I once had a bad drunken one-night-stand.
In the moment, it felt right. She looked great and said
all the right words to me. Told me how she always liked me. We shared common
interests and had been dancing around this moment for years. It was an easy
sell and we had a great time.
Then the next morning she woke up and slept with one
of my friends.
As a result, I never went out with her again. No
calls. Nothing. Right away, I knew better, I learned my lesson.
She could call me tomorrow, say those same right words, tell me she looks better than ever, maybe send me some pics Brett Favre-style to prove it. But this time I wouldn't be buying.
Because once you already know something is a horrible decision you would be a fool to repeat that mistake again. I know the result, I know what to expect, so no thank you, I'm fine without that kind of trouble. The short-term pleasure isn't worth the horrendous end result.
That bad one-night-stand is what comes to mind when I think about the possibility of the Republican Party taking over Congress in a landslide election victory. The American people seem drunk with righteous anger. Infuriated over problems real and imagined. And the Republicans have come along all slicked up with their new Tea Party rebranding. They look better than they did, smooth talk certain demographics with all the right words and make all those same promises that brought them to power for most of the last thirty years. They know it will feel good for a large swath of voters to go out and kick some bums out of office. Again though, that short-term pleasure is not worth the horrendous result.
We've been down this road with the Republican Party before. We know what to expect. We know their policies will fail. That their rhetoric will be even more divisive. We should know better.
But do we?
It doesn't look like it.
The country under a Republican-controlled Congress, or as most expect, at least, a GOP-controlled House of Representatives, isn't going to look any better than it ever has under Republican rule. The big problem with the possibility of Republican power at this time is it'll come at a tenuous moment in our history. As NY Times columnist and Nobel Laureate, Paul Krugman notes: "When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, the U.S. economy had strong fundamentals." The United States under Clinton was in the midst of unprecedented job creation, strong economic growth and household debt was much smaller than it is today. Krugman continues: "Today's situation is completely different. The economy, weighed down by the debt that households ran up during the Bush-era bubble, is in dire straits""
Bluntly, in the past, we were doing well enough that bad policy and inaction could be absorbed without leading us straight into a disaster.
But this time, we not only just escaped disaster, we are still on the precipice of it. The last thing we need is exactly what the Republican Party stands for and plans to do. Never mind the basic policy differences. Historically, every Democratic president has created more jobs and had better job creation than every Republican president. Nearly every recession we've had in the modern era has been presided over by a Republican president. But honestly, forget all of that for a moment. As I mentioned earlier, just look at what they stand for and want to do in the immediate future.
The big problems with the Republican Party are twofold. First, they have become little more than a public relations party with a very shortsighted and dishonest policy apparatus. They are good at creating images, capturing and setting a narrative and winning elections. They are not good at running a country. They want voters to concentrate on what they say, and not what they did when they were actually in power. Which was run up massive debt, start and get mired in two wars, let a major American city drown, destroy America's reputation in the world, preside over the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and divide the American populace as much and as often as possible. Second, they're too ideological. The GOP has no give. Not on policy or governance. Partly because of their base, but it probably has something to do with the right-wing authoritarian mindset that dominates the party nowadays. There is little doubt they will not work with Obama or the Democrats on much, if anything. Republicans basically believe that they are right and that the ends justify the means no matter what. They view Democrats as enemies, so they will do what it takes to defeat or even destroy them. Specifically Obama. If this means no meaningful policy action during a financial crisis, that is fine with them. Inaction makes the economy worse, and it also gives them something to run on in order to make Obama a one-term president. Already they have employed this strategy for the midterms, refusing to vote on or killing even policies that they have historically approved of and advocated, such as the welfare-to-work program, so that they could deny Democrats any policy victory, no matter how small, in the run up to the election.
As it stands, you can come to expect several predictable policies, actions and scenarios for the Republicans over the next few years. From a policy standpoint, they stand for little more than four things, deficit exploding tax cuts for the rich, crisis causing deregulation, war and whatever small bones they can toss to placate the Christian Right. Actions will be to fight the president on everything, policy and otherwise. You can expect a deluge of subpoenas and pseudo-scandals much like Bill Clinton dealt with in the 1990s. Clinton, as imperfect as he was, was investigated for anything and everything, no matter how frivolous. The Republicans even investigated his cat's Christmas list. You can expect that if somebody slips on a banana peel, Barack Obama will get a subpoena for it. The possible scenarios that come out of this will probably be a replay of the 1990s as well. The Republicans will slow government down to a standstill as much as possible, potentially forcing another government shutdown like the one Newt Gingrich engineered in 1995. They will try to find anything that they can use to impeach President Obama. No matter how big or small, they'll try it, and they'll use their favored outlets like Fox News to sell it, so that the mainstream media will eventually take it serious and pick it up as well.
They will make this country ungovernable, not address any pressing issue in a serious manner and spend most of their time trying to destroy a sitting president before the next election.