Republicans Have Been — And Still Are — The Damn Problem

Congressional approval ratings are at historic lows and our government is more inefficient than it’s possibly ever been. We struggle to even pass a simple bill to fund measures to combat Zika because of how screwed up Congress is right now.

So, who’s to blame? Well, obviously Democrats will blame Republicans, Republicans will blame Democrats and others will blame both sides.

However, when you look at the facts and study the history of how we got to where we are today, there’s really only one true reason for all of this: The Republican party.

Look, politics has always been a drawn out, back and forth process that takes entirely too long to get anything done — but we’ve never seen anything like what we’ve seen from the GOP over the last few years.

It’s beholden upon Congress to pass legislation that the president will sign — it’s not the job of the president to bend to the will of Congress. If Congress overwhelmingly supports something that the president chooses to veto, they have the power to override that veto — but at the end of the day, it’s up to Congress to pass legislation that the president supports.

Sure, a president needs to show the ability to effectively lead and compromise, but being that they’re the only person voted on by all the people, that’s why they’re given the powers of the Executive Branch. It’s up to Congress to craft legislation that they feel will be supported and signed by the leader of our nation.

But most Republicans have refused to do that the entire time President Obama has been in office.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell once famously said that the number one job of congressional Republicans was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. So, how were they ever going to accomplish that goal (which they clearly failed to do), by helping him fix the country?

The simple answer is: They couldn’t.

For Republicans, the only option they gave themselves after the president was elected was to obstruct anything and everything they could to prevent President Obama from signing any sort of legislation to help Americans and the country heading into the 2012 elections, hoping that by outright sabotaging him they could scuttle his re-election chances.

Hell, Republicans shut down the government in 2013, not because they had any actual hope of accomplishing their goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act — but simply because they could. That year, from September 30th till October 17th, our government saw its first shutdown since 1995 (which was also caused by Republicans) and it accomplished absolutely nothing.

Speaking of the ACA, how many times have Republicans voted to repeal it now? The exact number has gotten a little foggy, but it’s definitely been over 60 times. With a cost of around $1.5 million per vote, if we say they’ve voted to repeal the law exactly 60 times — that’s $90 million from the taxpayers spent on votes that Republicans knew were completely meaningless.

But, please, tell me more about how they’re the party for fiscal responsibility.

Even the law itself, as flawed as it is, can actually be fixed fairly easily — but Republicans flat-out refuse to work with Democrats to improve upon the law. In fact, to do so for any Republican would be career suicide.

Then there’s the fact senate Republicans (when they were the minority party), broke the record for the number of filibusters used to block the passage of any legislation.

We also can’t forget the bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate with support from Republicans and Democrats — only to die in the House after then Speaker of the House John Boehner refused to even let it come up for a vote because the GOP feared enough members of their party would side with Democrats for it to pass.

Let’s also not forget the failed attempts to hold the debt ceiling hostage under President Obama, while Republicans had no problem raising it for George W. Bush seven times during his eight years. The GOP brought the nation to the brink of defaulting on our debts for the first time ever because they decided trying to blackmail the president was more important.

Then there’s always Benghazi. You know, the numerous investigations into the 2012 attack that killed four Americans. Even when a Republican-led investigation didn’t confirm the propaganda the GOP had been pushing about the attack (and still continue to push), what did they do? They ordered another investigation.

As most of us probably know, that investigation proved that all of this was a massive waste of time. Ultimately, Republicans ended up doing nothing more than proving that all the conspiracies, propaganda and lies they had been spreading about this attack for years were pure fiction.

Back in 2013, Republicans were also doing two things:

  • Criticizing President Obama for doing too much in the Middle East without Congressional approval.
  • Criticizing President Obama for not doing enough in Syria.

Well, the president came out and said he supported more military intervention in Syria, but that nothing would happen without the approval from Congress. He even called on Republicans to call Congress back early from vacation to vote on the matter.

So, what ultimately happened? Republicans voted against giving President Obama the power to do more in Syria, alleging that what he wanted to do wasn’t enough.

You seriously can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Oh, then remember when the Patriot Act was allowed to expire; the Department of Homeland Security nearly went without funding; a sequester was forced because Republicans refused to work with Democrats to pass a budget President Obama would sign; the government was nearly shut down (again) over Republicans trying to gut funding for Planned Parenthood; and a vacancy on the Supreme Court sat open for a record number of days because Senate Republicans refuse to do the job assigned to them by the Constitution?

Yeah, all of that rests squarely on the shoulders of the GOP.

The GOP is so dysfunctional that John Boehner was basically forced into early retirement because the “Freedom Caucus” accused him of working with President Obama too much. Meanwhile, the person who replaced him, Paul Ryan, is now facing the possibility of losing his position as the Speaker of the House because of the brewing civil war within the party over Donald Trump.

Now the two latest revolve around Republicans apparently vowing to spend years investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails (because the FBI didn’t give them what they wanted so they’re going to use this as their next “Benghazi”) and some Senate Republicans are floating around the idea of indefinitely blocking any replacement for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court if Hillary Clinton becomes president.

Because, clearly, that’s what the Founding Fathers intended to have happen when they wrote the Constitution.

So much for the whole “let the voters decide” who should nominate the Supreme Court justice during the 2016 election.

The list of the Republican party’s bullshit is seemingly endless.

To summarize only what I’ve pointed out here, over the last several years Republicans:

  • Were responsible for our first government shutdown since 1995 for a goal they knew wasn’t obtainable.
  • Refused to work with President Obama and Democrats to fix and improve the Affordable Care Act.
  • Nearly pushed the country to default on our debt for the first time in history by holding hostage a vote on raising the debt ceiling, something they easily passed seven times during George W. Bush’s eight years in office.
  • In the House, refused to even vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill passed by the Senate and supported by the president because the party feared it would pass.
  • Spent years investigating the Benghazi attack in a clear attempt to exploit the tragedy for political gains to try to use against Hillary Clinton.
  • Couldn’t even organize enough members of their own party to keep the Patriot Act from expiring.
  • Nearly allowed the Department of Homeland Security to go unfunded.
  • Said President Obama needed to seek congressional approval to do more in Syria and the Middle East, then voted against allowing him to do that when he specifically said that’s what he wanted Congress to do.
  • Nearly forced another government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, even though it’s illegal for a single dollar of taxpayer money to go toward abortion services.
  • Forced out one Speaker of the House for apparently working with President Obama too much and now might be pushing out the person who replaced him because of the brewing civil war within their own party.
  • Have said that they plan to spend the next few years investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails because the FBI’s extensive investigation didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear.
  • Spent around $90 million on over 60 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though each and every single one of those votes was absolutely pointless.
  • Have refused to follow the Constitution by replacing the late Antonin Scalia’s spot on the Supreme Court, claiming that the “voters should decide with the election” which president will replace him.
  • Are now floating around the idea of indefinitely blocking any possible replacement for Scalia if their party doesn’t win the White House.

I could add more to this article, but it’s been long enough already, and I think I’ve made my point. Also keep in mind that the GOP is the party that runs on the premise of “government is bad,” so there’s really no incentive for Republicans to do anything to prove that it can be effective, efficient and useful.

Are Democrats perfect? Of course not.

But these people saying “both parties are to blame for the dysfunction in Washington” are completely ridiculous.

While I’m not going to say that Democrats are completely blameless (certain Democrats more than others), the main reason why our government is in the mess that it’s currently in rests on the shoulders of the Republican party, their incompetence and their decision to refuse to work with Democrats while opposing practically anything and everything President Obama supports.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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