Whatever you may believe about the 111th Congress, they have been more productive than not in the past 20 months. Among their accomplishments: ARRA, health care reform, financial regulatory reform, and credit card reform.
It is also true that these legislative accomplishments were less than the ideal envisioned by many in 2008. After round after round of Republican obstruction, stalling, and Conservadem enabling, they were hammered compromises, imperfect. Still, they represent forward movement toward some restored prosperity for the middle class.
This is the 111th Congress. Midterms will bring the 112th, which can be better than the 111th, or infinitely worse. The Republicans are working hard to push us back into the feudal age, where a few overlords control the wealth, land, and power and the rest of us are at their mercy. They almost succeeded until 2008, when the agenda was interrupted. They mean to resume that agenda in 2010 with the single goal of discrediting the President and dispiriting Democrats, liberals and progressives at the same time.
Anti-American is the new black
Sharron Angle has launched the first salvo in the "enemies of the State" campaign:
HARRIS: They have gone back to almost a year ago, dug through a conversation you had with my buddy Bill Manders up there in Reno, the big talker up there, where he said that we have domestic enemies and he thinks some of them are in the walls of the Senate and Congress, and you agreed with him. Did you agree with him?
ANGLE: Well, we were talking about what's going on in Congress, of course, and the policies that have come out of Congress, and those policies as we've all seen over the last 18 months have definitely hurt our country.
This closely mirrors Michele Bachmann's idiotic statement during the 2008 campaign about some people in Congress being "anti-American". In 2008, that statement earned her opponent nearly one million dollars to fund his campaign. In 2010, it's barely making a blip on the landscape.
The GOP echo chamber, fueled by Fox News, conservative book-pimpers, Rand Paul, and Rush Limbaugh has picked up on the theme and whipping a frothy stew of hatemongering and fear.
The reason the right wing is steeped in churning anger and anxiety: There is no plan to do anything after Republicans are elected. This has been confirmed by Mitch McConnell's silence when asked directly and Rep. Jim Jordan's response that they would simply set the framework for 2012.
JORDAN: If we win, what will we get done? Mostly, I’ll be honest, most of what we can get done is have the big fight, have the big debate, and have the framework for the 2012 election.
We know what they won't do. They won't work on climate legislation, clean energy initiatives, reasonable budget initiatives, or anything else much.
What they will do: Subpoena, Hold hearings, Accuse, Repeat
It's the only campaign promise Michele Bachmann is willing to make, but the chief subpoena issuer would be Darrell Issa, a good friend of former Citizens United chairman Floyd Brown, who now spends his days calling for the impeachment of Barack Obama on a daily basis via several websites with URLs like impeachobamanow.com. Floyd Brown wants to impeach Obama because he doesn't like him. Darrell Issa wants to harass Obama just like the Republicans under Newt Gingrich harassed Bill Clinton. For these guys, it's not a question of substance. It's all about power.
Issa is a more than a little drunk with power after his successful ouster of Gray Davis. Impeachment to Issa is nothing more than a recall, and Republicans use recall elections routinely as the big stick to punish errant politicians who do not do the bidding of the rich and the powerful.
Issa has told Republican leadership that if he becomes chairman, he wants to roughly double his staff from 40 to between 70 and 80. And he is not subtle about what that means for President Barack Obama.
At a recent speech to Pennsylvania Republicans here, he boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins 39 seats, and he gets the power to subpoena.
“That will make all the difference in the world,” he told 400 applauding party members during a dinner at the chocolate-themed Hershey Lodge. “I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.”
In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration — a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals.
A response is required
Via The Hill:
Make no mistake, the party of Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy is so punch drunk with the lust for power and so dependent on extremist supporters who pursue the politics of hate that the party that is no longer the party of Lincoln is virtually bragging about the abuses power they intend to perform if the given the power to do so. This is a Republican Party that is dangerously dependent on extremist factions that view America as a place where opponents are demonized, where even Democratic war heroes have their patriotism attacked by those who never served in the military, and where opponents are not treated as patriotic Americans with differing views but as enemies of the state.
Voters do not want Washington to become a snake pit of political vendettas and partisan persecutions, paid for with taxpayer dollars and abusing the institutions of government.
The Democratic base will rouse against it.
Political independents will not stand for it.
The American people will not accept it.
Action items: Vote, and get out the vote.
The hard right thinks we scare easy--when what we need is to coffee up and do more Get Out the Vote drives. We can do this. Yes We Can. We did it before, only now it's a little easier because the ground work has been laid. The time for bed-wetting and hand-wringing is over.
I think we've heard enough from the hard right. There's nothing new there, and certainly no solutions to the problems we face. In fact, I think it's possible, as well as mentally healthy, to tune out the noise from here til November 2, 2010, and focus on influencing the people in your circle and getting them to the polls.
Ultimately it comes to that. If liberals, progressives and Democrats show up and vote, the 112th Congress can continue the work of the 111th. If we don't show up for the vote, it'll just be subpoenas and efforts to discredit the president to lay a foundation for a conservative victory in 2012. A conservative victory is a corporate victory, which is no victory at all for the middle class.