Sunday, December 14, 2008

Republicans just don't play well with others

On Nov. 9th Robert Parry on Consortiumnews wrote this about the modern Republican Party:
Even if some Republicans did want to shift toward a more bipartisan approach – after more than three decades of successfully using "wedge" tactics and armed with a right-wing media infrastructure built to destroy opponents – such a change might be impossible.

The idea of transforming modern Republicanism into some less partisan form might be like trying to train a boa constrictor which fork to use at the dinner table.
Since Parry wrote these words two things have happened which have not only proven him to be prophetic but have exasperated the situation. The right-wing owned Republican Party seems clearly incapable of hearing the voice of the people in the last two elections. The first thing that the right has jumped on to undermine the forthcoming Obama administration is their utterly partisan response - both politicians and right-wing media - to the absurd Blagojevich situation in Chicago. And the second is the unquestionably partisan obstruction of a House-passed Congressional bailout of the Detroit-based automobile companies.

There is no way in which anyone who is rooted in reality could believe that the President-elect or his staff were in any way implicated in the Blagojevich follies. Talking to someone doesn't mean you were involved. It's just part of doing the job. It is Obama's Senate seat that is at issue after all. If anyone doubts Obama's team's innocence try Blagojevich's own words:
they're [Obama's team] not willing to give me anything except appreciation
for possibly naming Obama's choice to the Senate. Now anyone without a partisan ax to grind would conclude that that settles the matter. But unfortunately it does not satisfy the wildly partisan Republicans. Here is what Republican Party Chairman Robert M. Duncan said after Obama at a press conference promised to provide all the information as soon as he had it:
While it is encouraging that the president-elect has stated his office will disclose contacts with the scandal-ridden governor, it remains disappointing that his actions are in response to political pressure. Americans expect the highest degree of transparency from their elected leaders, rather than promises of openness on the campaign trail.
It's the old campaign catch-22: Republicans try to tie Obama to Blagojevich and then no matter what he says in his defense it's only because of the pressure they've put on him. Neat isn't it? The other night on MSNBC another right-wing media dupe - Pat Buchanan - was complaining about why it was taking so long to get the information to the press. Of course the Obama transition team has nothing more important to do than respond on Buchanan's schedule to the bogus attacks.

The other thing that happened was may in the long run be more serious than Blagojevich. Last week the House passed an auto bailout bill to save the possibly millions of jobs in Detroit and around the country. The Senate failed to pass it because of Republican nays. According to
The GOP strategy, previewed in an 'action alert' sent by a Republican lobbyist and outlined by Republican aides, is based on the idea that the best defense is a good offense -- and the hope that the taint of the Illinois governor will rub off on organized labor.

This is the Democrats’ first opportunity to pay off organized labor after the election . . . a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.
In other words, the Republicans are not even making a pretense at having voted against the bailout for principled economic reasons (wrong as that would be). It's all very simple. The right wing blames organized labor for the recent election loss (that kind of dismissal of the voice of the people is quite typically Republican). So they want to destroy the labor movement. It's Reagan redux. Remember PATCO (th air traffic controllers union). I never thought I would utter these words; but William Kristol says it very well in Monday's New York Times:
...Senate Republicans now run the risk of being portrayed as Marie Antoinettes with southern accents.
Kristol also points out, in an extraordinarily "fair and balanced" column, that despite the Republican attack on the UAW, "labor amounts to only about 10 percent of the cost of a car."

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