Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Republican Strategy of Pretending the 2012 Election Never Happened Continues

Less than two weeks after the election, I wrote about how it seemed that Republicans had decided not to acknowledge that contest had actually happened.  The election was not only a referendum on the president they hate so much, but also on GOP policies of austerity and supply side economics.  Obama won, and they lost.

Despite that fact, the original dead-eyed granny killer himself, Paul Ryan, has essentially re-submitted his old budget.  Never mind that the electorate roundly rejected his ideas in the last election, or that he and others are pushing to end health care reform, which was more than validated by the president's victory in November.  During the sequester fiasco, Republicans were willing to shoot the hostage, since it meant slashing the budget without doing anything to raise revenues.  Despite the fact that their policy of keeping taxes on the wealthy low was roundly rejected by the voters, they keep trotting out the same tired old trickle-down war horse.

There are two ways of explaining this phenomenon, where we have a democracy yet the popular will is being completely ignored.  The first is that the GOP is simply gaming a faulty system where they can use gerrymandering to hold onto the House (where their candidates collectively failed to win a majority of the electorate's vote) and use the filibuster in the Senate to stop anything that displeases them.  A second explanation, and one I find to be more compelling, is that conservatives think that the people who voted for Obama don't count as real Americans.  In their eyes, these voters are the 47% excoriated by Romney, the "takers" who are looking for a handout.  They also happen to be mostly people of color, as compared with the majority of white voters who went for Romney in the last election.

The behavior at CPAC this week, along with the perennial and rabid Tea Party cries of "we want to take our country back" speaks to a movement that has a fairly narrow definition of who an American is.  Furthermore, movement conservatives feel free to ignore the last election because they view most Obama voters as unfit for citizenship, and needing to be put back in their places.  In the meantime the Republicans will obstruct and spew hatred at every opportunity, biding their time until the political pendulum swings right, and many unassuming moderates cast ballots for what they think is a center-right alternative to the Democrats, which in truth is a vehicle for Rightist fanaticism.  That fanatics are now considered respectable people in our political system at the same time that the electorate's express preferences are totally ignored is a sign of a truly dysfunctional system.

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