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Friday, May 28, 2010

The Anti-Job Party

Shortly after Obama was elected it was not long before Rush Limbaugh announced that he hoped the President would fail. At the time, with McCain vanquished, Sarah Palin under orders not to talk to the press and no other Republican of any notability willing to take the reins-in rode Limbaugh as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. As is the case with most Limbaugh proclamations elected Republicans were silent or slightly critical only to later beg forgiveness as Limbaugh's fandom inundated district offices with outrage directed toward the elected official.

It is an odd thing to say: "I hope the President fails." It is odd because by failing that means that the President will have been unable to get Americans back to work; a failing that will cause continued suffering among the American people. By failing the President would be unable to resolve the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts leading to the deaths of more Americans and the expenditure of more tax payer money better spent at home. And of course, by failing to reform healthcare more Americans would die for lack of insurance. Why would Limbaugh and by silent agreement the Republican Party seek the further suffering of their own people? Especially in light of the fact that it is the Republican Party that led the nation over the cliff. Should they have not been the most motivated to correct the problems they created?

Soon enough it became clear that not only did the Republicans hope for Obama to fail but they moved with deliberate speed to make it happen. Despite a year of debate and opposition they never came up with their own health plan and in the midst of the worst economic crisis in 80 years they voted twice to filibuster the beginning of debate of the financial reform bill. The opposition to even discussing reforming the financial system is perhaps the most obvious example of a complete disregard for the American people.

Fortunately, seventeen months into Obama's administration he has not failed in fact the opposite has happen. Despite the worst financial disaster in 80 years the economy has begun to grow again; 230,000 private sector jobs were added in April. General Motors repaid a 5 billion dollar loan 5 years early and made a profit; Chrysler hired 1100 workers in Michigan. The main banks and financial organizations are solvent and have started to make a profit again and the stock market, though volatile has begun to recover.

Of these accomplishments the Republicans played little or no part. Not even in the jobs department can the Republicans claim any credit. They voted against the stimulus package which was designed to invigorate the economy by providing funds for everything from new construction projects to saving teachers’ jobs. The Republicans were against the domestic auto industry bail-out which kept both GM and Chrysler solvent and operating, preserving hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans. Many Republicans even voted against the "Jobs Bill" which provided tax breaks for new hires. Notably, the Republican stimulus plan which was never more then half-baked, directed tax cuts and tax breaks and little else. It was always unclear how tax breaks would help people with no income. While the Republicans could argue a simple difference of philosophy when it came to health care and management of the wars, it could not make the same claim when it came to job creation. They simply had no credible plan and worse, helping out unemployed Americans did not appear to be a priority.

So with the mid-terms approaching and the economy just beginning to recover from the last Republicans administration what will the GOP be selling to encourage potential voters to support them? They cannot take credit for the economic turn-around because they voted against the legislative tools which helped make it happen. They can not tout a better health reform plan because they never presented one. Limbaugh said he wanted Obama to fail and elected Republicans did everything possible to make that happen by opposing every piece of legislation they could and offering nothing in the form of solutions. The only problem is that by hoping Obama failed the Republicans by extension were hoping the American people would fail. This November the voters may have a retort to those who planned their demise.