Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reality Bites

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." Stephen Colbert
2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

While the quote above is from the fictional character that writer and comedian Stephen Colbert plays on TV, it still has a ring of real truth to it.

With less than two weeks remaining until the 2010 midterm elections, money from anonymous sources continues to flow into the campaign coffers of candidates all over the country. While there is some flowing into war chests of both major parties, the overwhelming dollar amounts are flowing into Republican hands.

Like other observers of politics, we're not naive enough to think that those shadowy donors will remain anonymous after the elections. They'll expect political favors, as any donor always does. For example, the millions of individual donors to the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama didn't just cough up their hard-earned money two years ago because they didn't know what to do with the few dollars they had left when the Bush economic programs tanked.

For those Republicans who are certain that their side will at least win a majority in the House of Representatives, we think they're in for a rude awakening over the next two years if they expect the kind of change they propose.

If we simply look at the basic outline of the 2011 Federal budget, as syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson points out, where exactly do the supposed paragons of economic virtue in the Republican party plan on cutting?

Mandatory items - items that it would take a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress and the President to override - comprise two-thirds of the budget. So there won't be any cutting going on there. What's left are a long list of supposedly discretionary items - like food inspection and air traffic control - as well as items that the Republican Party leadership has already put "off-limits" from potential cuts, including military spending and homeland security.

As we've said before, anyone who posesses basic math skills is aware that if no serious cuts are allowed, the government will have to find additional revenue - which means raising taxes, even to a small degree, if the budget is to look like Republican and Tea Party candidates claim they want it to be.

The invisible donors of millions won't be the only ones looking to string up Republican lawmakers if the GOP wins a Congressional majority. Those on the far right who claim to want the health care insurance reform law killed will also be livid in two years if their unrealistic demands aren't met - which they won't be. Some Congressional Republicans have already admitted that repeal of the health care insurance reform law won't happen, no matter who wins.

We wish all of our potential legislators good luck in achieving any goals that will move this country forward. But we'd be remiss if we didn't remind them: if you insist on pouring blood in the water, don't be surprised if you get bit when you swim with the sharks.

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