debt ceiling has been raised 102 times since 1917. It was raised 8 times during Bush’s office. Even John McCain, Obama’s 2008 Presidential opposition, called the ideas that were stalling the approval “foolish.” But, as they said, they had to oppose everything.
Another example would be the fervent opposition to the health care bill that was almost identical to the health care bill that Republicans proposed in the 90’s. See my post The Pot and the Kettle for a full discussion of that hypocrisy.
|Cartoon by Clay Bennett|
What makes me laugh is that Boehner recently showed Republican hypocrisy again when he asked, “Do we have to fight about everything?” He continued with, "How in the world did we ever get here?…Think about this: a fight being picked over an issue that everyone knew was going to be resolved; a fight being picked over an issue that there is no fight over.”
Considering that this is exactly what the Republican strategy has been for the last four years the answer would have to be: we got here because Republicans were so upset that they lost the election that they decided to completely stop trying to work together for the common good. They are only interested in gaining back that power.
This lack of any attempt to work together is one factor that led to Norm Ornstein, noted political scientist and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, to call this the “worst Congress ever.” The evidence is plainly in front of the American people, not only in their words, but also in their actions. I’m sure when that group meets again they will share a laugh at all of the silly conservatives who bought into their feigned outrage and opposition. At least they will be right to laugh. If this election goes poorly, the rest of us won’t be laughing.