Monday, July 11, 2011

Caught Between Facts And Fiction

It was no surprise to us over the weekend when Republican House Speaker John Boehner began to buckle, showing both his acknowledgement of reality and the fact that his recent bravado - like that of most of the Congressional GOP leadership - has been little more than lies and bragging.

The recent claims about America's debt ceiling from those on the American political right may have played in the media as rhetorical red meat for the far-right regressives. The truth, however, is something we're certain even Mr. Boehner is well aware of.

Sadly, we're not sure everyone in Congress is aware of that truth - especially some of those who've tried to straddle the fence, like Nebraska's U.S. Senator Ben Nelson.

The truth is, one of the two competing interests for our budget priorities is nothing more than a bully pretending to be a gunslinger - and that bully has no real ammunition.

In order for Republicans to win the seat in 2012 that Nelson now occupies, the Nebraska GOP will have to find someone who is honest and personable, and not an extremist - yet who can still win the Republican primary race. Since that kind of person doesn't currently exist, we're not as worried as we might be otherwise, that a loopy regressive might take over Nelson's seat - and leave all non-Republican Nebraskans without legitimate representation in either the U.S. House or Senate.

Still - there's no guarantee that Nelson couldn't lose his seat in 2012. He certainly did himself no favors last week.

In case you missed it, Sen. Nelson came out last Wednesday and squarely planted himself in a no-win position on the issue of the debt ceiling and budget negotiation.

Like most Democrats, Nelson insisted on protecting Medicare and Social Security from the kinds of attacks that Congressional Republicans have been threatening lately. For that, we applaud him for remaining loyal to his previously stated claims and values. However, Sen. Nelson - much like his friends in the GOP - also refused to acknowledge the reality that our country is simply not pulling in enough revenue for all the things we have already committed ourselves to.

The commitment our society and government made long ago to provide Social Security and Medicare isn't one that is short-term.

On the other hand, tax cuts for the wealthy who are NOT using the money to create jobs in America - who, in fact, are more willing to invest in the war zone that is Mexico right now, than to create jobs here in the U.S. - were never supposed to be permanent.

One of these two ideas will have to fall in order for us to solve the budget and economic problems we have. If Sen. Nelson - or the Republican leadership - were being honest with themselves, they'd come out and admit that giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations didn't generate jobs over the last decade, and it's obviously not going to do it now.

The problem with this budget debate, especially from those on the political right, is the same problem this country is having with unemployment, as Paul Krugman pointed out over the weekend, and again today. It's also the same problem that Sen. Nelson will be facing with the debt ceiling issue as we head into 2012.

The problem doesn't appear to be as much our system, as it is the emotional need for some of our so-called leaders to lie to themselves - and to us. It isn't a question of whether we can do this - it's a question of whether we have the will.

No comments:

Post a Comment