Thursday, December 22, 2011

House GOP Admits 2012 Candidates Are Pathetic - Hands Election Over.

 "This will only hurt for four years."

Let me start by saying this: I truly wish that I could rail on the Democrats more than I do.  It's just that the things that Republicans say and do always dwarf the actions of their political counterpart.  Example: Why write about John Kerry being a boring liar when I could write about Dick Cheney shooting some guy in the face? What would you rather read about?

I am not part of either party.  I consider myself to be an intelligent, open-minded person (and that alone excludes me from politics as a whole), that agrees with both sides on certain issues and neither side on others.  That being said, I have spent the last several days laughing my ass off at the mess that the House Republicans have put their entire party into.

Allow me to explain.  The Senate passed a brief extension to the payroll tax cut that would give the Federal government more time to work out a solid plan (i.e. give them a carefree end-of-the-year break).  The extension affects three things: unemployment, Medicare, and an increase on worker's taxes by about 2%. 

This was not good enough for the Republicans.  They wanted a one year plan instead of a two month extension (which I rather agree with), as well as an approval to the Keystone XL pipeline (which I am completely against).  Take note here that the pipeline has absolutely nothing to do with the payroll tax cut- it's just politics at its worst.  For anyone wondering just what the pipeline is, NPR explains:

"...environmentalists are very, very opposed to this pipeline because it doesn't just bring conventional oil into the United States. It will open up a market for pretty much the dirtiest kind of fossil fuel that there is in the world.  It's - the Canadian tar sands oil - you know, regular oil that we produce now contributes to global warming, but the oil that's in the Canadian tar sands is kind of special. It's in this dense, gooey mix with sand, and the only way to get it out is by using so much energy, that you create about 30 to 70 percent more global warming emissions to get it out."

In other words, it would take more energy to get the oil out than the oil would actually give back, possibly accelerating the damage we are doing to our already fragile climate.  Oil companies are pushing hard for the approval of the pipeline, and they are using the Republicans to do it.

So what happened?  Well, after the Senate approved the plan by a startling 89-10 vote, the House shot it down.  The vote was almost - if not completely - on party lines, with all Democrats voting for it and all Republicans voting against it.  Because of this, 160 million workers will see an increase on their taxes, more than two million people will lose unemployment benefits, and millions more of our elderly will find it incredibly difficult to get help from their doctors by January 1st of 2012.

The House Republicans were expecting all of the senators to reconvene (despite having left Washington for the recess) and give them what they wanted -  a one year deal and the pipeline.  But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid absolutely refused to do that.  Now John Boehner of the House is begging the president to force the Senate back to Washington (which is, of course, something that President Obama is completely powerless to do).  As my fellow blogger Jobsanger puts it, "This leaves the Republicans between a rock and a hard place. They must either take another vote and approve the two-month extension, or they must take the blame for what will happen on January 1st when they don't."    

Gotta love the priorities of the Legislative Branch.
(Image found at the fantastic blog, Carlsontoons)

Some people might wonder why the Senate doesn't just come back and give the Republicans what they want, saving millions of people from losing money or health services.  The answer is quite simple: this isn't their problem.  They passed a piece of legislation that was reasonable, and the House Republicans decided to hold it hostage like they did with countless other bills in the last year.  Imagine that you are a fragile bill, awaiting one more stamp of approval before you get passed.  But the person with that final stamp pulls you into his arms, holds a gun to your head, and demands that you have a very unpopular pipeline added to your legislation.  You look to your friend - the Senate - for help, and he just shakes his head.  "Shoot the fucker, I don't care," he says, "You're the one with the gun, not me.  I did my part, and only one of us will be walking out of here with blood on our hands."

At its heart, that's the issue: there was nothing wrong with what the Senate gave the House except that it was a temporary band-aid.  That's what everyone sees.  A total lack of communication between the people and their representatives in Washington.  They pass shit we don't like, and shit on legislation that we want passed. 

The House gambled and lost, shooting itself in the foot (finally!) and showing American's its true colors - pipeline gray and oil-slick black.  

ADDITION: Senator Mitch McConnell (the old guy that has a turtle mouth) totally kicked Boehner in the taint and then ran for Kentucky with this mess.  McConnell helped orchestrate the deal and pass the legislation in the Senate, much to Boehner's dismay.  Considering the fact that the two have been working together for the last year to upend Obama's candidacy (McConnell saying once that he would ensure Obama would be a one-term president), it's extremely funny to see such a divide come out of nowhere.  McConnell is not saying anything to anyone, and it's pissing off everyone in the Senate and the House.  For more on that, check out the article over at Politico

  "Realizing how pathetic their 2012 presidential candidates were,
the House GOP decided to throw the election a year early, closing 
the last session of 2011 with the words 'Fuck It.'" 

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