Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fighting for common ground?

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Olympia Snowe Pt. 1
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I don't know about this. As Jon Stewart points out, Olympia Snowe didn't write this book until she'd retired from Congress. Furthermore, she remains a Republican. So how much of this is just an attempt to excuse herself from what has happened to our country?

Remember, in 2009, when Mitch McConnell told Congressional Republicans that they would stonewall Barack Obama, that they would give him no legislative successes, that they would make sure he was a one-term president by refusing to go along with anything, our economy was in free fall.

These Republicans had crashed our economy - the world economy, in fact - and the collapse looked to have no bottom. Businessmen were beginning to panic. Investors were panicking. It was already the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, with the potential to keep collapsing even further.

So what was these GOP leaders' number one concern? To make sure they did nothing to help matters. Indeed, to make sure they did everything they could to thwart Obama's attempts to halt the collapse and start the economy growing again. To give him no successes at all, no matter what.

At a time of huge peril for America and their fellow Americans, it was all about politics with them. They were terrified that Barack Obama would be another Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat who came into office and fixed the disasters left by his Republican predecessor, dooming their party for the next generation.

Did Olympia Snowe quit the Republican Party then? Did she speak out publicly against Mitch McConnell? Did she stand up for America, or just go along with this unpatriotic plan?

Snowe says "the wheels came off so soon in the (Obama) Administration and with Congress." Note the passive voice? What she should have said is that the Republican Party deliberately removed those wheels, for their own political gain, at a time of great peril for our country (the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, two ongoing wars, plus the 'war on  terror,' and record-breaking budget deficits).

Instead, she calls that "surprising," when, as Stewart points out, she shouldn't have been surprised by that at all. Heck, they had a meeting where they decided to deliberately remove those 'wheels.' So how could she claim to have been surprised by the fact that the wheels actually came off?

That's why I can't respect Olympia Snowe. Yeah, she writes a self-serving book after leaving Congress. Big deal! Everyone does that. But she didn't stand up for America when it counted. And she still hasn't left the GOP or put the blame where it clearly belongs.

There's another thing here. She claims that we're the problem, that we haven't been vocal enough in communicating our wishes to our Congressmen. Maybe. But it seems to me that we were vocal as hell when it came to universal background checks for gun purchases. And we had 90% of Americans on our side, too. (90% when asked about the specific issue; less than that - those still a large majority - if it was linked to Obama's name, thanks to partisan politics.)

But one lobbyist for gun manufacturers managed to derail all that! That's not our fault, but the fault of the system.

OK, it is our fault, in a way, because we made the mistake, years ago, of electing Republican presidents who appointed right-wing extremists to the Supreme Court. And those extremists made a horrendously bad decision in Citizens United.

One more moderate Democrat on the court would have given us the opposite decision. One more moderate Democrat on the court in 2000 would have let Florida recount the votes in the presidential election, rather than appointing George W. Bush, the worst president in U.S. history. One more moderate Democrat on the court would have made the difference in many important cases.

And yes, we elected those Republicans who let the NRA dictate policy. This is our fault, in a collective sense. But given the situation we've got now, the immense stranglehold money has on our political system, it's naive, if not disingenuous, to blame the rest of us for not speaking up enough.

It's true, of course, that we need to speak up. Indeed, that's pretty much the only avenue for change we've got. And we need to VOTE.  Democratic constituencies - progressives, young people, minorities - are notorious for being unreliable voters, especially in non-presidential elections. That's why we fill Congress with Republicans.

So yes, it is our fault, technically-speaking. But this is still a snow job from Snowe. She's trying to excuse her own party - and her own inaction - by shifting the blame to us. It would be bad enough if she apologized, now that her apology won't hurt her politically, but she won't even go that far.

I have no respect for this kind of thing.

PS. The second part of her interview is here.


jeff725 said...

C-Y-A seems to spell out Snowe's obvious motive here.

I'm presuming you're still digesting the IRS "scandal" that everyone's foaming at the mouth at. I've already had a couple of lightsaber exchanges with Jody P in the LJS.

People conveniently forget the IRS pulled the same stunt on several liberal groups (NAACP and Greenpeace for example) during GW Bush's reign of (t)error.

I don't necessarily say this to play the "they did it too" card, but to point out how the right-wing is using this to engage in their favorite pastime: cynically playing the role of "oppressed" victim.

All thanks goes to SCOTUS's Citizens United ruling for this mess.

WCG said...

Jeff, Fox 'News' and other Republican outlets have been crying "Wolf!" on so-called Obama administration 'scandals' constantly for more than four years now, so it's just hard for me to take another one very seriously.

And I must admit that, faced with a huge influx of tax-exempt applications after the Supreme Court's idiotic Citizens United decision (5 to 4, with the Republicans in the majority), and working with budget cuts which gave them fewer people to investigate, it hardly seems odd that the IRS would look most closely at rabidly anti-tax political groups, does it?

Republicans starve the IRS and then wonder why they struggle... Well, as far as I can see so far, this is just another tempest in a teapot. After all, they didn't deny any of these Tea Party groups, though they might have inconvenienced them by asking for more paperwork.

IMHO, the biggest scandal is that there's not enough scrutiny of 501-c4 groups. True, they shouldn't be favoring liberal groups, if that's actually what they did. (I'm hearing different claims about that.) But so far, this seems to be about the most pathetic excuse for a 'scandal' ever.