Monday, October 7, 2013

Republican "Negotiations": Pissing on Your Head and Calling it Rain


We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t piss on my head (or leg) and tell me it’s raining.”  Generally Today, unfortunately, this is synonymous with politics.  But beyond that, it is the current Republican strategy to deflect blame for the government shutdown.  

In the past, whatever side employed this strategy, it was usually done with some degree of ... let's say... sophistication.  No more.  Today, the lie is so transparent and thinly veiled that I find myself, to some degree, in disbelief.  While I expect a degree of misdirection in politics, this tactic is borderline insulting.  

Let’s rewind back to 2010 when the Tea Party, disguised as a grass roots organization, ran and won the House majority during the midterms that year.   Initially lead by Mark Meckler, founder of Tea Party Patriots, rallied his troops to force the government to cut spending and not raise taxes.  Even going as far as saying, “We don’t expect to see the budget ceiling raised and that means these guys are going to have to get serious and make some hard decisions right away.”  
Candidates during the 2010 campaign CLEARLY stated that shutting down the government was an option:
“We’re listening to the American people…If government shuts down, we want you with us.” Rep. Lynn Westmoreland

“[T]here’s going to be a government shutdown… but we’re going to win it this time!”   Dick Morris
“I’m almost giddy thinking about a government shutdown next year.  I cannot wait!” Conservative Blogger, Erick Erickson
“Listen, if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren.  And if you can’t get it under control, then we just stop government until you realize, you know, yes we can.” Rep. Louie Gohmert

In 2011, when Eric Cantor took shutting the government down off the table, the Tea Party responds was anything but kind:
"Maybe I'm just one of those yahoos, but I think it's crazy to take anything off the table," said Mark Meckler, cofounder of the Tea Party Patriots.
Recently, conservatives have cheered the shutdown:
“We are very excited [about the shutdown]… it is exactly what we wanted.” Rep. Michelle Bachmann
“We felt very strongly from the start that this was a fight that we were going to pick.” Heritage Foundation”
Pretty clear to me which side wanted and implemented the shutdown.  It should come as no surprise that the only shutdowns in the last 30 years occurred with a Democratic president and Republican majority in at least one of the legislative bodies.  
As we all know, the current shutdown is due to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives attaching defunding Obamacare to a Continuing Resolution bill.  Just last week, we heard Sen. Paul reveal their strategy in an open mic conversation with Sen. McConnell.  It is clear that the Republicans have planned and implemented the shutdown and their strategy was to pin it on Obama for not “negotiating.” 
“The president’s refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk.  And, the American people expect, when their leaders have differences and we’re in a time of crises, will sit down and at least have a conversation.  It’s time to have that conversation Mr. President.” Speaker John Boehner
Negotiations?  Really? 
What are negotiations?  What are we talking about here?  I thought negotiations were mutual    What does President Obama get during this deal?  A funded government? That isn't something the Democrats or Obama asked for exclusively.  How are you negotiating with something everyone wants?  

But wait...  we aren’t even talking about a funded government; the Republicans want to defund Obamacare for a CONTINUING RESOLUTION (CR)!!!  That isn’t even a funding the government for the full year but just through December!  WTF!?!  How can you ask to defund the entire affordable care bill and only give two months of government funding?  When you hear about swamp land for sale in Florida, this is EXACTLY the type of deal they’re mocking.  
discussions of the terms of an agreement; ideally, the agreement would be mutually beneficial.

The Republicans might as well say shit like, “Hey kid, I’ll give you these THREE pennies for the ONE, individual, dollar bill.  THREE is more than ONE right?  C’mon, take the deal.”   #GETTHEFUCOUTTAHERE!!!
To make matters worse, the Republicans had an opportunity to “negotiate” but Speaker Boehner decided NOT to.   Putting aside the fact that Boehner said, “It's pretty clear that the president was re-elected. Obamacare is the law of the land. If we were to put Obamacare into the CR and send it over to the Senate, we were risking shutting down the government. That is not our goal.”  Speaker Boehner has had plenty of opportunities to “negotiate” on the federal budget.  Both the Senate and the House produced budgets back in the Spring of 2013; however, instead of going to conference to “negotiate” Boehner stalled and stood in the way of any compromise.  So excuse me for giving the Boehner the side-eye when he proclaims the urgency to negotiate.  In addition to using some other parliamentary tactics to avoid a clean CR bill, Boehner has simply refused to put one on the floor for a vote for fear it may pass.  To be clear, Boehner has the votes to pass a clean budget… he just doesn’t want to do it… And somehow, that’s Obama’s fault?

How, exactly, is this President Obama’s doing, again?  If this were a different issue, we’d be screaming “victim blaming” at the top of our lungs.  Republicans put a poison pill into a bullshit bill and have the audacity to blame the person whom the poison was intended for not taking the poison?! 

How is this principle different than an abusive father telling his abused child, “You made me do this to you.  This is all your fault.  Why do you make me beat you?”  Is it just me that feels like that? 
I’m sorry but now, that’s not how this works.  Would the Republican’s blame the Democrats if they put an immigration rider into the budget bill? Of course they would!  They’d be pissed.   Not just because it’s a bullshit rider with no chance of passing but there’s an actual PROCESS for negotiating bills.  You legislate, you hold conference; sometimes you get your way, but sometimes you don’t.  Welcome to democracy, assholes! 

I guess there’s a reason congress has LITERALLY been the most unproductive in history since Boehner took the gavel (112 and 113).  There is a difference between governing and just standing in the way.  I hope voters realize that in 2014.
Lastly, at some point you must stand up to the bully!  This isn’t the first time a minority of the minority of representatives has attempted to inflict pain on the rest of the country to force everyone to live by their rules.  Regardless of the subject, the President had no choice but to stand up and demand that this tactic come to an end.  If you give a bully your lunch money every time he asks, he will always ask.  It is far past time for president Obama to stand up and speak up.  The Republicans pulled this in 2011 with the debt ceiling and federal funding.  And again before sequestration took effect.  Bringing the government to a halt at that time was based on cutting spending.  Even though spending  has slowed under Obama more so than any president since Eisenhower, the Republicans successfully shutdown the government.  But this time, it was about Obamacare...  What will it be next time?  It appears to me that it doesn't really matter what the issue is, conservatives will find SOMETHING to use as a muse.  Next year, there will be ANOTHER fight; maybe they will ask for Michelle to grow her bangs back....  Either way, it's hard to "negotiate" about running the government with folks who literally want to do away with the government altogether.  
Word of advice Mr. President: negotiate with the Republicans.  If they want to put defunding Obamacare into a CR bill, then your FIRM counter offer should be to accept defunding Obamacare, and then implement a single-payer plan.  Hell, throw in immigration, and a gun safety bill.  See if they’ll sign that bill.  You want to talk?  Then let’s talk.  If they want to negotiate, make them wish they hadn’t - they will end up with something WORSE (the Devil you know...).  Next time, they’ll think about it.  Once you get want you want, make them say “thank you” for leaving them a shirt and pants.  But that’s just me.


Thoughts?
Who do you blame? And Why?
Who's the weaker leader, Obama or Boehner?
Does the Tea Party have too much power?
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