Today’s Republicans are complaining loudly about two things. They say the level of political obstruction and vitriol are unprecedented in our history. Never before, they say, has a party made such an effort to discredit and defeat another party’s people and goals. For them to make such a statement, one must either have been struck with amnesia or taken a blow to the head that caused them to lose the senses of sight and sound.
Let’s take a breath and examine the claim of Democrat obstructionism. The GOP says their failure to pass several prize initiatives and get approval for some Trump appointees is due to the obstructionism of Democrats. To be sure, Democrats have done their best to stop some of the Trump agenda. It is also true that partisanship is more intense today than it has been in a very long time. It is hypocrisy, though, to insist that only Democrats are guilty of that transgression.
Political biases often cause historical amnesia, and that’s the case with Republicans today. They see their party as correct and honorable in all things while viewing and portraying the opposition as vile, ignorant thugs. They seem to forget that the very things they so admire in their party are the same things that were repugnant, unethical and unpatriotic in Democrats just a few years ago. In today’s political environment, Republicans have forgotten that their party defined obstructionism during President Obama’s terms in office. They don’t seem to remember Senator Mitch McConnell’s vow to obstruct any and all things Obama when he said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” That, my friends, is the definition of obstructionism.
The view by many Republicans today that Democrats are obstructionists is an example of how disdain and even hatred of the competing party cause forgetfulness and turns past perceptions of repulsive behavior into admirable examples of integrity and love of country. You can’t have it both ways.
Republicans tend to forget or ignore the fact that their greatest defeats during the Trump era have come at the hands of members of their own party, not the Democrats. For example, while Obama was in office, there were at least 70 Republican-led attempts to repeal, modify or otherwise curb the Affordable Care Act. In each case, the GOP lawmakers voted as an obstructionist block, safe in the knowledge that even if their measures passed both houses, Obama would veto the bill and they would not have to propose a plan to replace Obamacare. They knew that their opposition to Obama would cause no political damage to their base of support. That all changed when they gained control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency. As dominant as they were, though, their attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare continually failed because they could not get agreement in their own party. Democrats were inconsequential because Republicans had such an overwhelming majority they didn’t need them. Infighting caused failure, not Democrats.
In the current Congress, Republicans hold 248 seats out of 435 in the House of Representatives and 54 of 100 in the Senate. It is the largest GOP majority since the Republican congress of 1929–1931. They should be able to pass virtually any measure that tickles their fancy. They have suffered several defeats, and wins are often decided by the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote. The reason is simple; many Republicans refuse to support their party’s agenda.
Please note, I am not saying Democrats hot ave not attempted to obstruct. I am saying that it is the height of hypocrisy to suggest that ONLY Democrats do it. Or that anything Republicans have done pales in comparison to the epic proportions of Democrat obstructionism. Remember, please, how the Republican party opposed almost every measure proposed by President Obama and earned the title, “The Party of No.” Joshua Holland wrote the following in the Rolling Stone.
“In the 230-year period between the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and Barack Obama’s election, opposition parties blocked a grand total of 68 presidential nominees. In the three years and 10 months between Obama’s inauguration and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move to eliminate the filibuster for lower court nominees, Republicans had blocked 79 of them – that’s 54 percent of the historic total in just under four years.”
If you want to be honest with yourselves and your friends, then you’ll read the stories behind the two links provided below. They just might restore memories that were closeted and forgotten in the euphoria of their victories at the polls.
Now, the issue of vitriol. Is President Trump the victim of an ongoing barrage of criticism? He sure is, and no one I know would question that assertion. But – is it unique to this President? Hardly. Again, Republican amnesia has set in. They seem to forget the five straight years of Obama bashing with regard to his place of birth which was led, incidentally, by Donald Trump. Five years of lies and character assassination until even Trump had to admit he was wrong.
The so-called “birther” lie was only part of the onslaught. Obama was also accused of:
- Being a “secret Muslim”
- Being complicit with the Muslim Brotherhood
- Wearing a ring bearing a secret verse from the Quran
- Having once been a Black Panther
- Refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance
- Seeking to confiscate all guns
- Lying about just about everything he has ever said
- Faking Osama bin Laden’s death, and
- Funding his campaigns with drug money.
And that’s only a very tiny fraction of the venomous and racist lies told about Obama and then repeated over and over for eight years. So, Republicans, don’t try to tell me that what Trump is experiencing is the worst ever. That’s malarkey. Multiply it by eight, and you might come close.
Just wanted to set the record straight.
From where I sit, that’s the truth.