I really don’t understand why so many people who claim the title “Political Junkie” seem to think implying or saying that both parties are the same is a sign of intelligence, or some sort of political savvy. It’s actually a sign that you’re not really paying attention.
Oh, I know… many of us have been brainwashed over the years to believe that understanding both sides of an issue is a sign of intelligence, and that is true. But understanding both sides on an issue is completely different from claiming both sides of an issue are somehow equal. This is especially true these days, when it comes to the major political parties. If you can see any similarity between the two parties right now, you have one hell of an imagination. Here are just a few examples:
- Democrats have had two two-year periods of power since 1980. During the first two-year period, they set up the economy for the first period since the 1960s (the last time Democrats controlled government, by the way) that real incomes increased across the board and balanced the budget in the process. The second time, they prevented a Republican-led depression and got us on the road to universal health insurance.
- Republicans, on the other hand, have used their power in the other 32 years of that time frame to increase the defense budget, attempt to take apart the entire New Deal (which was the only thing that prevented the Bush Recession from becoming a Bush Depression, by the way.) Even the one thing Republicans have done right in that time was to add a prescription drug plan to Medicare, and that featured a number of “catches” that nearly bankrupted many seniors. Can you say “Donut Hole”? Of course, they have also tried numeroous times to destroy both Medicaid and Social Security.
- In the 111th Congress, the Republican minority in the Senate used filibuster rules to block 375 bills passed by the Democratic House. They even blocked bills Republicans introduced.
- Democrats only block those bills they find horrendous, and they have never blocked one of their own bills.
- Republicans have started three wars they could have avoided through diplomacy in the last 30 years.
- Democrats ended two of those.
- Democrats have never undermined a president because they disagree with his overall ideology and philosophy. Sometimes, they oppose him on individual issues, but never on everything.
- Twice now, Republicans have opposed everything a Democratic president did, even if a majority of the American people were behind it.
- Democrats banned assault weapons, and they proposed a universal background check bill.
- Republicans lifted the assault weapons ban and refused to even consider the background check bill, despite the fact that polls showed 90% of Americans were in favor.
- Democrats created and passed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Unemployment Insurance, Workers’ Comp , OSHA, the EPA, the FTC, the SEC, SNAP, AFDC and many other programs people have come to rely on. They also passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
- Like I said, I give Republicans credit for adding Part D to Medicare, but less than two years before, they also tried and failed to replace Medicare with private insurance, and they’ve tried to do the same several other times since. But they have also passed deep cuts to most of these programs and benefits, and they have tried to kill many of them multiple times. The Great Bush Recession was caused by their attempt to dismantle key parts of the New Deal.
- In the last four years, the Democratic White House and Democrats in Congress have proposed three major jobs bills – bills that would have created millions of jobs.
- In the last four years, Republicans in the House have refused to even debate those jobs bills, let alone hold a vote.
- Democrats keep submitting bills designed to build, repair or replace infrastructure.
- Republicans keep killing them.
Those are just a few things. Just within the last few weeks, they have passed several bills that they knew would be vetoed by the President. They continue to hold the nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General, primarily because the vote would pass, even though they also claim they hate Eric Holder being in the job.
I really could go on and on. I have gone on and on, actually. This blog is chock full of examples of differences between Republicans. For example, there is a list of President Obama’s Accomplishments in the White House. Good luck finding any modern Republican with a comparable record. There is also a post chock full of examples that show how incompetent Republicans are at running government. I have even compiled statistics that show definitively that Democrats and Republicans don’t get their money from the same sources, unless you believe unions, the Brady Center and trial lawyers are the same as oil companies, health insurance and the NRA.
All of this should be obvious. There are a few Democrats who have to play both sides a little bit. A LITTLE BIT. That does not make Democrats and Republicans the same. When Republicans vote en masse for a bill or a proposal, and a 6-10 Democrats join them, slamming the Democrats as “traitors” doesn’t make sense; it makes you sound insane, especially when the bill in question wouldn’t even exist if a Republican didn’t propose it in the first place. Targeting Blue Dogs rather than Republicans doesn’t make you politically savvy, it makes you politically daft. By targeting Blue Dogs, you helped teabaggers gain power, and I’m sorry, but that’s just insane. There isn’t a single Blue Dogs who isn’t a better choice than the best teabagger available, if such a thing exists.
Given their current state of ideological stridency, it is absolutely insane that anyone who follows politics even a little can see a similarity between the two major political parties. There is none right now. They have never been farther apart in our history. There is just no way Democrats would ever write a letter undermining any president’s foreign policy, even a Republican’s especially with nuclear policy in the balance, even if they disagreed with his approach, without at least discussing it with the administration first. Yet, Republicans are not only doing such things, they are bragging about it, as if they’ve done something patriotic. Seriously, if you don’t see a Grand Canyon’s worth of difference between the two parties right now, it’s because you’re simply not trying.
This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that by conflating the two parties as the same, you are helping Republicans win. Is helping the current extremist right wing GOP win a progressive value? Please say no…