Republicans: the Party of Stop

They are against the social safety net: social security, unemployment insurance, any form of government guaranteed health insurance or care that doesn’t already exist, and they long to go after what does. They fought gay rights, they fight gay marriage, they oppose the repeal of DADT. If they had their way there would be no Departments of Energy or Education, and you know it’s true – Labor, Housing and Urban Development or Health and Human Services. No Commission on Civil Rights, no EPA, no FDA. National Endowment for the Arts? Endow your own art. National Endowment for the Humanities? A secular humanist conspiracy. I used to joke that I hadn’t yet come to terms with turning 30, when I already found myself turning 40. In the twenty-first century, American conservatives are still trying to turn back the twentieth.

The sum of their vision of human and social advancement (wait – why advance?) is no government (or as close as we can get), no taxes, and freedom (of enterprise: all else will follow, or not, as the case may be). Oh, and God. (Mine, not yours.)

And leave me alone.

Rather than a vision of what might be, contemporary conservatism is motivated by a remembrance of what wasn’t. Be here now? Please. Way back when. Don’t go. Stop.

Everything. Just stop. Anything the President wants to do. No. Even if it’s what they once did. Now? Stop.

From Leslie H. Gelb, on Republican efforts to block the new START treaty.

The new nuclear arms treaty hangs in the balance as Senator Kyl moves to deny Obama a political victory—even if he damages U.S. national security.

Cast aside any doubts. There seems to be nothing Republicans won’t do to deny President Obama a political success at home—even if it means jeopardizing U.S. national security. Namely, future relations with Russia. To be specific, Republicans, led by Senator Jon Kyl, look as though they are trying to kill the new strategic-arms limitation treaty between Russia and the United States.

Their arguments—against the treaty, which sets lower limits on nuclear arms held by the two nuclear giants and reestablishes critical American inspection rights inside Russia—are totally without merit. That’s a charge I hardly ever level because it’s so serious. But in this case, it is more than justified. Signed about six months ago, the treaty does not do a great deal to curb nuclear arms on either side. But it is the essential element in efforts by Obama to “reset,” or firm up and increase the benefits of, relations with Russia. To put it simply, Russia can still do us significant harm or good on issues like Iran. And if the White House can’t deliver a treaty ratified by at least 67 Senate votes, Moscow will write off the United States. As Obama said on Thursday, passage of the treaty this year is a “national-security imperative.”

That’s not idle presidential chatter. His words are backed by the most senior and experienced Americans, Republicans and Democrats, who have worked in the most important positions for presidents of the United States for decades. This star-studded list includes: James A. Baker, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen, William Perry, and on and on. With all due respect, Senator Kyl, your knowledge of national security does not compare well to this roster. Virtually every former top security official, with the exception of Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, back this treaty. That alone should tell you something, everything, about what Kyl is really up to. But as my mother always urged, let’s look at the facts.

Read the rest of Gelb for those facts.

Consider, too, that President Obama invited the incoming Republican majority leadership to the White House to talk. Usually in such circumstances – the nation’s chief executive, its head of state, invites, members of government, citizens, say yes. They come. The Republicans were too busy. They said no. Incoming Speaker Boehner used the time to hold a news conference and say, too, stop. The Republicans are going to do all they can to repeal the new health care legislation.

That would be, just so you know, stop for you, not stop for them.

Representative-elect Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican and anesthesiologist, beat his incumbent Democratic opponent by campaigning against the terror of universal socialized medicine. Despite the fact that his opponent voted against healthcare reform, Harris insisted that once elected he would vote to repeal healthcare reform. Now he is elected! And he was shocked to learn that his free, taxpayer-funded, government-run healthcare won’t kick in until 28 days after he’s sworn in. This made him upset!

“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange.

Stop laughing. Really.


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