Every morning I wake up to news reports that remind me that Walt Whitman was right: America is large enough "to contain contradictions." I am not surprised to find that a recently elected Teapublican candidate Andy Harris who campaigned against healthcare reform now demands that it be supplied to him ahead of schedule, or that those newbies who said maintaining a strong national defense was a priority have suddenly fallen in line behind Mitch "our priority is to defeat Obama" McConnell and John Kyl in opposing the START treaty, which every expert from Colin Powell to Henry Kissinger to Robert Gates says is key to our future national security.
Nor am I surprised to see that Republicans, despite owing a large debt to women voters in the last election, voted to a man to deny women the guarantee of fair treatment in salaries, nor that their primary objective after the elections is not the creation of jobs--which they campaigned to do--but instead to continue to call for an end to funding for NPR, which would put a few thousand more folks out of work.
It gets worse. In my home state of Arizona, the Republican legislature cut healthcare funding for people in line for organ transplants, including those already approved for the procedure, essentially setting up the very "death panels" that Sarah Palin falsely accused Obama's plan of doing.
Need I mention the widely circulated no-longer news that Republicans and Teapublicans alike favor continuing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, despite their professed goal of reducing the deficit? Or their insistence on banning earmarks--which make up just over 1% of the total federal budget--instead of what they plan to do with the other 98+% of it?
There are days when I wish for fewer contradictions. There are days when I feel very much like the Eddie Valiant character in the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" You know how it goes: While just trying to do my day job as a detective I suddenly find that I've crossed over into a make-believe world of wise-cracking "toons, there's been a big murder, the guy who hired me is a prime suspect, and we are all dancing to somebody else's script on the set of a B-grade movie. Only in my version it's our president and Progressive ideas that have been accused of a socialist government takeover, and this outrageous, nonsensical script is being dangerously made-up as we go along by whomever writes Glenn Beck's show and Sarah Palin's faux memoirs.
Unfortunately, this is not "Toon Town and our country doesn't run on laughs. Our problems are real and we need leadership to solve them.
That's the obvious answer. What is not obvious is whether or not the country will get the necessary leadership to do what needs to be done. After a long two and a half weeks of watching the revolution that supposedly "swept" the elections on some kind of "we the people" mandate, I am neither pleased nor encouraged by what I see to believe they have anything like real solutions.
I have not heard one word about a jobs program to address unemployment. Nor have I heard anything specific about what social programs they plan to actually cut in order to address the dreaded deficit they claim is killing us. No plan has been suggested about withdrawal from Afghanistan, or what to do about the growing extremism in Yemen and elsewhere. Or how we can develop better economic relationships with China, India, and Europe. Or develop that energy policy that ends our dependence on foreign sources of oil. Or ...
But I don't really expect to hear anything about those plans. Not from Republicans or Teapublicans. Real solutions on those subjects are up to the Obama administration, the Democrats who still rule the Senate, and those still left standing in the House. To them I say "seize the day!" There will never be a better time to demonstrate leadership.
From a communication perspective, I encourage you to drive home to the American people the contradictions that divide the right and use their lack of unity to create practical solutions that make full use of your Senate majority and executive privilege. You know what you want to do, Mr. President. Just do it.
This is me, Eddie Valiant, here, Mr. President. Just tryin' to do the right thing.
Or get me outta "Toon Town! These Teapublicans are killin' me!