Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, Same Old GOP

As 2014 begins, our staff is still not quite ready for the new year. With a new baby due, staff members still on vacation, and a brutal winter storm blowing in, we have to admit we're more than a bit cold, and that's not just the temperature. Thankfully, it looks like the Republican Party may be willing to help us warm up to 2014, though the right-wing's method of "help" appears to be setting themselves on fire with the same old ideas they've been burned by multiple times before.

That much was obvious by tracking the non-controversies - or nontroversies - that rolled out over the long holiday break.

First there was the "white Santa" nontroversy from Fox that we covered just before we went on holiday break. The 'Duck Dynasty' nontroversy continued during the end of December too, though that event now appears to have been far more a PR stunt than an actual controversy. There was also the faux outrage over something said on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC TV show. On a more constructive note, The New York Times did some in-depth, solid journalism, and released a story this week proving - once again - that there was no scandal surrounding the disaster in Benghazi.

Overall though, not much changed politically over the holiday break, as evidenced by the way the two major political parties are already planning on acting in these first few days of 2014.

The Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be voting on Monday to restore long-term unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans. Republicans in the GOP-majority House have decided they'll kick off 2014's legislative work with yet another pointless vote against Obamacare.

We're sadly not kidding. House Majority Eric Cantor has signaled that even though there are stacks of work left over from before the holiday break, House Republicans are going to attempt another desperate ploy to target Obamacare for their first act when they return next Monday.

Frankly, we tend to agree with Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, that Republicans in Congress may eventually get through 'The Three Stages of Obamacare Acceptance' that Greg Sargent talked about on Thursday - but that's not happening anytime soon.

What is happening is that Democrats aren't simply dousing themselves in the same old ideas for 2014 like Republicans - a fact that was obvious on Day One of this new year. That's when New York City's newest Mayor, unabashed progressive Bill deBlasio, was sworn into office - the city's first Democratic mayor in twenty years.

Unlike those on the right, those on the left are making other changes in 2014 too. The first all-female ticket looks to be running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor in Texas this year. Democrats are also openly discussing the reform of elements in our government, like our corrupted campaign finance system.

Democrats may have even pushed Speaker John Boehner into quietly signaling that he may support real immigration reform this year.

Sadly, even as Democrats make changes and progress, those on the right continue to light themselves up with the same old hatred & ignorance. The firing of now-former NFL player Chris Kluwe has already proven that.

Still, that insistence by those on the right to keep on doing the same old stupid things is really helping out our staff as we struggle to get back up to speed. That Republicans are helping us at all is a welcome change - though frankly, we won't be surprised if it's the only one we'll see from those on the right this year.

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