RADICAL MINORITY RULE
DO YOU REALIZE JUST HOW UNREPRESENTATIVE CONGRESS IS TODAY?
"We're the conservatives! We're the heart of the Republican Party that's trying to represent the American People."
(Republican Freedom Caucus Member)
I have often stated that we are being ruled by the Tea Party and their minions in Congress, most particularly the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, a gang of 40 radical conservative Republicans who seem to be able to block any and every piece of legislation that isn’t directed at defunding Planned Parenthood and Obamacare. But I’ve never backed up my claims to any large degree nor explained why it is that I believe the country has been hijacked. So here goes….
First the big picture. You will hear all sorts of cries of “the will of the people” from our conservative, Republican, Tea Party friends proclaiming that they are the true (and only) representatives of the rest of us. But some facts (pesky as they might be to the right wingers) tell a different story. Government shutdowns? Americans are against them by a wide margin. The last one in 2013? Americans opposed it by 81%. Even the one looming over Planned Parenthood de-funding this year is opposed by 71% of the rest of us.
Or take the Highway Trust Fund Act funding bill that’s been jerking around Congress for about six years now with 34 (yes, thirty-four!) stop gap measures to keep it solvent. Do Americans support the 18 cent tax to keep our interstate highway system from crumbling even further? In fact 70% of Americans support INCREASING the tax to pay for repairing our highways and bridges.
Reforming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Every Republican candidate for President this year has resolved to “fix” these entitlement programs (along with Obamacare) but the public doesn’t seem to think that voucherizing or destroying these programs is a good idea. In fact, 71% of Americans are against cutting Social Security benefits and 67% are against raising the minimum retirement age.
Immigration, the Donald Trump ticket to the White House. Even with Republican control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, no progress has been made on comprehensive immigration reform. The will of the people? Well, 71% of the public believes that immigration is “a good thing” the highest level such support has been for over two decades.
And, finally, do Americans support the Tea Party and its objectives? Well, poll after poll reveals that less than a quarter of the American populace actually supports the Tea Party’s agenda. In fact, support for the Tea Party has been steadily declining for the past five or six years. Support today is at 24% and has never climbed above 28%.
So much for “the will of the people” the right wingers keep on yelling about.
Now for some smaller, more immediate stuff. Once again Congress is facing the sun-rises-in-the-East annual debacle over increasing the debt limit. Even as House Speaker Boehner prepares to exit the scene, he’s attempted to pave the way to prevent another shutdown over this issue but as of this moment it’s not at all clear that he – or anyone else – can prevent it since the Freedom Caucus wants to demonstrate how serious they are about getting their Fascist ways. As of this moment another harmful Federal Government shutdown lurks in our immediate future.
Planned Parenthood? Bills have been moving through the House – thanks to the Freedom Caucus – to defund Planned Parenthood like autumn leaves falling from an oak tree. Of course the radical Republicans have all taken up arms against this organization since a series of doctored, misleading and downright fake series of videos were released alleging that Planned Parenthood sold baby parts for profit. And the head of Planed Parenthood was hauled before an investigative hearing in Congress and questioned for five hours while the people actually responsible for the entire “scandal” – Center for Medical Progress and David Daleiden – were absent from this grilling. Why?
Public support for Planned Parenthood?: 61% of Americans do not support the de-funding of the organization.
And then there is the destruction of our political system with the Supreme Court’s decision viz Citizen’s United. Thus far the Republican controlled House and Senate have drafted a hundred bills to correct this blow to democracy. Ha! Ha! I joke, of course. Congress has done absolutely zilch about it. But how do Americans fee about Citizen’s United? Well 78% of us want it overturned.
Gun Control? We all know that given the power of the National Rifle Association over every single member of Congress, nothing will be done. But how about us? How do we feel about gun control? Well 93% of us support background checks for all gun buyers and 88% of us support laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns.
So there you have it folks: we are being governed by a small minority of batshit crazy far right radicals and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to this obstruction of “the will of the people.” Why is there no end in sight? Mainly because of the results of gerrymandering. Even with a Democratic President come next November, all those rural red districts across the country will remain. Sure, a couple, maybe four or five might be altered through court cases (See VA and CA) but the House is likely to remain in Republican hands. It will not be until after the next census in 2020 that any real changes to the nation’s Congressional Districts can change. And this process will take a couple of years.
It’s going to be a long, bumpy ride.