Republicans Up to Some of Their Old (and Some New) Tricks

by admingene on January 7, 2013

There they go again.  Just when you thought they couldn’t get much worse, the Republicans in the U.S. Congress, and other “leading” conservatives have, in the past few weeks, exhibited behavior that has given them the well-earned designation as the “Party of No,” the party that puts Americans at risk, and the party that exposes us to embarrassment in the rest of the world.  Here are four recent examples that defy logic and common sense.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 38 Republicans voted against a United Nations treaty requiring two-thirds approval for ratification that will bring the rest of the world up to the standards already codified into law in the United States; namely, that people with disabilities have the same rights as people without disabilities.  The treaty was modeled on the U.S. law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush.  Former Republican Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole was on the Senate floor, urging his party to approve the treaty.  But 38 Republican Senators, following a ridiculous argument most vociferously put forward by Rick Santorum, decided that the treaty somehow would infringe on American sovereignty and that, as noted in the N.Y. Times, “United Nations bureaucrats would be empowered to make decisions about the needs of disabled children.”  Hard to believe that a majority of Republican senators still feel we should not be part of the U.N.  Obviously, these senators would have been happier when they could oppose President Wilson and the League of Nations.

At the end of 2012, Republicans in the House of Representatives did not vote on renewing the Violence Against Women Act because Majority Leader Eric Cantor objected to provisions that extended protections to Native American women.  I wonder if that was really his objection or if his opposition actually stemmed from the fact that the version of the bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate extends domestic violence protection to LGBT individuals and undocumented immigrants, as well as Native Americans.  Fortunately, it now appears that there may be enough Republicans in the House to pass the bill in the new Congress, once the Senate passes it again.  Aren’t you glad the Republicans haven’t been waging a war on women?

At the end of 2012, the Senate passed a bill authorizing $60 billion in relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York.  Speaker Boehner, however, refused to allow the bill to come to the floor of the House for a vote.  After numerous attacks from Republicans and Democrats in those two states, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calling Speaker Boehner and House Republicans “disgraceful,” the House finally passed an approximately $9 billion package for expanded flood relief, with a promise to vote on the other $51 billion on January 15.  Once again, Republicans in the House put their obsessive goal of reducing government above the needs of the people.

Finally (for now), we have that bastion of modern conservatism, the National Rifle Association.  The NRA used to be an organization interested in gun safety and the education of Americans in the safe and proper use of firearms.  No more.  Their outrageous suggestion to turn every school in America into an armed camp, defies logic and intelligence.  Unless, of course, you view the world as best served when we all behave as they did in Tombstone in the late 1800’s.  Yup, let ‘em shoot it out to decide any and all disputes.  To the NRA, life should be a B-movie western from the 1930’s.

One would think that after losing the Presidential election, having fewer seats in the Senate and the House, and having more Americans vote for Democratic House candidates than Republican ones (Republicans retained their House majority because of effective gerrymandering), Republicans might be open to ideas that would make them more appealing to the majority of Americans.  One, however, would be wrong.

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