Rik Schneider Online

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

U.S. News: Opinion: Peter Fenn: The Rapid Radicalization of the Republican Party

U.S. News: Opinion: Peter Fenn: The Rapid Radicalization of the Republican Party 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If it wasn’t for the fact that John Boehner had a choice in whether or not to run for House Minority Leader back in late 2006 after Congressional Democrats won back the House and Senate and then later run for Speaker of the House in 2010 after House Republicans won back the House, I would probably feel sorry for the man. Because he’s the head, but not leading a caucus of Republicans that doesn’t believe in governing. They believe in their principles and their tactics and their ideas and anything less than that is worse than actually governing and moving the ball forward on whatever the issue is at the time.

The House Republican Conference, which is what House Republicans call their team in the House, Democrats call their team the Democratic Caucus, but the HRC especially its Tea Party and Republican Study Committee are the main reasons why Congress doesn’t work. Not the only reasons, plenty of issues over in the Senate especially in previous Congress’s, where Senate Democrats would bring their own bills to the floor that generally wouldn’t even go though committee and Leader Harry Reid would bring them to the floor and not allow amendments. At least not any Republican amendments because Leader Reid didn’t want his members vote on things that could hurt them in their reelection campaigns. And as a result Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would simply block from consideration anything that Senate Democrats would try to pass themselves.

But House Republicans would say they passed all of these bills over in the House and say they did their jobs. Not mentioning that most of the legislation they passed was passed with mostly Republican votes without any Democratic input and would even lose several of their own members on their bills. And a lot of the stuff they would pass like having to do with the Affordable Care Act and cutting benefits there to pass other things wouldn’t even get a vote in the Senate because Senate Democrats would view it as unacceptable. And all these crisis’ would develop because House Republicans would pass their own bills and think everything they did was all the work they needed to do. And when the crisis is broken in the Senate thanks to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell with a compromise from both sides, they would pass it and send it back to the House and House Republicans would say, “hell no!” Because it isn’t their bill.

The 2011 debt ceiling crisis where House Republicans attached an ObamaCare rider to the debt ceiling increase is a perfect example of that. The so-called fiscal cliff in 2012-13 where House Republicans wouldn’t accept any tax cut extension that had any increases on the top tax rate, even if the bill extends tax cuts for everyone else in the country. They would’ve rather have seen tax cuts expire on everyone, than to see tax rates on the top go up. Then go up to the government shut down in the fall of 2013 where the government is shut down for a month. Because House Republicans wouldn’t pass a budget and the appropriations unless the Affordable Care Act was repealed. And the last almost government shutdown involving Homeland Security, where House Republicans attached an immigration rider involving President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

The Tea Party Caucus or the Republican Study Committee there, looks like to me anyway the audience of right-wing if not Far-Right talk radio in America and the publications and blogs that they follow. These people don’t believe in governing or government. At least not divided government, which means if they don’t get their way all the way all the time, nobody gets anything. And as a result some crisis gets created because this group in the House won’t compromise. Which is how divided government works. You can say this all started the day that Barack Obama became President of the United States, a man this group and their followers I’m sure hates for obvious reasons, which I won’t get into. But they gave President George W. Bush headaches over things like immigration and education reform as well.

One might say that these Republicans would be better and more responsible if they had a united government. Republican President, with a Republican Congress both House and Senate. But as the early days of this new Republican Congress has started, controlling both the House and Senate instead of just the House hasn’t improved their ability to even pass basic bills that government has to have in order to function. Like Homeland Security and later we’ll see if House and Senate Republicans can come together and pass a federal budget on their own. Because House and Senate Democrats won’t work with them on that, if the Republican Leadership doesn’t work with them. Meaning both sides work together and pass a united budget, instead of one side agreeing to pass the other’s budget. Give Republicans the whole government and they’ll just fight among themselves. Creating a hell for a mainstream Republican President.