Monday, February 18, 2013

Bovine Obstruction

There's something to be said for standing up for one's beliefs. There's also something to be said about bovine-level stupidity and ignorance of the facts.

As we noted at the end of last Friday's commentary, and as Sen. John McCain confirmed on the talking heads shows over the weekend, Chuck Hagel will likely be confirmed as America's next Secretary of Defense. That confirmation is as it should be, because Hagel is, as noted by many including McCain himself, more than qualified for the job of SecDef.

That fact is something that people like Nebraska's embarrassment of a junior U.S. Senator, Deb Fischer, still seems to be actively ignoring, even when it's about to run them over. However, that kind of bovine ignorance is also a convenient opportunity for us to once again knock down the growing chorus of fools making the same old false equivalence between those on the political left and right.

Steve Benen observed that hypocrisy on Friday, pointing out that during nearly the entire Bush/Cheney administration, "Americans were told pretty consistently for seven years that to publicly question the Commander in Chief or stand in the way of his national security agenda was offensive, if not outrageous." Then, as if by magic, the attitude of the Republican Party changed on January 20, 2009. That we are still at war quite obviously doesn't seem to matter to some Republicans now.

Our nation is also currently facing challenges like budgetary issues, a broken immigration system, and severe economic inequality, challenges that are equally as dangerous to America's success as Al-Qaeda has ever been - and just as susceptible to obstructionism. Yet many Republicans in Congress today, constantly preening for their next appearance on Fox or right-wing talk radio, seem to be too busy to move forward on any real legislative work that might defend against these new enemies.

The sad thing is, as Greg Sargent notes, is that Republicans can easily win some of the fights going on in Congress - like the budget battle over the sequester. The sequester isn't just some fiction that Congressional aides have created to scare Congresspersons and make headlines. There will likely be a real and serious economic cost to shrinking our government so suddenly - an economic penalty that Americans do not need to pay.

Yet, even while there are a few Republicans in Congress who appear to be successfully working together on issues like universal background checks for guns and immigration reform, there are those like Sen. Lindsey Graham who would rather take away health care coverage from 30 million Americans than do his job to find budgetary compromise with Democrats that can pass both houses.

The battles that are going on in Congress - like those over the minimum wage - are, as Forbes' Rick Ungar correctly points out, "the perfect stage for expressing the core philosophical differences that exist" between the left and right in America today.

Whether America chooses to move wisely past those differences towards progress as we find compromise with each other where we can, or whether our legislators continue insisting on pointless bovine obstruction - like that seen during the Hagel confirmation delay - is really the most important choice that faces us today.

Let's just say we're more optimistic about some the decisions of some of our fellow Americans than others.