–What’s so fearsome about a filibuster? Monday, Jun 28 2010 

An alternative to popular faith

The Republican minority repeatedly has used the threat of filibuster to obtain concessions or even to block majority decisions. I wonder why this threat is so powerful. Isn’t there a danger that voters will become sick and tired of a stalemated Congress, and blame the Republicans for repeatedly being “the party of ‘no'”?

Now we come to the Elena Kagan circus, excuse me, hearing, and once again the threat of filibuster sits like an elephant in the room. Yes, ask her questions to see if she is qualified (though it’s doubtful T.V sound bites will prove anything.) And yes, if you really believe someone’s attitudes about guns and abortion should be the sole considerations for Supreme Court Justice, vote accordingly. But, must every vote on everything be accompanied by the same “I’ll take my ball and go home” threat?

If the child learns it can get its way by stamping, screaming and holding its breath, who’s to blame — the weakling parent or the kid? Why not just let the brat stamp, scream and hold its breath until it gets tired? As I said, what’s so fearsome about a filibuster?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity

–Republicans fall into Obama trap Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

An alternative to popular faith

04/01/10: (AP) “GOP wary of health law repeal push in fall races”

You read it here, “Republicans are on the wrong side of history.” (Sabotaging health care, March 24, 2010).

As I’ve told you, historically I’ve voted for Republicans, because I’ve felt they better understood the economy. Though they never have been leaders for social improvements, whether Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare or human rights, they traditionally have been strong for business, which benefits everyone. Though they always have had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into anything that smacks of human benefits for the less fortunate, at least a strong minority of Republicans did participate in passing these major intitiatives.

Not this time. An astounding 100% toed the party line. As if that weren’t bad enough, after the vote they all picked up the right-wing mantra, “repeal and replace.” What a horrible, self-destructive plan.

First, repeal isn’t going to happen. As more people see what they receive from the program, they will be less likely to want to give it up. And many of these perks are quite attractive: Millions more people covered, restrictions on dropping people from coverage, no pre-existing health declinations, ability to change jobs without losing your insurance. Even the insurance industry will begin to like it, because they won’t have to spend millions evaluating for pre-existing conditions.

Second, because repeal isn’t going to happen, those voters calling for repeal will become disillusioned with the Republican party for failing to fulfill its pledge. In short, the Republicans will disappoint everyone.

Make no mistake. That 100% vote was an unmitigated disaster, compounded by the failure of Republican leadership to understand what has happened. If each Republican had voted his/her conscience and beliefs, some could have voted for the program “with misgivings,” and the party would have been able to claim it “participated” in one of the great movements in American history.

Instead, for many years and many elections, well into the future, Democrats will be able to throw this in Republican faces — “the party that voted against health care.” The Republican party, by pandering to the extreme right, has positioned itself as a fringe party, left behind in the social march to the future.

And this I regret most. We need the Republican support of business. The Democrats, left to their own whims, will tax, tax, tax, especially business and wealthier Americans, the very ones who supply employment for all and make our economy grow. A one-party Congress will hurt America.

I curse the Republican leaders, who have fallen into Obama’s trap. (As I write this, here arrives yet another “repeal and replace” letter from John McCain.) This Grand Old Party has been McCained, Palined and Fox Newsed into believed and following the strident voices of the religious right.

Remember this Republicans: Those voices may be loud, but they each carry only one vote, just like the more numerous moderate voices. It’s too late to undo that shameful 100% vote, but now is the time to move away from “the party of ‘No.” to the party of progress.

First step: Disavow the McCains, the Palins and the Fox News right-wing panderers. Go to your strength, which is business and jobs. Teach voters that strong business means employment, and employment means wealth. Teach America you know the path to the American dream.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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