Monday, August 5, 2013

Repetitive Notions

Repeating actions or ideas isn't always a bad idea, especially when you miss something the first time.

For example, the Dream Defender protestors that have occupied the Florida governor's offices for most of the last month kept up their repeated demands for the Florida Legislature to officially revisit the 'Stand Your Ground' laws this fall. After being beaten over the head for nearly a month with the same basic request, the Republican-led Florida House decided to bow to common sense on Friday, agreeing to officially revisit the law this fall.

If all Republican legislators would show that kind of good sense, chaos wouldn't be looming over Capitol Hill this fall. Sadly, common sense doesn't seem to be common at all among Republicans on the Hill.  Even in the face of opposition from their own party, some GOP extremists in Congress like Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Sen. Mike Lee continue to insist they'll shut down the Federal government in October unless they get everything they want.

That same kind of smashingly stupid repetition by House Republicans was on full display at the end of last week. For the FORTIETH time, Republicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacare, just before Congress members from both parties ran out of town for a five week recess, leaving massive amounts of work left undone.

As Rachel Weiner pointed out last week, those 40 votes in the House against Obamacare - or the 28 similar votes in the Senate - won't stop the Affordable Care Act from going into effect. That fortieth repeal vote didn't help the economy either - help that Friday's positive but disappointing jobs report showed our economy could really use.

As Steve Benen reported, most of the numbers in Friday's jobs report weren't bad - but they weren't great either. The July jobs report continued to make clear that Americans are still fighting the economic drag from unnecessary sequestration, while also fighting worries that the GOP Congress will blow up the debt ceiling and shut down the government when October comes.

If that scenario of Republicans threatening government shutdown while holding the debt ceiling hostage seems familiar to you, it should. It's a repeat of a similar situation Congressional Democrats and President Obama faced in 2011, as Greg Sargent pointed out late Friday afternoon.

Greg also hammered on an idea similar to one we've discussed before. If Democrats and President Obama can stand up to the extremists in the GOP, while splitting off enough sensible Republicans to vote with the Democrats on issues like jobs and infrastructure, Congress may yet be able to break this repetitive cycle of stupidity.

We wouldn't necessarily count on that repetition ending anytime soon, though.

As Ezra Klein noted on Friday, the GOP is fully engaged on a pyrrhic kamikaze mission to try to stop Obamacare, on all levels, and at all costs. As they did with that fortieth vote on Friday, GOP ideologues on the Hill are making it clear: They'd rather bash their own skulls in multiple times than admit defeat even once on the issue of universal health care insurance.

At least in that regard, Republicans in DC are doing a bang-up job.