National Commentary

A Very Bad Week for the GOP

bentonmugHow the worm has turned! Just the shortest time ago, things were looking so bleak for the Democrats in the fall mid-term elections that even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was suggesting his party might lose control of Congress in November.

bentonmugHow the worm has turned! Just the shortest time ago, things were looking so bleak for the Democrats in the fall mid-term elections that even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was suggesting his party might lose control of Congress in November.

But yesterday’s signing into law of sweeping financial reforms by President Obama has signaled the reversal of all that.

Actually, the decisive tip-off came last Sunday morning, when NBC’s “Meet the Press” gathered the heads of the two parties’ congressional campaign committees. Over the course of that memorable hour, it became clear that the Republican “Party of No” leadership had absolutely nothing to say about how it would run things any differently than what the dismally-failed Bush administration did.

To the amazement of the show’s moderator, David Gregory, the two Republican spokemen, Rep. Pete Sessions and Sen. John Cornyn, had no specific proposals to offer as to what remedies they plan to campaign on in the fall.

The closest Sessions came was when he said, “We need to go back to the exact same agenda that is empowering the free enterprise system, rather than diminishing it.”

Democrats leaped all over that broadcast, firing up their Internet blast machine to  spread far and wide not what their commentaries, corrections or calls for retractions were, but the actual unfiltered videos of Sessions and Cornyn speaking.

Following that debacle for the GOP came two more poignant developments this week.

First, the GOP made page one headlines across the U.S. for its last-ditch efforts at preventing an extension of unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. How heartless and indifferent can one party be?

Second, President Obama’s triumphant signing of the most sweeping reform of the nation’s financial system in decades yesterday was clearly a victory for the average American against the wanton greed and excesses of Wall Street, such that it has reset the entire national political landscape.

Among other things, the new law turns over proverbial stones to shine the light of full disclosure on those ugly, squirming financial practices that have festered in the dark, secretive corridors of global derivative trading. The meltdown of that process was the primary cause that brought the world to the brink of global financial Armageddon in 2008 and caused the savings of millions of Americans to evaporate.

It didn’t take perfection in financial reform to make what will become huge changes in the lives of average Americans, and the same is true for the sweeping health care reform effort and the Democrats’ tireless work to stimulate the economy to prevent the further job losses and to begin turning the situation around.

The American public is beginning to add all this up. They’re hearing the Republicans, including their Tea Party right flank, apologizing to British Petroleum for the nation’s anger over the worst man-made environmental disaster in history.

They’ve heard the GOP crying as the apologists for Wall Street’s greed and deception that led to the liquidation of billions of average investment accounts.

They’ve seen the GOP try to deny fundamental needs of millions of Americans dependent on unemployment insurance because the Bush administration drove the nation over the cliff into the Great Recession.

And now, they’re beginning to understand that the GOP’s on-going opposition to health care reform is aimed at denying an extension of coverage to offspring in families, to denying coverage to persons with preexisting conditions, and other horrors of the old system.

Just a month ago, the leading Republicans were crowing that they’d retake a majority in the Congress this fall by “tightening the health care reform noose” around the necks of Democrats. Only the most foolish among their ranks are saying such things now.

“Are they really going to campaign to deny coverage to millions of Americans this fall,” a leading Democrat said. “I’d love to see what a stump speech about that would sound like in real life.”

No wonder Sessions and Cornyn had absolutely nothing to say on “Meet the Press” last Sunday. As the exasperated moderator David Gregory scolded them, “Can’t you understand people will see that (the GOP’s—ed.) as a strategy of saying no rather than saying yes to something?”

 


Nicholas Benton may be emailed at [email protected]