Monday, March 4, 2013

No Communications Problem Here

“It is impossible to make a man understand something if his livelihood depends on not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair
Columnist E.J. Dionne wrote a great commentary piece over the weekend, comparing the Catholic church and the American political system. While many American Catholics will likely ignore Dionne's commentary as swiftly as they ignore the facts in the U.S. politics, we think his commentary was thought-provoking - even if we can't agree with the conclusion he made.

For a number of years now, we've been part of wide ranging discussion on the political left about what the major malfunction is of many figures on the political right. Are they stupid - or evil? Are they bad people - or simply bad at their jobs? Would teaching them the real, objective facts of a given situation really make a difference in the world?

Over the weekend, quite by accident, those on the political right - led by top GOP political consultant Mike Murphy - showed columnist Ezra Klein, and the rest of us too, exactly what the answers to those questions are, and why the Republican Party should no longer be worth paying any attention to.

In a prolonged online discussion with Klein and others, Murphy proved that no matter what President Obama is willing to do, Republicans and so-called conservatives will always move the goalposts so that compromise with Obama is impossible.

It's not just Murphy who has this problem with self-defeating hypocrisy, but also Republican leaders in both the media and on Capitol Hill.

Conservative commentator Reihan Salam this past weekend insisted that if President Obama would just lower the top corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%, and loosen all regulations, the economy would explode. Of course, Salam forgets that in 2010, President Obama went to the House Republican retreat - the proverbial trip to the lion's den - and offered to cut the top corporate tax rate to twenty-five percent. Obama has continued to push the idea of lowering the top corporate tax rate, even through the campaign last year,  though the President has also insisted  that corporations would have to lose the tax loopholes they use to cheat the system if that rate drop were to occur. That key fact seems to have either slipped Salam's mind - or he is simply too obdurate to accept reality.

As we noted, Republicans currently in Congress have the same problem.

Regardless of what their actions since 2000 have demonstrated, Republican Party leaders have continued to insist that deficits and debt are the most important things the federal government needs to focus upon, and that cutting spending is the ONLY way to get to that goal.  Even though a Republican President and Republican-led House and Senate put two wars, Medicare Part-D, and major tax cuts for the wealthy on the proverbial credit card of the United States - while exploding both the federal deficit and debt - as soon as President Obama took over, Republicans blamed him for all of their mess.

In response to this hypocrisy, President Obama shrunk the deficit every year he's been in the White House - a fact only 6% of Americans know. Further, thanks to smart budget compromises reached by President Obama Congressional Democrats - as well as the brutal Republican sequester - projected deficits over the next decade have now been reduced by nearly $4 trillion, which is exactly what Republicans have long insisted their goal has always been.

So now that the deficit problem is effectively solved - the goal that Republicans have claimed for years as more important than any other item - will they be happy? As the words and actions of Murphy, Salam, and the House GOP leaders prove, of course they won't.

It's quite obvious then - especially in light of Murphy's revealing discussion with Klein - that no matter what anyone else does or says, there is no realistic solution to governing our nation at the federal level that most Republicans are willing to accept.

If there's no trusting the GOP and conservatives, and no satisfying them, and no compromise is possible with them, then why should any good, wise, sensible, patriotic American care what Republicans claim they want from government anymore? By refusing to face reality, Republicans have already shut themselves out of any realistic opportunity to lead and govern responsibly.