The Republican Party has been worried that they will be tagged as “the Party of No” but I think they actually face a different worry, that they will be tagged as “the Party of Yes.” In their obstructionism to anything and everything that President Obama supports, they have put themselves into the unenviable situation of saying, repeatedly, “yes” to the status quo.
They defended the status quo on health care. They are currently defending the status quo on financial oversight. They will soon be defending the status quo on environmental policy. Even though millions of Americans lacked access to health care and its rising costs threaten to bankrupt the country. Even though better oversight might have prevented the economic meltdown from which the nation is just becoming to emerge. Even though the polar ice caps are melting.
Americans have short memories, but we remember where the country was when George W. Bush left office. We remember that the economy was hemorraghing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. We remember that we were engaged in two wars with no end to either in sight. We remember that important and urgent issues like health care reform and climate change legislation were unaddressed. We remember that our children would go to Europe and tell people they were Canadian.
We remember, too, that some Republicans, like John McCain, occasionally championed a social justice initiative, such as immigration reform. Not anymore. Democrat Howard Dean, when he was running for President in 2004, used to say that he represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Today, the GOP has lost control of itself to its wingnut wing. In an off-year election, when many voters stay home, the angry right might pick off some seats, but the GOP is forgetting that Americans are not an angry people and anger may sell for awhile but it does not wear well. Still, watching them filibuster the bill on financial reform on the same day that Goldman Sachs executives were hauled before a Senate committee is just plain stupid. That is what happens when you can’t stop saying “yes” to the status quo.