By *Donald Kaul
Republican lawmakers have declared war on the presidency. Not so odd, perhaps, given their recent record. But the leader they're targeting this time is Mitt Romney.
The former Massachusetts governor is clearly going to be the party's candidate. Traditionally, the nominee sets the agenda for the party in the fall elections. Not this time, according to several Republican firebrands.
"We're not a cheerleading squad," said Rep. Jeff Landry, a freshman from Louisiana. "We're the conductor. We're supposed to drive the train."
"We have led and will continue to lead," said Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican.
Their bottom line seems to be that Romney can say anything he wants
so long as he supports lower taxes on the rich, the evisceration of food
stamps and other programs that benefit the poor, and the inflation of a
military budget that already looks as though it's on steroids.
And judging from his performance so far, Romney might be willing to accommodate them. He's already reversed himself on pretty much every issue that would make a tea party fanatic frown.
I keep wondering how in the world Republicans expect to win the election on a platform that would benefit -- at most -- 10 percent of the population at the expense of the other 90 percent.
I suppose they're going to rely heavily on negative campaigning. Romney certainly did in destroying his primary opponents.
And thanks to the Supreme Court's lamentable Citizens United ruling, they will have virtually unlimited resources to hurl exaggerations, misrepresentations, and outright lies at President Barack Obama.
We're going to revisit Obama the Muslim, Obama the foreigner, and Obama the hate-filled black radical, as well as Obama the socialist and Obama the dictator.
I doubt that any of those hysterical charges will stick with anyone who isn't a Rush Limbaugh fan, but who knows?
When the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in the 2010 election, they claimed a national mandate to return to the 18th century.
That mandate has very little validity. In that election, Republican candidates scored a total of 30,799,391 votes. Two years earlier in the presidential election, Obama received 69,498,215 -- more than twice as many. That's a mandate.
Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to exercise it much over the past two years because of Republican intransigence. Our system of government invites gridlock, and Republican members of Congress have done everything in their power to accept that invitation.
When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in October 2010 that the "single most important thing" that Republicans "want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president," he wasn't kidding. He and his Republican colleagues have spent the past two years throwing sand into the gears of government.