6 days to go: A Plea to moderates thinking about voting GOP

While it’s true that this election will turn on how many people turn out at the polls, most races will be close enough that a few votes in one direction or another could make a huge difference. It is with that in mind that I want to direct this post to moderate voters who are thinking of voting for a Republican.

If you consider yourself to be a moderate voter, and you’re thinking of voting for any Republican this year, you really should reconsider. There are few of our political ills that can’t be traced directly to the current incarnation of the Republican Party.  You can’t possibly have really looked at the GOP’s recent record in making your choice, because their record is absolutely wretched. They look clean-cut and they look like nice people, but they’re not. They have demonstrated that they don’t care about the American people at all; they only care about winning. If you consider yourself a person with a conscience, re-think your decision.

Consider the country’s level of debt, which they pretend to obsess about, albeit only when Democrats are in the White House. But the reason the deficit and debt are so huge is because of them. We had a balanced budget before Bush was selected by the Republican Supreme Court, and no one was complaining about their tax bill. But Bush, Jr. cut taxes for the very rich, started two wars without paying for them, and exploded the deficit, even before he broke the economy and made it even worse. Even when Republicans “fixed” Medicare, they did so without paying for the fix, and it took Democrats to fix that.

The current Republican Party has demonstrated that it couldn’t care less about anyone except the very rich. Consider their current record in Congress. The 112th Congress was the worst in history, and the 113th is shaping up to be even worse. And all of it can be traced to the intransigence of the GOP and its teabagger wing. Since the Republicans took charge of Congress in January 2011, the Legislative Branch has slowed to a crawl, and all of the improvements in economic growth can be tied to the Obama Administration trying to work around the major budget cuts Republicans have insisted on. While it is Republican tradition to blame the president for the economy, Congress (mainly the House) controls the purse strings, and their constant cutting are what’s creating a drag on things. States are getting less money, which means they’ve had to lay off nearly one million workers, including teachers, police, firefighters, EMTs, health inspectors and many others we depend on. Not only do such cuts increase unemployment, but they also reduce revenues, because people who are laid off don’t pay taxes, and actually colect unemployment. Even if they find a job elsewhere, it will likely be for less pay, which means less tax revenue. Their refusal to increase the minimum wage also reduces potential revenues and contributes to the deficit, which is two-thirds smaller than it was in 2009, but which is still too high.

The current GOP House has largely spent the last four years wasting taxpayers’ money with their obstructionism, and it should make every single taxpayer mad as hell. Why would anyone who cares about the country vote to reward that?

n 2010, they were hired by voters to create jobs, but they don’t even know what a jobs bill is. Have you seen their list of “jobs bills”? Most of those aren’t jobs bills, and every one that creates a few jobs costs more in subsidies than we would make in revenues. Meanwhile, bills like the American Jobs Act, which may have created 2 million jobs or more, and several transportation bills, which could have fixed our crumbling infrastructure and created millions of jobs, were ignored.

Congressional Republicans don’t have time to create jobs, or pass laws for the betterment of society, but they do have the time to vote 55 times (might be more; I lost count) to kill Obamacare. They have also managed to find the time to pass hundreds of bills they knew had absolutely no chance of becoming law. They complain mightily about the Democrats’ lack of “bipartisanship,” but they passed hundreds of bills knowing they wouldn’t pass the Senate. At what point over four years do you work with the Senate on a compromise? They didn’t pass a budget for four years because they passed budget bills they knew would never get through the Senate. That included a couple that would have ended Medicare as we know it and replaced it with a voucher program.

The Republican Congressional majority voters elected in 2010 has turned out to be the least effective in modern history. The 112th Congress has passed a near-record-low 194 bills, 49 of which (25%) renamed post offices or courthouses. Unless there is a flurry of activity in the last few weeks of the year, the 113th Congress will actually beat that record for futility. So far, they’re up to 185, although close to 20% of them are bills to name things again. To put those numbers into perspective, no Congress in the post-war era has ever passed fewer than 300 bills.  The 111th Congress – the one the GOP replaced because it was supposedly ineffective – managed to create 383 laws, including Obamacare, the stimulus and a fair number of jobs bills – and they did so despite the fact that Republican Senators blocked 375 bills passed by the Democratic House. If they end up with a Senate majority, expect that 185 to be a pipe dream. Bills don’t become laws unless they pass the House AND the Senate AND are signed by the President.

Then, there is their complete irresponsibility regarding the debt ceiling. Many congressional Republicans don’t even seem to understand what the debt ceiling is. It has no actual relation to the debt; it has to do with making payments on the debt. Thinking that defaulting on the debt reduces said debt is like imagining that not making the minimum payment on your credit card reduces your credit card balance. And they have doubled down on their ignorance several times culminating in last year’s government shutdown, which not only inconvenienced millions, but which also cost the government $24 billion.

However, nothing says incompetent like the fact that 144 Republicans — during the government shutdown, no less — actually voted to default on the National Debt. That happened a year ago this month, and the electorate is going to reward them?

And please don’t tell me “both parties do this stuff,” because it’s not true. The GOP’s political shenanigans has gone well beyond simple political posturing. The Republican Party has made Congress completely dysfunctional. They repeatedly sell the American people out so they can win elections, and the only exceptions to the extremists running the party have largely either been defeated in primaries, retired, or become conservative Democrats. If you want to know why there are more Blue Dogs, well, now you know. They’re politicians without a party.

For two straight Congresses, we have seen record obstruction, and it’s been rare that any Republican has broken with the party on anything, so spare me the “few bad apples” arguments. The entire party has been taken over by teabaggers, and the only way to stop them is to make sure only Democrats win for awhile, which will allow the GOP to cleanse the bad apples, and force the far right into their own far corner of the electorate, where they belong.

If you’re a moderate of any type, and you’re voting for any Republican, you are actually contributing to the ineffectiveness of government and the degradation of our nation. This needs to stop. Vote Democrat this year and in 2016, and for a while longer, until we get a responsible GOP back again.

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