promoted by Rosi
When the House GOP refused to take up relief for homeowners, businesses and local government reeling from Hurricane Sandy there was an outcry from the right, left, middle, up, down, around and many other aspirationally prepositional directions. It was stunning to see right wing stalwart Representative Peter King of New York suggest that anyone from NY or NJ (mentioning NJ at all was shocking) donating to Republicans was an idiot.
Less stunning but still noteworthy was Republican Presidential hopeful Chris Christie attacking House GOP leadership – folks he’ll need to get the nod in 2016 or 2020 – for abandoning his state.
Not stunning was that former maverick Leonard Lance (NJ-7) barely barked, though he did pose for group photos with people who did. This is a guy sold as a radically independent state Senator, and principled politician.
But that’s beside the point. What’s truly shocking is that anyone is surprised that the Republican House leadership refused to provide government help to people in need…
I was going to finish that sentence with “in three Northeastern blue states.” But they didn’t blow off voting for Sandy relief because we’re Democrats. Not because we like gay people, or at least think they should be treated as citizens. Not for opposing stupid wars, supporting entitlements, loving the New Deal and Great Society, etc.
Nope. They blew off a vote to provide life-saving support to devastated American citizens because they believe government should not do anything.
Ever since Ronald Reagan announced “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” Republicans have glowed with a fever that denies government can accomplish anything. (Leave aside that Reagan prefaced that remark with, “In our current crisis” and used government to solve other crises.)
The people in charge of the Republican Party and a vast majority of their rank and file simply believe that government in any form outside of the military, courts and benefits or entitlements they personally receive is an evil that must be eradicated.
And the LoBiondos, Kings, Christies of the world who are shocked – SHOCKED I TELLS YA! – that this perfidy is so prevalent on the right should be keelhauled. For three decades Americans have clamored for assistance after disasters not of their own making – natural, economic, market -and the GOP slammed the door in their faces. Occasionally Democrats sneak some bread and butter under said door, but for the most part the GOP succeeded in crushing our governments’ ability to respond at any level.
From time to time people involved in politics on the local level will trot out the old standard, “There’s not Democratic or Republican way to fill a pothole.”
The Democratic way to fill a pothole is to send public works out with an asphalt truck and patch the hole so private and commercial vehicles don’t get damaged and incur even greater costs than filling the pothole. No one is harmed, and no one notices.
The Republican way to fill a pothole is to lay off a public works employee, auction off the asphalt at below-market rates. They point to the pothole screaming how it’s proof government doesn’t work as two parents change a tire in sleeting rain as their kids cry in the back seat over missing the circus. Sadly, that family too often thinks such screaming is action and votes the Republicans back in power.
You’d expect after this Sandy debacle that outraged Republicans would consider making a change. Perhaps a small change like not supporting their current leadership, or speaking out when things are awry. Maybe a bigger change like backing candidates in primaries who are not beholden to the destructive side of the party but believe that while government should be limited, it still has a place. Or possibly a huge change like leaving the party as so many moderates have: Michael Bloomberg, Lincoln Chafee, Charlie Crist, Arlen Specter.
But it’s not going to happen. Peter King has already forgiven the leadership he attacked as bankrupt and heartless, and so many others are silent.
Maybe they got stuck in a Republican pothole on the way to the presser.