We have reached a point where the GOP doesn’t even hide that they have no interest in governing.
Chris Cilliza and Aaron Blake have a piece in the Washington Post. In it, they have a remarkable quote from Speaker John Boehner:
“We should not be judged by how many new laws we create,” Boehner told CBS’ Bob Schieffer in an interview that aired Sunday. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
Of course, Mr. Boehner states that he’s merely sticking to ideas of Republican governance, which is to govern as little as possible. And he’s also sticking to Grover Norquist’s ideology of making government small enough to drown in the bathtub.
But, in general, most people send their representatives to Congress in the hope that they’ll get something done. They may grumble about “big government”, but they want roads fixed, pensions paid, and all the other goodies they get from the evil government.
Republicans now feel secure enough in their gerrymandering to dispense with any pretense of working in a positive fashion. From the unprecedented obstruction carried out by the GOP in the Senate to the thirty-eight votes in the House to repeal Obamacare, Republicans have shown that the only interest they have is in stymieing any Democratic proposal. Since they have no power to implement any of their own ideas or priorities—and since polling shows that a majority of Americans are against the things which fire up the Republican base—the only type of government in which the House leadership and the Senate minority can engage in is a negative one: to make the process of government so viscous and confused that enough voters will decide that it’s better to have all branches of government in the same hands, so that at least something can get done.
Of course, there’s a slight hiccup on the way to the libertarian nirvana: the inconvenience of the 2014 elections. And on that front—with the caveats that polling this far out can be meaningless—the news is quite encouraging.
The latest RCP average of the generic congressional ballot shows Democrats up by 5 points. Even Rasmussen has the Democrats leading the GOP by 2, which of course means that the Democrats are leading the GOP by five times that figure.
One of the most frustrating things about 2010 was that OFA wasn’t very involved in the midterms. But now with President Obama no longer running for re-election, and with governance for the remainder of his term in the balance, OFA is becoming what the DNC wishes it could be: a super-powered organization which can bring to bear the efforts of its millions of volunteers on all sorts of local races. Because although regaining the House and keeping the Senate are of paramount importance, what OFA volunteers do in local elections is just as important. That fact was made abundantly clear in the past month, with the farce that occurred in Texas around reproductive rights, and the Stand Your Ground laws passed across the country, which led to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin. When Democrats vote, we win. When we don’t, people like George Zimmerman are empowered by laws passed by legislatures elected by a minority of the electorate.
Organizing For America held an event promoting its Action August agenda, where it will unleash all those volunteers to swamp the local town halls of congressional members, in a mirror image of what the Tea Party did before the 2010 elections. President Obama was the keynote speaker. He made a comment that he had only 1200 days left in his presidency.
The question that fact brings up is this: what are we going to do for those 1200 days? Are we going to make each one count? Are we going to knock on doors, make calls, send emails? Are we going to leave everything on the floor, and carry out the struggle to make this country more just, more human? We know what our opponents want to do; they’ve been doing it since 2009: obstructing, obfuscating, being derelict in any duty to make the commonwealth function. That is a situation which cannot be allowed to stand. If we want to live in a country worthy of the sacrifices we and our ancestors have made, we have to be as involved in the politics of the day as we are in the latest sporting scores. Anything less and we have more Trayvon Martins, we have more Rand Pauls, we have more Stop & Frisk.
This is what democracy looks like: not the astroturfed Teabaggers who invaded town halls in 2010. Democracy is men and women marching in Austin, serving notice to the Texas legislature that it won a battle, but will lose the war. Democracy is the thousands who came out over the weekend in honor of Trayvon Martin, committing to not letting his death be in vain, but to make sure that these ALEC-sponsored laws are stripped from the books, state by state, so that no one has the right to shoot a boy dead in the street, whose only crime was that he was black and unknown to the shooter.
The Obama coalition is the future. A Democrat won the Presidency twice without carrying a single state of the Deep South. That is what frightens the GOP and those who fund them. The GOP base is no longer needed to run the country. What is true on the presidential level will be so on the Congressional and local level; no amount of gerrymandering will be able to stop that.
If Speaker Boehner is of the opinion that legislating for the good of the country isn’t part of his job, then it’s time to find those who will do the people’s business and elect them. Congress shouldn’t be for those who fail upward.