March 21, 2010

Ability to Govern

"Stop the Takeover!"

According to this ad on Facebook, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama are taking over the country and the Republican Governors' association can help stop them. Alright, I'll stop to give your brain a second to work that one through. Did it make any sense to you? Me neither.

People are just stupid over healthcare reform. Really, from what I can tell, Americans haven't been this stupid about politics en masse since the Civil Rights Movement. An no, I'm not trying to draw moral parallels (though those of you who side with Glenn Beck ought to take a minute to consider which side of that argument "Social Justice" would come out on... I'm just saying) ... all I'm saying is that the American Public in general hasn't gotten this stupid riled up on an issue being decided by politics since the Civil Rights Era. Or maybe that's just how it looks to my relatively-young self.

My point is that right now, as in most mid-term election cycles, the party in power is losing influence and the party of the opposition is gaining influence. Why? Because Americans don't vote for a candidate, they vote against a candidate.

I don't know how this works out in countries with multi-party Parliamentary systems, but in 'Murrica, people don't even know what Congress is doing most of the time. And when they vote, they don't know what they're even talking about. According to a Pew survey, 44% of Americans who claim to be "closely" following the debate on Healthcare Reform don't even know that "public option" deals with health care and only 18% know that Senator Baucus is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee that is tasked with writing health care reform legislation (at least over half of those questioned knew that they didn't know.)

So this is what puzzles me: how can the electorate claim that they vote for people with any sort of modicum of responsibility or eye to ability to govern? And what's more, when people start spouting off about the "will of the people", why should I listen to them? Really, all I know is that after one political party gains control, they will do some things dovetail with their agenda and then the other party will get into power.

And really, my problem lies less with the notion that anyone is dissatisfied with the current regime and more with the claims by the loyal opposition that the candidate that they're voting for will do a better job than the current regime.

And really, I'm looking at you Republicans. Because right now you're trying to convince me that you'll do better than the current regime. You're going to encourage fiscal responsibility and fix the economy. And, honestly, I don't believe you, and here's why:

Over 8 years with a Republican president (6 of those with a Republican majority in all of Congress) with a budget surplus, somehow the country got 3.3 trillion dollars further into the hole. Those tax cuts that were supposed to fix the economy and help cut the deficit? Yeah, 3.3 trillion dollars further into the hole AND a giant recession that erased all of those gains.

Over the 8 years of a Republican presidential budget (and yes, as President Obama explained to the morons in Congress at the State of the Union, you write a budget for the upcoming year, not the one you're in), we went from $1.9 trillion in the last Clinton budget to $3.1 trillion in the last Bush budget.

It should be noted that only one of those years, ONLY ONE (2001), did the US Government spend less than it made. And, in fairness, President Clinton was the one who submitted that budget (though, also in fairness, under a Republican Congress.)

So what I would like to know is this: Would the Republicans like us to elect them because they've demonstrated an ability to govern? Because they've established their credibility in sticking to their core principles? Because their healthcare solution isn't the same "sweep it under the rug and pretend everything's just fine like we've done for the last 30 or 40 years?" Because really, all that I'm seeing is yet another volley in the "elect us because we're not them" game of political Hot Potato that has perpetuated American Politics for the last 3 or 4 decades at least.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at March 21, 2010 12:20 AM | TrackBack