Almost five years ago today, Barack Obama was sworn into office as President of these United States. The electorate consisted of the most racially and ethnically diverse group in U.S. history. Blacks, Hispanics and Asians accounted for unprecedented share of the presidential vote. Younger voters aka Millennials, Generation Y and women helped push Barack Hussein Obama over the finish line.
On the same day of the inauguration, a cabal of Republicans met with GOP pollster (more accurately strategist/propagandist) Frank Luntz to plot the demise of this president even if they have to take down the country to do it. At the meeting, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said, "We've gotta challenge them on every single bill ... Show united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies."
Without batting an eye, this whole group supported the Bush/Cheney Jan. 2008 stimulus; bailing out Bear Stearns; bailing out AIG; the Sept. 2008 TARP (Toxic Asset Relief Program) and also the Oct. 2008 TARP despite the massive spending this entailed. Not a peep about reckless spending, unsustainable debt or stealing from our children and grandchildren. Those special sound bites were reserved for Obama's stimulus.
With the changing of the guard, McCarthy's game plan "to challenge them on every single bill" is in play. They were all for Bush/Cheney's stimulus proposals until it was Obama's. In lockstep and as designed at their secret meeting, they showed "united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies."
They opposed ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They tried to block the GM bailout. They fought tooth and nail to kill the Affordable Care Act even though it was a Republican idea crafted by the Heritage Foundation. It was they who hatched the idea of the individual mandate. The mandate was a good idea then. Today, it is not only socialism but an impingement on freedom and un-Constitutional. They successfully killed the American Jobs Act which would have put millions to work. They even blocked a $1 billion Veterans jobs bill which would have put Veterans to work on federal lands, and at local police and fire departments. They prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from coming to a vote. It was designed to enable women to find out if they were unfairly paid.
They disapproved of the Lilly Ledbetter Act which, eliminates the statute of limitations for litigating salary discrimination. They blocked a bill which would provide cost of living (COLA) increases to disabled veterans and the spouses and children of deceased veterans. They savaged Sandra Fluke for advocating insurance covered contraception, which is not only essential to family planning but critical in many women's health issues. Meanwhile they have no problem with Medicare paying for Viagra. Billionaire GOP donor Foster Friess said women should practice birth control by holding an aspirin between their knees. Republican Todd Akin said pregnancy is impossible with "legitimate rape."
More recently, Democrats under duress from deficit reduction demands by Republicans, cut SNAP by $4 billion. The GOP wanted a $40 billion cut over 10 years. SNAP is a food program for veterans, seniors and children. They forced a government shutdown over demands to defund Obamacare. This caused many jobs to be lost, furloughed many workers, created undue hardship and uncertainty and cost the U.S. $24 billion in lost productivity.
The latest doozy is letting the Unemployment Benefit Extension expire on Dec. 28. On that subject, Tea Party darling Rand Paul said, "You do a disservice to these workers. You're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy."
Spoken like a man who has never experienced such adversity in his life. Perhaps that is why they want $40 billion cut from SNAP. It would be a disservice to veterans, seniors and children to perpetuate such a program. How will they ever learn to be responsible?
Many draconian Republican policy ideas, misogynistic views and Troglodytic attitudes coincided with the emergence of the Tea Party. As reflected in the 2012 elections, the Republican party is rapidly losing favor amongst the youth, women, minorities, middle class and the college educated.
So what are Republicans doing about garnering favor from this ever-growing demographic? In the Future of Conservatism summit, they concluded that conservatives do not need to change their message, but need to do a better job at communicating their message. They want to communicate that they really care about the other 98 percent. Judging by their actions, they don't have a communication problem. They have a policy problem.