Friday, February 15, 2013

Just Say "No."

We've talked several times about the glaring coincidence of the LARGE number of unprecedented actions occurring just after the election of the first African American President of the United States.

I really hate to use race as reason, but I’m hard pressed to find “real” reasons for the historic actions of congressional Republicans. Taking the opposite position of President Obama has gotten so bad that Republicans are LITERALLY disputing with themselves.
  Just as a quick example: In 2008, in response to then President Bush’s Secretary of State Nominee, Sen. John McCain said that Susan Rice was qualified for the position and that, “We all have varying policy views, but the President, in my view, has a clear right to put in place the team he believed would serve him best while on the Senate floor. Now, this was AFTER 9/11, which happened while Rice was the National Security Advisor and after she testified that there were WMDs in Iraq. Fast forward to 2012, Sen. McCain, responding to RUMORS that Susan Rice would be President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State, called Rice “unqualified” and that he would block her vote because she said that the Benghazi attack began spontaneously. Not that she was involved with it or had any operational or administrative connection to it in ANY way. But that she was simply following orders when she went on several Sunday morning talk shows. And that’s just one example. There is no need to regurgitate their colossal change of position on health care and the mandate.

Since President Obama took office, we’ve seen all types of craziness. Let’s see, in addition to rejecting their own previously held positions and recommendations, you got: “you lie”; rejecting President Obama’s request to address the joint session of Congress; hijacking of the debt ceiling; record number of judicial filibusters; preventing the common presidential practice of recess appointments; and the latest first in US history which I will get to in a moment.

Now, to be fair, the Republicans have been moving at a record pace when it comes to filibustering, even before Obama took office. Once the Democrats took back the majorities in Congress in 2007, the Republicans implemented the obstructionist plan to completely stop the US government from running. They did something similar the last time they lost the majority in 1994.

Which brings us to today (or yesterday to be more specific). The Republican minority in the Senate, led by Senators Graham and McCain (yes, him again) decided to block President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. The Republicans put a “hold” on an up or down vote for Hagel. The Senate needs 60 votes to end the “hold.” Unfortunately, Leader Reid wasn’t able to get the necessary 60 votes. Now, this isn’t a vote FOR Hagel, mind you. It is simply a vote to end the discussion so they can actually vote for Hagel a former Republican Senator and a man that McCain said, “would make an excellent Secretary of State.”

So, the party that emphasizes our role as a world super power has blocked a president’s nomination for Secretary of Defense for the first time in our nation’s history. At a time when North Korea is shooting off bombs, the Middle East is in constant war, and we've got thousands of troops in harms way.  Oh, and they've gone on recess just to add insult to injury.  Over what?  It isn't as if Hagel isn’t qualified, but because of the politics surrounding and event that Hagel had NOTHING to do with.

Days after President Obama urged Congress to simply do their job; it appears as if nothing has changed. You know, it’s sad when our the praise is given to those who govern when just the WILLINGNESS is present. But when that’s gone, what’s left?     What are your thoughts? Should a nominee be used as leverage to get something unrelated in return from the White House? Does this start a trend that could potentially make the government even MORE dysfunctional (the Republicans aren't going to always be the minority party and the Democrats won't always be in the White House).
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