Burnard: Challenge the GOPWritten by Don Burnard | | email@example.com
This week’s topic for our pre-election roundtable: If we could talk to President Barack Obama, what would we say to him? To be honest, many times in the past three years or so, I’ve wished I could have a discussion with the president about what was happening in Washington, and his handling of it. In his zeal to try to lift the tenor of governance, the president bent over backwards to try to foster bipartisanship in Congress.
From the start and for the next three and a half years, obstruction was the name of the game for the GOP, both in the House and the Senate. Even with bills that at one time had wide support from Republicans and, in many cases, had even been proposed by Republicans, the obstruction was complete.
In the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the No. 1 priority for the next four years for the GOP was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president.
To that end, they blocked any legislation they thought might give the president a “victory” and used the filibuster in the Senate more times in this time period than in all the history of the filibuster. The wheels of governance ground to a halt.
Their abhorrence for the man in the White House completely overrode any of the needs of the populace in the throes of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and they fiddled while Rome burned. They refused to confirm many of the appointees the administration needed to address this dire situation, and offered no plans of their own to help the American public — commonly referred to as the 99 percent. The House couldn’t even be controlled by John Boehner, its own speaker.
If I could say something to the president, first it would be to ask him why he didn’t call them on their atrocious behavior and use his bully pulpit to try to force these so-called public servants to do their jobs. This could very well be the most do-nothing Congress in history. It is certainly in the top two. Instead of trying to remain above the fray, why not get in their faces and challenge them to do the job they were elected to do? Use your pulpit to explain the facts to the people, and to point out the many fallacies the GOP and its big-money backers foisted on us.
Much has been made of the Right’s obsession with Ayn Rand’s works. To put it in its most basic form, there are the producers (job creators) and the takers (the 47 percent of the population Mitt Romney referenced). Most of the people who fawn over Rand’s every word know nothing about her real life. If the Religious Right were to notice that she had no use for religion and didn’t believe in God, it might not be as enamored with her as Paul Ryan seems to be.
My impression is that a more appropriate analogy to the Romney and other GOP campaigns’ beliefs would be Nietzsche’s will to power and his concept of a superman. Good is anything that helps him reach his potential and Evil is anything that stands in the way of him doing so. Therefore, if lying and distorting facts help him reach the presidency, it is Good, and if the facts get in the way, they must necessarily be Evil.
A number of other GOP candidates and their backers seem to have taken this to heart. Romney’s campaign adviser even said they weren’t going to allow their campaign to be run by fact-checkers.
As the Obama campaign got into full gear this summer, it began to push back at the Karl Rove/Koch Bros./FOX News cabal’s lies and distortions, but it needs some personal input from the president. The perfect opportunity was the first presidential debate. Fact-checkers pointed out that Romney told 27 lies in 38 minutes, and the president did an incredibly ineffective job of calling him on his constantly changing positions and outright lying. My next talking point would be “Mr. President, you are an incredibly intelligent and skilled speaker. Will you use your talents in the next debate to call them on this and not let them frame the debate? You are the most powerful man in the world. It’s time to act like it.”
Lastly, I would ask why he chose to tackle health care reform before focusing on jobs. I know that rising health care costs are one of the most costly items for people and corporations, but it would have been better suited to a second-term agenda, when it could have been addressed in an even more effective manner.
Email columnist Don Burnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.