Monday, November 08, 2010

Bad and good

I said in my previous post that “there’s a lot of bad stuff that will happen, and a lot of good stuff that won’t,” and in this post, I’ll elaborate on that comment. As a liberal Democrat, I have a particular perspective. If you’re expecting “balance”, look for a journalist, because I’m not one and have no obligation to do other than to call ‘em as I see ‘em—and I will.

I don’t expect anything good to come from the next Congress, though I sincerely hope that I’m wrong. Politically, a stridently partisan, rigidly ideological US House would be the best thing that could happen because it would guarantee a Democratic majority in 2012—Republicans fiddling while America burns, and all that. However, that would be the worst possible thing for America and the world beyond, so I fervently hope that progress will be made. I just doubt very much that can happen.

In any case, there are some bad things that will certainly happen.

In the US House, Republicans’ top priority is a grandstanding attempt to repeal healthcare reform, something they know full well cannot succeed. They promise to attempt it over and over and over again. They also pledge to deny funding to key parts of healthcare reform. Some Republican members even promise endless “investigations” into the Obama Administration, apparently supercharged versions of their witch hunts over Hillary Clinton’s imaginary misuse of the White House Christmas Card list, for which Republicans wasted 140 hours and millions of taxpayer dollars. Imagine that nonsense multiplied exponentially.

They also plan “investigations” into what Republicans say is the “global warming hoax”—meaning, nothing will happen on climate change for another two years. Campaign finance reform is also dead. Republicans’ corporate masters made killing that a top priority, and they’ve succeeded. Net neutrality is also dead, again thanks to corporate campaigning.

But there are also good measures that are dead (unless they’re dealt with in the lame duck session):

Repeal of the anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is dead for two years. Despite a clear “super majority” of Americans favouring a repeal, Republicans in Congress don’t.

Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act: Republicans think the Act is a good idea that doesn’t go far enough; the party wants a Constitutional Amendment to permanently ban same-sex marriage. Some Republicans may grandstand on the issue, but the Senate will stop them.

Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): This cannot happen when the Republican caucus is so anti-gay. New teabagger Senator Rand Paul doesn’t think there should be any civil rights protections, and it’s a reasonable bet that the other teabaggers in the new Congress feel the same way.

Immigration equality: Comprehensive immigration reform is probably dead, since most Republicans used Hispanics as a wedge issue in the election; they’re not in a position to now champion reform. Even in the unlikely event they do, immigration equality for gay and lesbian Americans is dead. The committee that will oversee immigration bills is expected to be chaired by the rabidly anti-gay (and whackadoodle) Steve King of Iowa.

Those are a few of the issues that I care about that will be ignored in the rush to partisanship that we can expect from the Republicans. This is, of course, only the probable reality in the new Congress. If I’m right, it means we should start organising for 2012 now, while the Republicans are too busy playing “silly buggers” with America and its future. Then, after 2012, Democrats can make the people’s business the focus.

Meanwhile, why again is it that progressive voters stayed home? I seem to not be able to grasp their point.


Roger Owen Green said...

There is at least one provision of the health care bill which will and should be repealed, and it has nothing to do with health care. It requires companies to report to the IRS payments of more than $600 a year to any vendor. It's onerous, and its removal has White House support.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I'm certainly not saying that healthcare reform is perfect—it was far less than I wanted to see, so I obviously think it's imperfect. And President Obama has talked about fixing the bad things, as you point out. It's just that so far, Republicans are talking only about complete repeal, which I don't support.