Burnard: A cavalcade of clownsWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As we near the deadline for falling off the fiscal cliff, the Republicans continue their obstructionist ways and continue to think that it’s their way or the Thelma and Louise highway. They are doing everything they can to keep the Do Nothingest Congress alive, right through the end of the lame duck session.
Throughout President Barack Obama’s first term, they consistently voted against bills that they previously supported or even introduced themselves, in the attempt to keep anything from getting done that Obama or the Democrats could use to show progress.
This week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took this to new heights by actually filibustering his own bill. If ever we needed proof that the Republicans are more interested in playing politics than addressing the problems that face the American people, this has to be it. The hypocrisy is staggering. If I were the president, I’d let them stew in their own juices. The last election showed that the smoke and mirrors act was no longer fooling a majority of the electorate, yet they keep doubling down on their same old failed policies and talking points.
The GOP has long been entrenched in its ways, but if it continues to refuse to change with the times, it risks becoming irrelevant. Its members argue that they control the House, thus giving them some sort of mandate. I would argue that their success in House races stems more from their gerrymandering of congressional districts after the 2010 elections.
The election that brought us the tea party was more a product of who failed to vote than who did vote. The GOP numbers were relatively the same as the 2008 election, whereas the votes for Democrats and independents were decidedly fewer. Unfortunately, the so-called tea party wave gave the GOP in the state-controlled legislatures the power to draw up state and federal districts. They drew them with a vengeance.
In Ohio, one need look no further than Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s 9th District. About three miles wide and 100 miles or so long, and in places connected only by a bridge, it is the poster child for gerrymandering. This creative drawing managed to pit two longtime Democratic legislators against each other while splitting the Democratic stronghold of Toledo into two districts, represented by two different representatives.
Thanks to this feat, my representative is now Bob Latta, one of the most useless Congressmen to ever draw breath. He can be counted on to vote no on virtually everything that isn’t ordered by the GOP bosses, the interests of his constituents be damned. His opponent, Angela Zimmann, carried the Lucas County portion of the 5th District and her portion of Ottawa County, previously part of Kaptur’s district. Out of the 16 representatives in Congress from Ohio, 12 went to the GOP, even though more Democratic votes were cast for Congressional candidates than Republican votes. It hardly seems like a representative democracy.
Keep in mind that this was in spite of the voter suppression tactics that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted pushed to the state Supreme Court, once again making Ohio electoral processes the subject of national derision.
To my mind, if you can’t win with your message, maybe you’ve got the wrong message. The election didn’t turn out as Republicans hoped. People turned out this time and stood in line for seven or more hours to cast their votes in some places. People seem to be catching on to what the stakes are when they fail to vote. The GOP may still control the House, but I have a feeling if it keeps trying to do “bidness as usual,” the 2014 midterm elections could get interesting.
Before the votes had all been counted, the pundits and journalists started handicapping the 2016 presidential election. The pundit money seems to be on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination versus an unnamed Republican candidate. It’ll be interesting to see if they can do better than the Cavalcade of Clowns they put up the last time before settling on a candidate that even they didn’t really like. Newt Gingrich has said that the GOP doesn’t have anyone who could go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, and truth be told, there seems to be a lot of Clinton nostalgia these days. Yep, things could be interesting for the next few years.
Email columnist Don Burnard at email@example.com.