During the most recent election, you know the one that was a "mandate" from the people, the Republicans rolled out their "Pledge to America," which read suspiciously like every talking point they've used since 1994, and was short on actual details and long on partisan bluster. They promised to go to Washington, D.C. and turn things around, fighting for deficit reduction, smaller government, and the repeal of the Health Care Law, among other things. They were going to work for the people, because the people had spoken, and they didn't like the direction the country is going in. Strangely, they neglected to mention that it was a Republican administration that had put the country on this course in the first place, and that captain had rowed away, leaving the current one with a ship with a mighty gash in the side, taking on water. In the end, some Americans, spoke, and because of the apathy of other Americans, the Republicans got half a loaf and turned it into a feast... sort of.
You see, the party of fiscal conservatism, that stood on the rock and howled at stimulus spending, big bailouts, and health care reform, has been selling America a rotten bill of goods. You see, they are determined not to spend another penny of Federal money -- unless it happens to be going to their friends in Corporate America or those who feed off it for their riches. Rather than ensuring that everyone making two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year or less gets to keep their tax cut handed them by President Bush, they are insisting that their rich friends get their fair share, too. Of course, there's the several hundred billion dollar hole in the budget that will create, but hey, that's just a trivial annoyance.
Still, wrecking the budget so the rich may become just a tiny bit richer is nothing new -- they call it Reaganomics. Ah, the halcyon days of lowering the taxes on the rich (which were astronomical) to the point of draining the Federal treasury, then handing the mess to George Bush the First, whereby he was promptly run out of office when he was forced to raise taxes again to try and fill the budget hole, a hole that would be filled by the shrewd management of the Clinton Administration. But Bill Clinton could not be President forever, and the reins were handed to George Bush the Second, who followed his father into fiscal ignominy, doing an even better job, bringing America and almost the whole world to the brink of depression and financial ruin, while trying to fight two wars, only one of which was needed, and having no way to pay for them except to increase the limit on the White House credit card.
So now the Republicans are busy beating their chests again, having pulled the wool over plenty of eyes by promising fiscal restraint, all so they can hand their rich cronies more money, which will do no good to anyone but themselves. It will not create jobs. It will not fill the budget gap. It will not strengthen our defense. No, these tax dollars will simply rot away in banks or be spent on lavish estates and gold-plated toilet seats and luxury yachts. Trickle down, indeed.
And to make their point, they intend to bring all other business to a halt in Congress, until they get what they want, which is an extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while denying two million people continued unemployment benefits at Christmastime.
It is time for President Obama to hearken back to the words of Teddy Roosevelt, to stop walking softly and begin wielding the big stick. With Democrats cowering in their boots, it is up to the President to place the veto pen in the middle of his desk, and send back any bill the Republicans manage to pass during the lame duck session, and then during the next Congress. The "Party of 'No!'" needs to meet the "President of No." The President should refuse to sign any bill unless it benefits low and middle income Americans, or is in some way going to work to create jobs. He must hammer down the Republican/Tea Party social agenda, and force them to confront the promises they made during the campaign.
The Republicans made promises they did not intend to keep -- now it's time to hold their feet to the fire.